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Frequently Asked Questions
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Q:What is Spectra Technology and SpectraKote™?

A:Spectra Technology is a unique room-temperature process which allows you to apply and cure polyurethane paints and coatings on a very broad range of materials, resulting in highly resistant protective and decorative films. In most cases it all happens within just eight minutes. The actual product is called SpectraKote.

Q:What do you mean by the term 'room temperature?'

A:No heat is involved. The catalytic reaction that causes the applied coating to polymerize is effective from 15°C to 40°C, which should encompass the ambient temperatures of most rooms.

Q:Does the catalyzed curing (drying) reaction require any energy - heat, ultraviolet, infrared, radio frequencies, ultrasound - from an external source?

A:Not really. As with production lines everywhere, some power is always needed for conveyors, fans, etc., but no other energy is required for the actual 'drying' of the paints and coatings. As you can imagine, this means considerable cost savings, which makes your operation that much more competitive. And, of course, using no external energy also puts far less pressure on the environment.

Q:How does this technology differ from the conventional thermal production of the 'baked' finishes found on many industrial products?

A:In a 'baking' oven heat energy causes the polymerizing reactions to take place within a predetermined time frame. Typically, it requires temperatures around 150°C for 15-30 minutes to produce 'dried' paint films with the necessary resistance properties. While these heat levels are suitable for metals and some other heat-resistant materials, they will damage materials like wood, fiber cement, plastic and electronic parts.

Q:Won't the traditional 2-pack urethane paints give acceptable results on heat-sensitive materials?

A:In a word, yes. However, to reach commercial hardness these systems need extended drying times - typically 24 hours. During that period the articles must be stored so as to minimize inclusions - dust, debris, etc. - from spoiling the finished film. As a result, there's no way to take advantage of the convenience and efficiency of production lines. For a more complete discussion of the benefits of SpectraTechnology, please see Basic Theory.

Q:What benefits does SpectraKote offer for coating glass?

A:Glass has always been a difficult material to paint and decorate. Because of its high specific gravity, glass behaves as a heat sink, absorbing much of the heat energy needed to prepare its surface. Up till now, constantly replacing lost heat has made the coating of glass panels, sheets, bottles, etc. very uneconomical from a commercial point of view. Moreover, the very hot glass must be cooled before the next production step. That's why the ability of SpectraKote to work at room temperature is such a plus with glass.

Spectra also gives greatly increased adhesion to glass surfaces. By scavenging all the moisture from the glass surface, the process creates a perfectly clean interface for the SpectraKote coupling agents. As soon as these agents have filled all the contours of the glass surface, they are locked in by the rapid polymerization of the coatings.

Q:What benefits does SpectraTechnology offer on fiber cement boards?

A:One of the most important is moisture stability. Because fiber cement is produced in a water environment, it is particularly susceptible to moisture variability. Porosity is another important variable.

Needless to say, there are significant benefits to sealing all surfaces once the board has been autoclaved and stabilized. By preventing the ingress and egress of moisture over time and by evening out the variation in porosity, you help prevent disruption of the final decorative topcoats. Again, the ability of Spectra to encapsulate the entire board with a protective film at room temperature means neither moisture nor porosity will be a factor. That it does so in one pass makes SpectraKote all the more useful.

Q:What benefits does SpectraTechnology offer for coating timber?

A:Because the moisture content of timber can vary considerably, using elevated temperatures to accelerate the drying time of the coating will lead to loss of dimensional stability, warping, splitting, etc.

Because SpectraTechnology works at room temperature to produce highly cross-linked coatings with high solvent and abrasion resistance, you now have many new and economical options. What's more, the rapid increase in viscosity due to the polymerization of the coatings minimizes fiber lift which, in turn, allows for easier sanding.

Q:What benefits does SpectraTechnology offer on plastic sheets and other such synthetic articles?

A:The bulk of plastics used in the manufacture of sheets and molded industrial products are thermoplastics. As the name implies, heat is applied to 'soften' the plastics, allowing them to be formed into the shape of the mold. Obviously, reheating such thermoplastics quickly begins to soften them again, causing distortion and generally rendering them useless. Therefore, all coatings that rely on heat to polymerize them are useless.

SpectraKote, produced as it is at room temperature, becomes the perfect way to create tough chemical and solvent resistant coatings - in any color - without fear of distortion or loss of physical characteristics.

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