16
Jul

A No VOC Fiberglass Polyurea Coating Is Taking The Coatings Market By Storm

Manufacturers have used fiberglass for its strength, lightness, flexibility, and formability. It is used as a building material in many industries, including boats, cars, motorhomes, RVs, and furniture.

Due to the resins used in fiberglass manufacturing, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) can be released. The resins are used as a binding agent for fiberglass strands. They often contain styrene, which is a dangerous air pollutant. State and federal agencies are increasingly controlling fiberglass.

Due to the limitations of traditional fiberglass, manufacturers have had to look beyond the conventional manufacturing methods. Many proactive fiberglass manufacturers have found a better way to make fiberglass. They are using a special polyurea which increases production and is less expensive.

This resin substitute can not only dry in a matter of seconds but can also be used with a chopper-mounted spray gun to make parts, molds, or prototypes in a matter of minutes.

They increase productivity by using choppers to cut the fiberglass strand to the length they need and then throw it in front of the spray gun containing the polyurea resin. The fiberglass part is being made by attaching the polyurea resin to the chopped fiberglass.

A new approach

Recent innovations have led to fast-setting, rapid curing, no VOC structural polyurea products that can be used in place of traditional resins within a fiberglass matrix where fiberglass is used.

Spray-applied structural polyurea is faster than toxic polyester resins that can take as long as a day to cure. It applies with 100% solids, dries in seconds, and cures within minutes. This greatly increases the production rate and output of manufacturers while also lowering the cost of fiberglass parts.

Companies report reduced labor costs by 50% and mold-making costs by 75% compared to traditional fiberglass parts making methods.

Spraying can be done with a multi-component spray gun connected to a long, heated hose and pump machine. The structural polyurea components are mixed in the spray gun’s nozzle during the application, unlike epoxy, which has a very short pot life.

A breakthrough in the manufacturing process of fiberglass has led to a new no VOC, fast set, rapid curing, structural polyurea fiberglass alternative that increases production at a lower cost.

The polyurea resin attaches to the chopped fiberglass strand and lays into the fiberglass part’s mold.

The polyurea product is waterproof and has superior physical properties, such as hardness and high elongation.

This combination is at least as strong as traditional resins and flexible but with no VOCs. You can spray indoors as well as outdoors, and it meets regulations. 

The structural polyurea enhances the structural integrity substrates. It is applied like a suit of armor and can be topped with a decorative topcoat.

Unlike toxic polyester resins, which can take up to a day to fully cure, the spray-applied structural polyurea applies with 100% solids, dries within 30 seconds, and cures within 60 minutes. 

Structural polyurea can be applied with a spray gun-mounted chopper, and it dries quickly. This means companies are making products in a fraction of the time they used to. It lays down nicely, so no need for guys to roll the product to remove air bubbles.

Companies such as NestEgg Trailers use structural polyurea for approximately 75 percent of their fiberglass parts-making processes. The goal for their company is to transition from polyester resins completely as soon as possible. They say their fiberglass part manufacturing efficiency has improved so much that they have moved half their crew from making fiberglass components into the assembly. This not only increases productivity but also lowers the cost per part. It makes them much more competitive in a very competitive market. The traditional mold-making process using epoxy resins or polyester is labor-intensive and expensive. It can take several weeks to lay fiberglass by hand. 

If you would like to learn more about this process or become a certified polyurea applicator, we recommend getting in touch with ArmorThane. With over 30 years in the coatings market, ArmorThane is always leading the industry with innovations that have transformed the coatings market year after year.