What does the customer expect from a coating? Good appearance, lasting durability, appealing functionality, or environmentally friendly production? No question, he wants everything combined, of course!
For the decorative sector, PVD (physical vapor deposition) processes have become indispensable in surface technology. After all, it's all about attractive colors, improving haptics and appearance - regardless of whether it's used for car interiors or in the household or for small electrical appliances.
Nevertheless, this process also has numerous disadvantages, which become particularly apparent when the coated components are used permanently: for example, the decorative PVD surfaces are very sensitive to scratches and are not resistant to abrasion or chemical influences. If, for example, a component or kitchen utensil is constantly touched by hand, the PVD surface may become scratched after a short time or suffer in appearance due to fingerprints.
EPG AG has developed a topcoat for precisely this problem, which can protect the PVD layer and significantly improve its function. Based on sol-gel coating technology, a glass-like transparent coating was developed that covers the PVD layer in an ultra-thin layer and thus does not produce any optical changes to the metallic appearance. But the durability and functionality of the coating is increased, scratches, abrasion or hand sweat are no longer a problem. Cleaning a PVD coating is also made easier with the topcoat, because fingerprints are now easy to remove and wipe away.
But it is also possible to completely replace the PVD layer with the EPG sol-gel coating. This creates further advantages for the customer. The PVD process is very complex, cost-intensive and, above all, time-consuming due to the necessary use of complex machines, and often results in minor color differences in successive batches. EPG coatings, on the other hand, are applied in an automated spraying process that enables large quantities to be produced on an industrial scale and poses no problem for complex geometries and frequent color changes. The subsequent curing process in the oven is easy to handle and significantly shortened.
The EPG coatings thus offer many advantages over PVD coatings, because the customer does not want to choose between good appearance and durability but wants to obtain both combined in one coating and also use an environmentally friendly process.
Left: Stainless steel speaker covered with transparent EPG coating; Right: applied to PVD coating. The PVD process provides the desired color, the EPG coating the necessary protection and functionality.
We offer competitive advantages with our Sol-Gel technology through the use of innovative materials. As the leading specialist for surface coating we can provide everything from a single source:
Our top product NANOSEAL® sets new standards in the provision of finishes for stainless steel. Surfaces are given a wafer thin coating, to ensure they retain their original metallic appearance. Various color options are available.
Its typical lightweight character makes aluminum an increasingly popular metal nowadays for use in automobile, household and general design applications. Our environmentally-friendly technology SAPHIRAL® can improve upon, and sometimes completely replace, anodized aluminum, and is in addition available in many color variations.
The EPG technology protects titanium and other metallic and non-metallic alloys. Among other new approaches, we are currently developing a new technology to protect carbonaceous steels.
EPG coatings are distinguished by very thin application layers, but these layers nevertheless feature extremely high resistance to corrosion and environmental influences and a high level of scratch resistance. The layers are so thin that they can hardly be seen by the naked eye, and as a result the characteristics of the metallic surface are retained both in terms of touch and feel as well as optically.
Yes, we develop customized solutions for our customers’ products.
If requested by our customers, we are also able to coat samples – including original components. Our experts will be delighted to offer you their advice for this purpose.
Our coatings are subjected to all the quality tests which are important in the relevant industrial sector: e.g. mechanical tests such as abrasion and scratch resistance tests, salt mist tests and tests to check resistance to chemicals. The results can also be seen in our publications.
In addition to anorganic-glass-type systems which are extremely stable even at high temperatures up to 600 °C, EPG can offer hybrids with an anorganic-organic matrix, which display better characteristics when compared with purely organic systems.
With its new product SAPHIRAL, an innovative coating solution for all current forms of aluminum alloy, EPG AG comfortably won the Industriepreis 2017 in the category of suppliers. SAPHIRAL is a Sol-Gel-based coating solution for all existing types of aluminum alloy, with outstanding functional and optical characteristics. SAPHIRAL exhibits a very high degree of scratch resistance, as well as great thermal and chemical stability. SAPHIRAL makes it possible to produce single-layer solutions for high-gloss, brushed or blasted substrates, with an extremely high-quality surface finish. SAPHIRAL can be applied directly on aluminum surfaces (colored coatings are possible) or can alternatively be employed to improve the qualities of anodized surfaces. This prestigious award, which is decided by an independent specialist jury comprising professors, scientists and experts from a variety of industrial sectors and publishing houses, is announced once annually by the Huber Verlag, a publishing house for new media, on the occasion of the Hannover Messe, Germany’s largest and most important industrial fair. On each occasion, prizes are awarded to the most advanced industrial products in 14 different categories. The Chairman of the Board of EPG AG, Dr. Andreas Zimmermann, was absolutely delighted at this recognition: “The awarding of this prize is for us both a confirmation and an acknowledgement that our innovative development work is at the absolute peak of current technology. Our solutions make it possible to offer the end customer a significant possibility of differentiating his products from the competition and of increasing their value.”