Scott Bader is expanding its new GelTint volumetric gelcoat RAL colour tinting service to the wider European composites market, having fully trialled and market tested the service with customers in the UK.
Five new GelTint service centres in mainland Europe are currently being set up, offering marine quality Lloyd’s Register approved brush and spray applied gelcoat base options. Each ‘GelTint’ service centre is a fully automated mini production unit which can rapidly measure, mix and supply single or multiple 20 kg keg orders for a pigmented gelcoat in any of the 210 RAL classic colours in the RAL K7-colour fan deck; a custom colour matching service is also available.
The GelTint production process has been developed by Scott Bader in close cooperation with the Italian pigment dispensing and mixing machine producer, COROB. Speed, batch to batch consistency, colour match accuracy and high quality have all been achieved by Scott Bader with this new gelcoat colour tinting system by combining next generation pigment technology with COROB’s volumetric pigment dispensing technology; new pigment pastes were reformulated for the GetTint’ system to maximise the tinting accuracy and capabilities of the COROB dispensing machine.
In the UK, demand for this new gelcoat colour tinting service has been strong from moulders supplying end use manufacturers in Industrial, Marine, Agricultural, Land transport and Construction markets. To be sufficiently competitive, converters often need to be very responsive, able to supply gelcoated FRP parts in a short lead time, and in only limited numbers in a specified RAL or custom colour. Scott Bader’s GelTint service has proved itself able to fulfil these market requirements, combining a very fast supply service with proven gelcoat quality.
This new GelTint colour mixing service offers a very fast response time, with typical lead times of two working days. The service combines rapid gelcoat order fulfilment in small batch colours with guaranteed quality, performance and colour accuracy, being based on Scott Bader’s Crystic® resin technology and proven expertise in manufacturing advanced performance gelcoats for the most demanding FRP composite applications in marine, construction, wind energy and land transportation markets. To cover a broad range of interior and exterior end use applications and processing needs, standard white and clear Lloyd’s Register marine quality gelcoat bases in brush (GT600) or spray (GT900) options are used for all GelTint coloured gelcoat orders. By specifying such a high performance, UV resistant gelcoat base resin as standard, stock control is kept simple to ensure a high speed service to customers. This also provides supply chain benefits, especially for smaller converters and lower volume needs, since a moulder can hold less gelcoat stock, no longer needing several different gelcoat grades in the same RAL colour for different applications.
To consistently produce a RAL coloured gelcoat to a high level of colour match accuracy, COROB adapted one of its volumetric dispensing machines, originally designed for paint technology. COROB’s product development engineers have been able to provide the pigment measurement precision needed, calibrated to consistently work with Scott Bader’s gelcoat pigments and proprietary ‘GelTint’ colour matching software to a very high level of colour production accuracy. COROB’s clever volumetric-based dispensing machine design uses a series of precision gear pumps to measure the exact amount of each pigment needed to make specific colours and then dispenses the pigments into the gelcoat base resin.
According to Scott Bader, COROB’s gear pump designed volumetric dispensing technology has proved to be faster, more flexible and can be more accurate than gravimetric machine options that were considered, which use more conventional electronic weighing scales to measure out the pigments needed. In addition to this adapted volumetric pigment dispensing machine, a COROBTM CLEVERmix fully automatic gyroscopic keg mixer is also used in the second stage of the GelTint production process, which produces a homogenous, evenly coloured gelcoat in a standard 10 minute mixing cycle.
GelTint uses a new pigment proprietary technology recently developed by Scott Bader as part of its Advanced Composite materials strategic focus. This innovative technical advancement in pigment technology enables the highest degree of accuracy possible with this type of volumetric dispensing system. Extensive testing carried out to validate this new technology has proved that Scott Bader now has superior performance, higher colour concentration pigment pastes for tinting, which in turn leads to enhanced performance gelcoats, with stronger colour intensity, opacity and longer term colour stability.
The raw materials used by the GelTint system have undergone extensive testing and customer trials to validate all aspects of performance including: freeze/thaw cycles on pigments; 12 week stability testing of pigments in base resins; long-term pigment exposure; 1000hr UV & QUV testing; and blister testing for marine and exterior application validation.
To validate the colour tinting accuracy and capabilities of the system, over 400 RAL and custom colours were matched by Scott Bader’s in-house gelcoat colour matching experts, with more than 120 colours successfully made under standard production operating to test mixing efficiency, colour consistency and the robustness of the system with both spray and brush base gelcoat resin grades. The Technical Service team then produced and tested sample gelcoat plates from these 120 GelTint test kegs, checking for colour consistency, cover, handleablity and overall appearance.
In addition to the GelTint service centre in Wollaston for the UK market, which has been running for over 12 months, five new centres are currently being installed by official distributor partners for Scott Bader across Europe, with access to a new website for GelTint service centre distributors and customers. To ensure colour accuracy, keg to keg consistency and product quality, each of these five new GelTint service centres, along with any others in the future, will have identical colour matching software and production equipment installed, and will only be able to use Scott Bader approved GetTint gelcoat base resins and pigments.
Mark Lorentzen, Scott Bader’s Global Business Manager for Gelcoats and Pigments explained in more detail about the roll out plan for Europe, commenting; “The five new GelTint centres in mainland Europe currently being set up will soon be fully operational in addition to our UK centre. With quality assurance ever a top priority, each ‘GelTint’ centre is being fully QA inspected by our technical service team and technical partners and will then be monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure quality standards are maintained. We already have interest from all over the world from existing and prospective distributors wanting to join the Geltint network. Europe is our current focus but we will be expanding into R.O.W regions in the coming months.”
Lorentzen went on to say; “The investment in this new technology has a twofold service benefit, as we confidently expect to see a positive knock on effect globally as each GelTint centre opens. We will be able to provide improved customer service for larger volume gelcoat orders in the future due to increased productivity in all our gelcoat manufacturing operations as mixer capacity is freed up, with far fewer, if any, interruptions to production schedules to fit in very small orders.”