Attractive colors are in style – with state-of-the-art technologies like colofer® keep homes looking good, inside and out. voestalpine has the perfect material to make the refrigerator a highlight in the kitchen or to create an exceptional facade that emphasizes a home’s unique character.
To create a convincing product, the necessary processing steps such as bending, folding and pressing must not damage the coating. If the surface becomes dull or acquires cracks in the zones being processed, it will be rejected during the producer’s strict quality controls.
Bending without cracking
This is why, during technological development work at voestalpine, a multiple-layered coating was developed that retains its high surface quality even after passing through forming processes. The various properties of the individual coating layers (e.g. softening, hardness and elasticity) guarantee undamaged surfaces, even after the manufacturing of narrow folds like those commonly found on refrigerator doors.
Quality in layers
The various layers of color and protection are applied onto the rolled base material, which is unwound from a large coil. This method is therefore known as “coil coating.” Steel coated this way is protected from rust, is easy to process, and allows refrigerators and the like to be transformed into decorative items. A broad range of these has been produced this way since 1989.
Coil-coated colofer® brand steel generally consists of thinly rolled and galvanized sheet steel with an ultra-thin pretreated layer. The primer that adheres on top of that bonds the corrosion-protective layer with the top coat. This layer brings the color and other decorative elements into play and safeguards functional properties such as scratch and weather resistance or the formability of the layer. In addition, a removable film can be applied as protection during transport or processing. The manufacturing process is one continuous work step that includes hardening each applied layer in an enameling furnace.
Christoph Nissel of voestalpine Stahl GmbH is responsible in this process for customer service. He describes the handling of the pre-coated steel strip as just as colorful and versatile as its production methods are diverse: “Our material stands apart because of its surface, which can’t be described in standard terms. It is a product that goes beyond standards, just the way the customer requests. So each day presents new challenges and experiences – for 30 years now hardly any day was like another.
Working together with coating manufacturers and research institutions, voestalpine has developed an array of coating models that “forecast” what is feasible and that can expand the limits of what is technically possible. With this, optimal applicability and the widest product range are achieved for customers and for consumers in the households of the future.