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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.

Polyurea and Polyurethane Bedliners – 101

The truth is unless you are a scientist, extremely educated, or spend countless hours studying and processing chemicals and their properties, that provide a platform for bedliners can be overwhelming. This article is a good starter to explain the general differences between the physical properties of polyurethane, Polyurea, and poly hybrids. We are presenting this information and will be going into more detail in future posts. Those looking to do professional spray bedliner and other coatings can make a highly informed decision. 

Do not buy or start a professional bedliner dealership without reading the information on this website first.

Polyurea

Polyurea is a process that requires the use of certain families of chemicals and successfully applies them onto different materials in different environments more than it is a specific product. It resists abrasion and tearing due to high tensile strength. 

Polyurethane

There is always a compromise when it comes to altering physical properties. Polyurethane is flexible and can be much softer than polyureas. A polyurethane spray lining has a greater chance of getting gouged than Polyurea due to its lower tensile strengths. We refer to materials that have very high levels of resistance to puncture, tear, and gouge. This does not mean that the material is weaker than the polyurea model.

Poly Hybrids

Poly Hybrid is used in professional bedliners. The Poly Hybrid is a combination of Polyurea and polyurethane, which provides the best benefits without compromise. For anti-slip and texture, a wide variety of paint chips and rubber are often added.

Poly liners bond to the surface mechanically, not chemically. This means that they require tiny grooves or ridges to hold on to. This is why most liners require extensive cleaning and sanding. Polyurea can be sprayed directly on ice or water, but polyurethane (and poly hybrids) are not. Therefore, you shouldn’t spray a vehicle after it has been outside in the rain. If a polyurea has been applied, the surface must be completely dry.

Application Method

Do not be misled by the differences between high pressure and low temperatures.

Polyurea needs high pressure.

Although these terms may be confusing, there are two types of pressure: high and low. Low pressure gives the applicator greater control over the texture. This is crucial because many liners do not use aggregates, and the nonslip surface of liners is created with the application gun. The second misnomer is “hot” or “cold,” as liner chemicals undergo an exothermic reaction after leaving the gun. This creates heat. There are also hot and cold applications. The chemicals can reach temperatures of 230-230F in both cold and hot applications. However, they reach 130-140F when heated.

Low-pressure cold application results in a more flexible and soft product. Hot application at high pressure results in a product that is more rigid and less flexible.

Curing Time

It must be dry before you can touch it. It must be dry before you can safely transport your load with the new liner. Hot applications dry in 3-5 seconds, while cold applications can dry in 20-25 secs. If you have to spray upside-down, like onto a ceiling, hot applications might be your best option. Spray-ins take 24 hours to cure.

UV Stability

In short, almost every product will eventually fade. While some companies may add UV inhibitors to their products, others may apply one as a topcoat. However, it is just a matter of time. Accept it.

If you wish to have the best of the best with the greatest look, the highest quality product, and the best application method, there is only one option. That option is ArmorThane. With over 30 years in business, they have managed to reinvent the business time and time. They were one of the first companies to offer Polyurea and polyurethanes for bedliners. With the recent addition of products like ArmorLiner, they have managed to make the bar even higher for other companies to attempt to compete. With insane chemical properties such as its tensile and tear resistance, elongation, and shore hardnessArmorLiner has proven to work for almost any application. Over the past few years, it has taken the lead for most purchased polyurea products in the US.

Click here to learn more about ArmorLiner and how you can become a bedliner applicator.

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Speedliner is another good name, but no actual equipment, and very high cost for only one product.

Overall, it has ok strength but requires 1-2 days to cure. Metallic substrates must always be dry and primed with their UltraPrime 450 before applying Speedliner. The price for Speedliner is over $60 / gal plus freight with only 2 & 4-gallon kits. Vapors from Speedliner 1000 contain isocyanates and solvents.

In order to put Speedliners products in perspective, I will explain what they offer and how it compares to ArmorThane’s ArmorLiner which is a top-notch bedliner product you can purchase at a MUCH cheaper price.

ArmorThane’s ArmorLiner is a hybrid and Speedliner 1000 is 100% polyurea. Now, most bedliner companies these days, believe that the hybrid product makes the best spray-on bedliner. Here’s why: 100% polyurethane (like Rhino’s old Tuff Stuff) proved to be too weak of a product for truck bedliners. But, it had great grip. 100% polyurea is strong, but it’s way to hard. It does not keep your payload in place and it does not allow for very much impact protection. A hybrid is very strong but still allows for impact protection, and still allows for your payload to stay in place.

ArmorLiner has always been a hybrid however ArmorThane does have 100% polyurea products but they feel like ArmorLiner is a better product for truck bedliners.

Speedliner is solvent-based and is not environmentally friendly. (ArmorLiner does not contain any solvents). The solvent in Speedliner is ethyl acetate (EA). EA is EXTREMELY dangerous, its vapors are literally explosive. Speedliner requires a primer to be applied to the truck first. The reasons for this are: 

  1. Polyurea alone does not have good adhesion and 
  2. Speedliner is applied using a brush, roller, or hopper gun at about 90-100 psi which is considered low pressure and 3. Speedliner is not heated which does not lower the viscosity. 

ArmorLiner does not require a primer for truck beds because: 

  1. ArmorLiner is a hybrid and polyurethane that has much better adhesion properties than polyurea and 
  2. ArmorLiner uses high pressure at about 2,000 psi which forces the bedliner product into the scuffed surface of the truck bed and
  3. ArmorLiner is heated to about 130 degrees which lower the viscosity and allow for better penetration into the scuffed surface. Also, I’ll mention that Speedliner’s primer also contains EA. ArmorThane dealers do have primers available for other applications if needed.

Regarding DuPont Kevlar:  Speedliner dealers open a little packet of Kevlar fibers and pour it into the “A” side or isocyanate. Well, that’s not very scientific. It’s very possible that the fibers actually WEAKEN the Speedliner bedliner by interfering with the isocyanate/resin reaction. In order for the Kevlar fibers to actually add strength, it’s important how the fibers line up with each other and where they end up in the solution (like top, middle, or bottom). 

  1. Only Speedliner brand primer can be used.
  2. Manual mix only, cure takes 2 or more days.
  3. No 5-gallon pails, drums, or discounts.
  4. Gun is the same as Wall-Mart model called Spraying Mantis at a higher price than retail.
  5. The pressure pot is like a Graco but requires premixing with no known method of cleaning it or purging hoses & guns.
  6. This pressure pot is not a plural component pump.
  7. The spray air needs to be less than 5% relative humidity as it leaves the gun.
  8. A 3-in-1 refrigerant dryer for your compressor is mandatory.

We suggest you stay far away from this bedliner vendor!

Speedliner Equipment:

Speedliner 1000 Pressure PotSpeedliner 1000 Pressure Pot – $1,375.00: The spray air needs to be less than 5% relative humidity as it leaves the gun. A 3-in-1 refrigerant dryer for your compressor is mandatory. An Air membrane dryer is mandatory. Requires air compressor dedicated to this equipment.
Basic Speedliner Hopper EquipmentSpeedliner Hopper Gun – $127.00: The recommended hopper gun for Speedliner is their gun, but at a higher cost than the same Wal-Mart guns available online and through major hardware stores.