Powder coating cleaning and maintenance schedule

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Overview

Introduction

Maintaining the good looks of your powder coated products is just like caring for your car – and is a smart way to protect your investment. Over time with exposure to the elements, powder coatings may show signs of weathering such as loss of gloss, chalking and slight colour change. A simple regular clean will minimise the effects of weathering and will remove dirt, grime and other build-up detrimental to all powder coatings.

For any particular region or territory, there may be local regulations or local requirements to be met in order to achieve conformance to certain published quality labels or standards. It is the users’ responsibility to be aware of such standards.

Records of all cleaning schedules and frequencies shall be kept and maintained and made available to AkzoNobel if requested. Failure to comply with the recommended cleaning schedule will nullify any warranties.

Cleaning coated surfaces

Cleaning should start at the time the products are installed, ensuring that construction materials such as concrete, plaster and paint splashes are removed before they have a chance to dry. Failure to remove these materials at this early stage will require the use of aggressive cleaning materials and techniques with potential damage to the powder coated surface.

Method

The best method of cleaning of Interpon D products is by regular washing of the coating using a solution of warm water  and non-abrasive, pH neutral detergent solution. Surfaces should be thoroughly rinsed after cleaning to remove all residues. All surfaces should be cleaned using a soft cloth or sponge or nothing harsher than a soft natural bristle brush. Cleaning of powder coated sections can be conveniently carried out at the same time as window cleaning.

If the project is subject to any hazardous unusual environmental factors, or is close to salt water, an estuary or marine environments then the manufacturer must be consulted on an individual project basis.

Renovation can be required in the case of heavy soiling (due to lack of maintenance). It is then recommended to consult a specialised company.

Cleaning products

Before cleaning, attention must, without exception be paid to the cleaning agent’s datasheet.

The following guideline from GRM in Germany is also very useful and informative: and the applicable guidelines of the various associations:

http://grm-online.de/fileadmin/user_upload/pdf/Neue_GPB/GPB_632_DB_Englisch.pdf

Usual maintenance can be done using water with mild detergent (pH 5 to 8).

If the atmospheric pollution has resulted in heavy soiling of the coating, some stains or marks may require stronger domestic products.  In such cases, they should always be diluted, and small inconspicuous test areas cleaned first.

In no circumstance should any abrasive cleaner or polish, or any cleaner containing ketones, esters be used.

All information contained within this page is, to the best of our knowledge, true and accurate at the time of publication. This document is not contractually binding and we do not accept any responsibility or liability if the information contained in this document proves to be incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete.

Frequency

The frequency of such cleaning will depend on many factors including:

  • The geographical location of the building
  • The environment surrounding the building, i.e., marine, swimming pool, industrial, or a combination of these environments
  • Levels of atmospheric pollution
  • Prevailing wind
  • Protection of the building by other buildings
  • Possibility of airborne debris (e.g., sand/dust etc.) causing erosive wear of the coating
  • If the environmental circumstances change during the lifetime of the building (e.g., rural becomes industrial)
  • The powder coating chemistry, for example:
  • Standard polyester (Interpon D1000 type) – most regular cleaning

The frequency of cleaning depends in part on the standard of appearance that is required and also the requirements to remove deposits, which could, during prolonged contact with either the powder film or the metal substrate, (if exposed) cause damage.

Sheltered areas can be more at risk of coating degradation than exposed areas. This is because wind-blown salt and other pollutants may adhere to the surface and will not be cleaned away with rainfall. These areas should be inspected and cleaned if necessary on a more regular basis.

Records of all cleaning schedules and frequencies shall be kept and maintained and made available to Akzo Nobel if requested.

The manufacturers cleaning frequency specifications are shown below:

Climate Temperate and Arid
EnvironmentD1000 Series
Normal - C3 Inland12 months
Marine - C4 Coastal2000 to 5000m from coastline12 months
500 to 2000m from coastline6 months
50 to 500m from coastline3 months
Less than 50m from coastlineNot recommended
Industrial - C5i Coastal2000 to 5000m from pollution source12 months
500 to 2000m from pollution source6 months
50 to 500m from pollution source3 months
Less than 50m from pollution sourceNot recommended
Swimming poolGreater than 2m from edge of pool3 months
2m from edge of poolNot recommended
Type of climateTemperature rangeHighest temperature with RH ≥95%
Temperature-33°C to 35°C25°C
Arid--
Warm Arid-20°C to 40°C27°C
Extremely Warm Arid3°C to 55°C28°C
Tropical5°C to 40°C-33°C

Cleaning of brick and concrete

Chemical Cleaners

The cleaning solutions used on both brick and concrete contain strong chemicals that can cause damage to the powder-coated surface. All exposed powder-coated surfaces should be fully protected.

If any such solutions or chemicals come in contact with the powder-coated surface, wash immediately with copious amounts of water.

Prolonged exposure can cause discolouration of the film, loss of gloss and damage to the coating surface.

Abrasive Blasting

The cleaning of concrete or brick by using abrasive shot blasting must be carried out in such a way that all structures coated with powder coating must be fully protected.

The abrasive medium will strip the powder coating from the metal substrate.

Only protective tape with a low tack and approved by the suppliers of the protective tape for use on Powder Coatings should be used.

Protection of Coated Parts during Construction

Low Tack Tapes

Such tapes are usually applied to the coated surface during fabrication.  Clear tapes should be removed after a period not exceeding three months. If further protection is required new tape should be applied. Tape should be applied and removed as recommended by the tape supplier.

Any residue from the tape should be removed as soon as possible.

Do not use scrapers, abrasive papers or similar items to clean the area as this may damage the surface of the powder coating.

Water and a small amount of mild detergent may be used to clean the surface of the powder coating.

Where it is absolutely necessary a small amount of white spirit may be used followed by cleaning with water and mild detergent.

Do not under any circumstances use strong solvents or solutions containing:

  • Chlorinated Hydrocarbons
  • Esters
  • Ketones
  • Abrasive cleaner or polish

Plastic Wrapping

Coated parts are often shrink-wrapped in plastic to prevent weather or mechanical damage during transport and storage. The atmosphere within the packaging naturally contains moisture reflecting the humidity levels prevalent at the time of packing. If the wrapped parts are kept outside in sunlight, rapid temperature build-up can occur resulting in a softening of the coating film and potential for ingress by moisture, creating a whitening effect of the blanching. This can be reversed on further heating of the part, but is best avoided by storing parts out of direct sunlight.