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Sectoral research into scratch-resistant coatings for plastics

Flanders’ PlasticVision sought and found a partner for a feasibility study into scratch-resistant coatings for plastics in Sirris's Smart Coating Application Lab.

The challenge | Insights into scratch-resistant coatings

Plastics have many positive properties, but they also have their limitations. They are prone to degradation, have limited chemical resistance and are highly sensitive to scratching. Functional coatings can remedy these drawbacks. Flanders’ PlasticVision (FPV), the competence pool for the plastic and rubber converting industry in Flanders, wanted to gain deeper insight into the available types of scratch-resistant coatings, the techniques used to apply them and the performance and cost of various applications.

The solution | Smart Coating Application Lab

FPV conducted a feasibility study aimed at facilitating future technological innovation by the plastics and rubber sector. Together with the specialised knowledge centres Sirris and Centexbel, a list of the most promising affordable technical solutions was drawn up. Not only were the coatings and their applications compared, so were the deposition methods and the various scratch resistance tests.

In this context, five sponsor companies (Zweko, Samsonite, Vitalo, Paneltim and Roltex) were given the opportunity to test relevant applications in Sirris’s Smart Coating Application Lab.

The result | All findings were bundled together

The feasibility study yielded some fresh insights. For instance, scratch-resistant coatings or 'hardcoats' appear to offer protection primarily against micro-scratches and micro-abrasion, i.e. scratches that make surfaces dull and opaque. For protection against deep scratches, other coatings are recommended, or the substrate itself has to be reinforced.

The results of the feasibility study were bundled together in a Dutch booklet on affordable scratch-resistant coatings for plastics entitled Betaalbare krasvaste coatings voor kunststoffen. The study produced a useful overview of current techniques used to make plastics more scratch-resistant, listing their advantages and drawbacks, their cost and suppliers. It also presented measurement methods. So it is a handy reference work for any company wishing to embark on the path of product innovation.

 

Click here for a short version of the booklet (only available in Dutch).