Precision protective coatings
Ames specializes in thermo-set elastomers and is deeply involved in elastomeric coating and application technology. Because of the materials we are associated with, our technology is closely related to the paint industry with one significant difference. Ames protective coatings are cured and change from plastic to elastic form.
In the cured elastic or rubbery form, they are ideal for sealing and unique special protection applications. These elastomeric coatings can be designed for normal sealing and/or high performance application such as harsh chemical environment, high temperature, as well as special protection application where erosion resistance and ice-phobic properties are required. These coatings are ideal for applying to metals, plastics & composite substrates requiring precision protective coatings.
High Performance Elastomer Formulations
Where conventional elastomeric formulations for less demanding applications are part of the product offering, high performance elastomers such as fluoroelastomer, silicones/fluorosilicones and blends of these materials is our area of expertise. Our understanding of these materials coupled with our in-house plasma capability allowed us to provide desired high level of adhesion for these high performance coatings to a variety of substrates. Ames has developed a multilayer coating construction made up of silicone with a fluoroelastomer providing lower cost but with the performance of a fluorine base elastomer.
Erosion Resistant & Ice-phobic Coatings
An industry leader in design engineering innovations, Ames has recently introduced our Ames Shield Coatings, an elastomeric protective coatings solution that protects components from the effects of Foreign Objects Damage (FOD). These elastomeric coatings can also be formulated to enhance ice-phobic characteristics.
Ames elastomeric coating is custom formulated for unique customer application. Base elastomers range from natural rubber composition that are resistant to acids and bases to exotic blends of high performance materials such as fluoroelastomer and fluorosilicone. Ames is expanding its capabilities to include elastomeric coating capable of curing at low temperature.
Prototype and Manufacturing Processes
Geared for custom applications, Ames believes in the ESI process that allows their technical staff to tailor specific coating formulations where material and manufacturing subtleties are analyzed before high volume commitment comes about. During the development and prototype stage, the technical staff constantly envisions a pathway to production where potential hurdles and solutions are discussed. This practice leads to shorter cycle time with a mind set for continuous product improvement.
Ames has also extended the art of coating thickness measurement using an ultrasonic technique which is capable of accurately determining coating thickness on metal and non-metallic substrates in the micron range. Coating thicknesses can range from 0.5 to 500 microns.
Using a state of the art clean room facility, a variety of spray and coating techniques are provided.
- Electrostatic spraying
- Electrostatic low velocity spraying
- Flow coating
- Air and airless spray process
- Form in place coating
Spray Coatings Methods
There are numerous methods of applying a coating via a spray process, and this is where Ames provides value. We're not a coating material supplier, we are an applications expert, combining our materials modification capability with our processing capability to provide a total solution for our customers. All methods of applying have one common feature - forming an atomized “cloud” of the coating material which is deposited on a substrate in thin uniform layers. With a variety of substrates now available, from simple metal to composite material constructions, Ames has concentrated in four spray coating processes:
Air spraying is generally very simple and inexpensive but has many drawbacks. First, the atomization and spray pattern are not readily reproducible. Atomization is accomplished when the coating solution exits the spray head where it is combined with high pressured air controlled by throttle valves. Atomization is enhanced as the air pressure increases resulting in higher velocity, which has a negative effect of causing higher turbulence at the surface of the substrate being coated. This also results with a large percentage of overspray thus air spraying is commonly used in relatively large and ideally flat surfaces.
While very similar to air spraying, airless spraying differs from air spraying in the manner the material is atomized. In air spray system, the coating material is delivered under relatively low pressure (5-120psi) whereas in airless spray method, relatively high pressure (500-3000 psi) are utilized. Atomization is accomplished by introduction of jet of compressed air at the spray head orifice causing expansion of the coating material as it exits to the atmosphere. While greater degree of overspray is expected, airless spray provides more uniform and reproducible spray pattern due to lower degree of turbulence at the coated surface.
This method of spraying is so designated because electrical energy is utilized to aid in the atomization of the material and the deposition of the coating material on the substrate. There are numerous methods for applying the electrostatic principle using the same principle.
Delivering the coating material to an electrostatic spray gun or a rotary disk rotating at 500-5000 rpm, the material picks up an electric charge typically at low amperage as it passes thru the orifice. The “throwing“ of the material outward from the spray gun or the disk and the repulsion of the commonly charged particles from each other causes high degree of atomization. The atomized charged particles are also attracted to the grounded substrate significantly reducing the undesirable overspray.
Low velocity Electrostatic Coating
In circumstances where significantly lower turbulence of the coating material is desired, Ames has worked with a partner to develop a low pressure coating utilizing electrostatic. This method uses a nozzle where the coating material is electrically charged forming a liquid “stream” and atomizes just before touching the grounded substrate being coated. Because of the solvent rich nature of the coating as it touches the substrate, the undesirable “orange peel” surface appearance is eliminated.
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