Testing Equipment Update

By Kerry Pianoforte | August 10, 2005

A look at the latest testing equipment available for the coatings industry.

Formulators of paints and coatings know the importance of testing equipment in their labs. Relying on instruments that check lightfastness, gloss, weatherability, rheology and particle size, coatings labs must have on hand the latest testing equipment to ensure their formulations will perform as expected. This year Coatings World takes a look at the latest testing equipment available.

When working with coatings, one of the most important attributes, and by far the most noticeable, is color. Testing equipment manufacturers have developed a number of new instruments for color testing.

ColorQuest XE-Touch spectrophotometer from HunterLab measures the color of paint and is ideal for quality control. A large LCD display has a touch screen that saves bench space. In addition to measuring drawdowns and painted products, accessories are available to measure powders, pastes, liquids and wet paint.

Datacolor has launched a newly de-signed series of spectrophotometers for a variety of applications. Spectraflash comes in three models�the SF600X, SF450X and SF350X�to accommodate the full range of needs and budgets. The Spectraflash series features high-resolution color measurement and excellent repeatability; user-friendly operation that reduces set�up errors; space-saving design and more stability and speed with less need to recalibrate, according to the company. Designed for use with Datacolor software, the new Spectraflash instruments are also compatible with most color packages on the market.

Atlas Material Testing's Sunset is a tabletop instrument for screening lightfastness and weatherability. The Sunset has a sophisticated reflector system that provides uniform irradiance on the sample plane to maximize the exposure area and a reflective mirror system that optimizes radiation output and shortens test times, according to the company. The customized xenon light filter system will replicate conditions that products such as powder coatings, building sealants and packaging may encounter in everyday use. The Sunset meets ISO, EPA/ASTM, ICH and RILEM DBS industry standards.

X-Rite Inc. has launched X-RiteColor Premier 8000 series benchtop spectrophotometer and X-RiteColor Master version 5.0 with web edition. The Color Premier 8000 features digital image capture technology, a dual-position body for front and top loading, ease of use and seamless correlation with X-Rite portable sphere spectrophotometers, according to the company.

HunterLab's ColorQuest XE-Touch spectrophotometer.
Gardco's pocket goniometer.
Horiba's particle size analyzer.

X-Rite's Color Master software delivers the tools to measure, analyze, control and communicate color data through one powerful, yet easy-to-use software program. With the addition of the web edition, users can access and control their color data through server-based computing.

Omnimark's latest offering is the Standard model moisture analyzer, which offers users the convenience of one-button operation. Five individual programs can be created and stored, and data can be printed with time and date stamp when coupled to an optional printer. The Standard can be operated in English, Spanish or French and combines an integrated high-precision balance with either a halogen or nichrome (non-glass) heat source.

DeFelsko Corporation has two new offerings, the PosiTector dew point meter and the PosiTector ultrasonic thickness gauge. The Positector dew point meter measures and records climatic parameters including air temperature, surface temperature, relative humidity, dew point temperature and the difference between surface and dew point temperatures. These meters are ideal for surface preparation as required by ISO 8502-4, according to DeFelsko.

The PosiTector ultrasonic thickness gauge is used for measuring wall thickness and the effects of corrosion on tanks, pipes or any structure where access is limited to one side.

Elcometer's newest product, the 456 mini probe, is also ideal for accessing awkward areas such as inside diameters, thin diameter tubing, narrow edges and small curves. Available for both ferrous and non-ferrous applications with a range of 0-20 mils, the probes are available in three options: straight, 45 degree angle or 90 degree angle with a probe length of 45mm or 150mm to accommodate a variety of applications. The miniature probe range can be used with all Elcometer 456 separate gauges.

LongJohn Wet Film Thickness Gage from Gardco has a low profile of 0.250", allowing it to get into hard-to-reach places. The 5" length gives added reach capabilities. In addition, the gauge meets AST D 4414 standards.

The 456 mini probe from Elcometer.
Automation USA, Inc. has launched two new coating thickness gauges. The QuaNix 4200 can be used for measurements over steel or iron; the QuaNix 4500 can be used for measurements over steel and aluminum. According to the company, these gauges are compact and robust�ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. Readings appear on the digital display with a substrate indicator.

Gardco has launched three pocket goniometers that measure the contact angle, which appears between a liquid droplet and a substrate surface. PG-1 is a battery-operated instrument for manual measurements of static contact angles at equilibrium. PG-2 is an automated instrument for measuring static and dynamic contact angles. The built-in camera captures a video sequence of the liquid droplet applied on the surface to measure contact angle (wetting), volume (absorption) and base width (spreading) of the droplet as a function of time. PG-3 is an automated instrument for measuring static and dynamic contact angles. It features an integrated micro-pump, which can deliver accurate droplets in 0.5 �l steps.

Particle Size
Horiba has made enhancements to its LB-500 DLS particle size analyzer, including an improved signal-to-noise ratio, resulting in the ability to measure a wide concentration range of up to 40% solids over a size range from three nanometers to 6 microns.

Hockmeyer Equipment Corpora-tion has introduced the HPAS-2000 particle analysis system, an integrated turn-key system for capturing, quantifying and statistically analyzing particle size. The system produces objective, repeatable and replicable data, according to the company. The system can be used to maintain quality control, set performance standards and predict product characteristics.

Hockmeyer has also introduced a new micro mill built on a bench mounting stand with a counter balanced column for easy lifting and lowering. The unit comes complete with an HSD immersion mill head, an interchangeable high-speed disperser shaft and blade assembly and one process vessel.

Little Joe has a new version of its ADM-1 automatic drawdown machine, the ADM-2. Both versions make drawdowns on grind gauges with smooth motorized movement and consistent scraper angle. However, the ADM-2 has the option of both fast and slow speeds, according to the company.

Rheology Testing
The MCR series rheometer from Paar Physica features a wide range of accessories, and updated software, V.2.4, adds new features that will simplify testing, analysis and research.

Paar Physica's automatic sample changer is ideal for fluid applications such as paint and coatings. The company's second-generation automatic rheometer system features automatic testing of up to 32 samples and helps boost laboratory productivity by reducing errors in sample handling and analysis.

Impact Resistance
Instron has developed the Dynatup 9250, an instrumented testing machine that checks impact resistance of painted and coated surfaces. The Dynatup 9250 offers complete computer control and impact velocities of up to 33 m/second. The entire impact event can be captured, plotted and analyzed to determine important data such as the ductile-to-brittle transition point, ductility, incipient damage, max load and absorbed energy, according to the company. The Dynatup 9250 utilizes Impulse, a complete software and electronics package designed for impact testing.

Taber Industries' latest offerings include its shear/scratch tester-model 550 and micro-abrader 8000. Model 550 uses interchangeable tools to measure the susceptibility of material surfaces to marring, shearing, gouging, scratching, scraping and other physical damage. A constant-speed motor and precision-scale beam ensure controlled instrument set-up. It is ideal for evaluating adhesive qualities of surface coatings or rating characteristics of competitive materials, according to the company.

The micro-abrader 8000 mixes micron-sized abrasive powder with pressurized air to generate an abrasive flow. A selection of nozzles and abrasive materials offer testing versatility, including internal surfaces and extremely delicate materials.

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