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Do we have free will?…
Is the universe deterministic?…
What is consciousness?…
These are all great questions that some of the greatest thinkers have pondered throughout time. Another great question deliberated on by some of the brightest minds is “What is ArmorThane?“
Not surprisingly, for many enthusiasts, getting to the bottom of what the ArmorThane brand of bed coating is all about—thoroughly and accurately—is the truck scene’s equivalent of conquering a very complex puzzle.
Is ArmorThane just a material? Is it a style? Is it a method? Unfortunately, the process has become generalized—a synonym of sorts—the same way that the masses say “bulletproof” to describe fortifying a Ford 6.0L, 6.4L, or 6.7L Power Stroke engine’s top half. The problem is, when they perform the procedure, they’re doing so without using BulletProof Diesel’s patented system.
We have often heard the inaccuracies: “I’m going to get the bed Armored, or ArmorThane’d. My buddy is doing it for me in his garage.” While that friend may very well be coating the truck’s bed, if he isn’t an ArmorThane technician and using the company’s proprietary materials and equipment, it’s not the real deal. In a nutshell, the bed is being coated. Period. That’s how it should be phrased.
So, What IS ArmorThane?
Before we get into the process, let’s look at the chemical itself first. For clarity, we spoke with Hank Strathman, operations manager for ArmorThane Corporation, who provided insights about the substance. “ArmorThane is a coating system based on a proprietary two-component spray elastomer,” says Hank.
It’s neither paint, plastic, nor rubber. The A and B properties are:
- A hardener.
- Resin (that comprises 12 different components)/polyurea in barrels.
“Unlike other bed lining products, there are NO volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the ArmorThane chemical. There are only solids, no solvents, which means the substance reacts instantly. It’s solid within four seconds after it is applied to a surface—something that cannot be replicated with canned DIY coating products. Because of this quick reaction, applying ArmorThane truly is an art,” Hank says.
How ArmorThane Is Applied
A spray gun is a device that executes an “impingement mixing” process, where Components A and B are heated to approximately 130-210 degrees Fahrenheit and collide under 2,000 psi of pressure at the tip of the gun. The strong coating that is blasted into the bed is the result of this reaction.
Rob is a master ArmorThane installer with 13 years of experience. After starting the reactor, he immediately begins spraying the bed, moving quickly with side-to-side sweeps and using his own (counting the number of passes over an area) method to gauge the consistency of the application.
Bold, Durable Finish
Rob finishes the job with the spraying completed by removing the masking materials, reinstalling the tailgate, and validating the job through a thorough inspection and a digital thickness gauge. The ArmorThane treatment is typically 1/8 inch thick. While Black is the standard pigment for the coating, ArmorThane can blend body-color and custom colors for specific applications.
We are extremely pleased with the final product. The ArmorThane coating immediately brings “modernity” to our old rig, and, more important, it adds protection for the bed floor, sides, and rails against scratches and dents caused by payloads.
If you would like to learn how to become an ArmorThane applicator, fill out your info here and someone from ArmorThane will get in contact with you.
Measuring Spray-on Truck Bedliner Thickness
DeFelsko’s PosiTector 6000 thick series of coating thickness gauges are ideal for non-destructively measuring the thickness of spray-on liner coatings applied to steel and aluminum truck beds.
Bedliner coatings are commonly used in the automotive and defense industries to protect from physical impacts, scratching, abrasion, and corrosion due to exposure, allowing for improved slip resistance. These coatings typically comprise 100% polyurethane, 100% polyurea, or a hybrid of both polyurethane and polyurea layers and are applied to truck beds made of steel or aluminum. Several spray-on bedliner coating manufacturers exist in the market, including ArmorThane, LINE-X, Rhino Linings, and Bullet Liner.
How Bedliners are Applied
Before starting the spray process, the entire truck bed surface is cleaned and sanded to assure that a strong bond can be established. Other preparations include removing the tailgate and other parts as necessary and masking the exterior to protect from overspray. Utilizing a nozzle in a well-ventilated area, the protective coating is applied in long sweeping motions and allowed to dry between coatings.
To match coating thickness requirements, multiple layers of bedliner are applied to all truck bed surfaces. A final texture coating may be applied to any coated areas that are too rough or too smooth. This guarantees a uniform texture and adequate slip resistance even in wet conditions. After a short curing period, the protective bedliner is ready for cargo.
The Importance of Measuring Bedliner Thickness
Bedliner coatings are usually applied between 3-6 mm (125-250 mils) thick. Enough coating layers must be applied so that the total thickness is within the range that the coating manufacturer has specified. Insufficient liner thickness will cause the coating to fail prematurely, exposing the truck bed to corrosion. Applying more than the manufacturer’s suggested thickness is simply a waste of time and money. Therefore, an instrument capable of accurately measuring the thickness of a cured bedliner is required to ensure optimal performance and cost savings.
