Today, metal parts manufacturers may apply a coating to products as a surface treatment to obtain desired results. For example, powdered paint coatings enhance the aesthetic qualities of certain components. Other industrial coatings help surfaces conduct electricity better, or offer improved resistance to corrosion. Different types of coatings contribute specific qualities to finished parts.
Tough polyurethane coatings applied over some finished parts and structures promote better corrosion and weather resistance. For instance, polyurethane sealants help protect many concrete and metal surfaces today. They play an especially important role safeguarding wooden surfaces, such as decks and tabletops.
Some fabricators also cast polyurethane in molds in order to make flexible yet hard plastic products such as hoses, gaskets and wheels. Polyurethane foams also play an important role in the fabrication of many products. A polyurethane polymer which has fully reacted will remain inert chemically, a property which contributes to the popularity of polyurethane sealants.
A German research chemist named Otto Bayer and his colleagues developed the first polyurethane plastics in 1937. Today, companies around the world have devised proprietary formulations for polyurethanes utilized in manufacturing. Scientists categorize this material as a reaction polymer (it closely resembles other synthetic materials in the same category, such as epoxies and polyester).
When used as a casting material, polyurethane displays properties resembling both rubber and hard plastic. This chemical compound has become an important constituent in a wide array of manufactured products. Polyurethane coatings and sealants remain very popular ways to protect wood, concrete and metal surfaces from the impacts of harsh weather.
Many people refer to polyurethanes informally simply as “urethanes”. However, when utilized in this abbreviated manner, the expression typically refers to acrylic urethane and does not mean carbamic acid ethyl ester, i.e. urethane per se. Ethyl carbamate, an ester of carbamic acid, forms a white solid substance distinct from polyurethanes and reportedly occurs naturally as a fermentation by-product. It enjoys very limited use today in foods and beverages due to concerns about its carcinogenic properties.
Some important differences exist between a polyurethane coating and an acrylic urethane coating. One of the most important properties of acrylic urethane relates to rapid drying: this type of sealant dries more rapidly than polyurethane sealants (sometimes within 10 minutes following application). It will usually chip more readily than a polyurethane coating, but does provide greater elasticity.
Polyurethane and acrylic urethane coatings have achieved considerable popularity as a way to protect wooden, concrete and metal surfaces. In industrial settings, some manufacturers apply these sealants widely to enhance their facilities.
Both non-proprietary and proprietary formulations of polyurethane and acrylic urethane coatings exist on the marketplace today. These products help protect concrete, metal and, especially, wooden surfaces. The process used to apply these coatings may vary depending upon the composition of the individual formulation, the intended use, and the manufacturer’s instructions. Some vendors of polyurethane and urethane coatings combine their formulations with specific stains or paints in order to achieve desired aesthetic effects.
Within an industrial setting, polyurethane castings and the production of polyurethane foams both hold economic importance today in manufacturing. Many enterprises rely upon proprietary technologies to generate polyurethane plastic products, coatings, sealants and foam-based materials. Significant variations occur in the use of equipment and tools during fabrication. Important advancements in the development of synthetic plastics since the invention of polyurethane in the late 1930s now permit the creation of a wide variety of specialized proprietary plastic coatings.
Polyurethane and acrylic urethane coatings and sealants have achieved widespread use by consumers during recent years. These formulations offer assistance safeguarding many real estate fixtures from the impacts of harsh weather, for instance. In some situations, manufacturers choose to apply these types of plastic coatings to their products before marketing finished goods to the public. Manufacturers must exercise care in using these finishes appropriately, since some types of consumer products should not receive plastic coatings; these non-consumable sealants eventually erode with use.
Some economic sectors which utilize polyurethane and acrylic urethane sealants and coatings extensively during product fabrication include the furniture industry, the construction industry and the maritime industry. For example, in the furniture industry, polyurethane and acrylic urethane sealants contribute to glossier, finished product surfaces. Manufacturers may apply these coatings manually using brushes, or via automated spray-on technology. Customers may also choose to apply this type of coating after purchasing metal or unfinished wooden products in the marketplace.
Companies in virtually every economic sector may find it useful to apply plastic-based protective coatings to their own facilities. Today, some companies market proprietary coatings for factory floors designed to reduce slippery surfaces and protect the underlying surface from wear and tear during daily use, for instance. Tough polyurethane or acrylic urethane formulations also help seal concrete, metal and masonry surfaces against moisture, making them useful in the protection of fences, sidewalks and other outdoor fixtures.
Acrylic urethane and polyurethane coatings have gained widespread use in recent years because they offer numerous advantages. First, acrylic urethane-based coatings will dry very rapidly. Although subject to chipping, this material suits some fast-paced production environments well because manufacturers can complete the coating process quickly.
Second, both types of coatings potentially retain stains and dyes well. They enable companies to achieve longer lasting painted metal surfaces and stained wood and concrete surfaces. Their waterproofing qualities help make them ideal for sealing fixtures such as deck floors and outdoor steps. These plastic-based coatings can contribute to exterior gloss.
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