DeFelsko’s Bedliner Coating Measurement Tool
PosiTector 6000 coating thickness gauges are perfect for measuring spray-on bedliner coatings’ thickness applied to steel and aluminum truck beds. Specifically, the PosiTector 6000 FT and PosiTector 6000 FTS instruments utilize the magnetic principle to measure and display the total liner thickness applied to steel beds. The PosiTector 6000 FNTS model uses magnetic and eddy current principles to measure bedliner thickness applied to either steel or aluminum truck beds accurately and quickly. Given the growing popularity of aluminum beds, the PosiTector 6000 FNTS provides a complete solution for applicators.
PosiTector 6000 FT (integral), FTS (cabled), and FNTS (combination) probes
Generating professional PDF reports from the PosiTector 6000 couldn’t be easier. Attach the gauge to a computer using the supplied USB cable. View reports right from the PosiTector using a standard web browser or download measurements to the powerful PosiSoft Desktop software. See the PosiSoft Solutions page to learn more.
PosiSoft Desktop Custom PDF Report Generator
More information regarding the PosiTector 6000 Thick Series is available in the brochure below, and complete gage details can be found on the PosiTector 6000 page.
Sewers decay with age and typically need a tremendous level of maintenance to keep them from deteriorating. In Hong Kong’s failing infrastructure, brick and mortar manholes are particularly vulnerable to cracking and crumbling. These manholes range in depth from about 4 to 40 feet (1–12 m). Instead of treating existing problems or completely rebuilding, ArmorThane worked with their local distributor to introduce a polyurea spray coating to stop deterioration and strengthen walls as a long-term resolution.
Hong Kong, like other densely populated regions, finds managing sewage a challenge. The network involves about 900 miles (1,448 km) of pipelines going to 280 treatment facilities, treating 713 million gallons (2.6 million L) of sewage per day.
The first step in gaining project approval was to get the necessary product and equipment to Hong Kong. Because the contractor already did pipeline liner repairs, they had air compressors and generators required for the local electrical systems. However, special high-pressure spraying equipment had to be retrofitted with 380 volts, three-phase wiring, and shipped from the U.S. facility. A transformer box was added to bridge the remaining differences, common when working on an international basis.
The second step was to demonstrate product applications and results to government officials. Rob Anderson from ArmorThane USA cleaned and sprayed a large concrete box culvert used to divert stormwater runoff under roads. This was an easy spot for the audience to watch and inspect. Because these are not brick and mortar like manholes, there is less deterioration, but the coating process is the same. The agreement was granted to move to the final step in the approval process: a test trial.
Anderson scheduled a second trip for a multi-day demonstration and training session on an actual manhole. Because sewers are a grid of underground tunnels that carry waste throughout the city to the treatment facilities, several challenges face the task. The first challenge was circumventing sewage flow to work on manholes and tunnels without creating significant problems upstream. Because of the extra time involved with demonstrating and training, Anderson selected a less-frequently-used line. He inserted an airbag upstream and inflated it to stop the flow. Next, the flow had to be diverted around the area to a downstream line using a trash pumping system.
Once the sewage was cleared, the surfaces had to be high-pressure power-washed and completely dried before repairing. For the repairs, Anderson used ArmorCrete primer, which is specifically formulated with lower viscosity than water. This enables the primer to seep into the brick and mortar to fill holes and cracks, and it completely seals weak areas. Because it prevents further cracking and crumbling, Anderson applied the primer in two coats to obtain an approximate total thickness of 3–5 mils (76–127 microns) to the entire surface rather than simply patching visibly damaged areas.
Anderson spray-applied Highline 510 polyurea using his portable generator and air compressor mounted on a flatbed truck in the last step. He used a two-component pure polyurea coating heated and applied in two coats to yield an approximate total thickness of 60–80 mils (1,524–2,032 microns).
This polyurea was specially formulated not to react to residual moistures inherent in Hong Kong and sewer systems in general. The chemical sets quickly to form a seamless protective barrier, and it has moisture resistance and a fast cure time. This means it will not crack even as environmental conditions cause the surface to expand and contract. It is also remarkably resistant to corrosive chemicals and temperature variation.
Anderson sprayed the manhole over about four hours using a PMC GH40, and a PMC AP1 spray gun. The total time to work on one manhole from start to finish is 1–2 days depending on the size and deterioration of the manhole. This accommodates the steps involved in cleaning, drying, repairing, spraying, and curing.
Following the demonstration manhole’s completion, Anderson further trained six applicators, using felt pieces and bricks. This involved equipment start-stop processes, spraying action, troubleshooting, and cleanup. A training manual was created specifically for manhole rehabilitation and quality assurance.
Because of the positive results on this first manhole, the city decided to move forward; the first 40 manholes have been scheduled for maintenance. Concrete box culverts were also recommended for repair and preventive maintenance. Overall, Anderson’s eagerness to show his potential client the benefits of using this polyurea proves that a little work upfront can mean a lot of business in the end!