Cerakote Coatings Are Revolutionizing the Aerospace and Health Care Industries
When NIC Industries introduced Cerakote in the 1980s, the durable polymer ceramic coating was used mainly by weapons manufacturers to protect guns and gun parts. Within a few years, several other industries found uses for this innovative ceramic composite coating. Carmakers were early Cerakote adopters because the ceramic coating’s heat resistance made it a natural choice for engine parts, and sporting equipment manufacturers turned to Cerakote coatings to add a tough protective layer to golf clubs and gym equipment. In this blog post, we will take a look at the ways Mueller Corporation is bringing Cerakote into the 21st century by using it to protect advanced aerospace components and medical devices.
The Benefits of Cerakote
Cerakote is a ceramic polymer-based functional coating that can be applied to ferrous and nonferrous metals, plastics, polymers, composites and even wood. When this durable and remarkable ceramic composite coating is applied, its ceramic particles settle to form an incredibly tough and incredibly thin protective layer. The substance has attracted the attention or aerospace and medical manufacturers because it offers benefits that other coatings do not provide. These benefits include:
- Thin layers: Cerakote is applied in very thin layers. A layer of Cerakote is between 25 and 50 microns thick, which is thinner than a human hair. This means that applying Cerakote to complex components has very little impact on tolerance. Thin layers also make Cerakote coatings very light.
- Heat resistance: Cerakote has excellent heat resistance properties. The ceramic substance can withstand temperatures in excess of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it an excellent choice for coating engine and exhaust parts.
- Chemical resistance: Coatings that are used to protect engine components must be able to resist chemicals. Cerakote coatings more than meet this requirement because they resist solvents, acids, alkalis and other chemicals. Cerakote also resists the cleaning agents and disinfectants used in the health care sector.
- Corrosion resistance: Items coated in Cerakote can be placed in harsh environments because the substance can cope with saltwater, humidity and wide temperature fluctuations. This means metal parts coated with it resist corrosion and last longer.
- Durability: Cerakote became the standard solution for protecting firearms and automobile components because it is both durable and flexible. The coating is scratch and abrasion resistant, and it can be used on moving parts because it flexes slightly. When NIC Industries researchers tested the flexibility of it, they discovered that the substance could flex up to 180 degrees with no adhesion issues.
- VOC exempt: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made Cerakote coatings VOC exempt. This means that it is not a volatile organic compound and does not produce or deplete ozone.
- Biocompatible: The health care sector has moved away from other protective coatings in favor of Cerakote because the substance is biocompatible. This means that it is safe to use on implants and other medical devices. It does not harm human tissue, and it will not trigger an allergic reaction.
- Color choices: Cerakote is an attractive coating that is available in a wide range of colors in satin, matte and glossy finishes. Cerakote coated components look good, and they can be color-coded. The finish is also very easy to clean.
Cerakote for the Aerospace Industry
Cerakote is used by aerospace manufacturers because it provides a much more effective thermal barrier than other protective coatings. Heat and shock are an aircraft engine’s worst enemies, but Cerakote does not degrade, crack, flake or lose its color when it is exposed to thermal shock. This game-changing ceramic composite coating also protects against corrosion in harsh environmental conditions, which makes it an excellent choice for protecting aircraft parts. The ceramic coating can withstand exposure to aviation fuels, solvents and deicing agents, and its UV stability protects against degradation and oxidation.
Cerakote meets or exceeds the federal and Boeing standards for flammability protection, and the substance is VOC, REACH and RoHS compliant. Cerakote was first used in the aerospace industry to prevent helicopter engine parts from overheating during hovering maneuvers, but it is now used to coat flight deck surfaces, electronics, cabin and interior parts and exterior components like latches, locks and window frames.
Cerakote for the Health Care Sector
The health care industry has embraced Cerakote because the substance is biocompatible. This means that it is safe to use on items like implants that are placed inside the human body. Coating medical equipment and devices with it will not cause adverse events or allergic reactions, and the substance does not degrade when it is exposed to medical solvents. Cleaners and disinfectants. Cerakote is available in many colors and finishes, which makes it a good choice for implants and other customized medical devices.
How Cerakote Is Applied
At Mueller Corporation, we know that the components we coat with Cerakote will be exposed to high temperatures, corrosive chemicals and harsh environments. We employ a state-of-the-art manufacturing process to make sure that the treatments we apply will perform in the field, and we also go to great lengths to ensure that the parts we coat are as visually appealing as they are functional. The items we protect with Cerakote convey quality and performance, but achieving this look is not easy. Here are the steps we take when we coat an item in Cerakote:
- Cleaning and degreasing: Before Cerakote can be applied, the surface that will be coated must be thoroughly cleaned and degreased. We usually use a solvent cleaner and a lint-free cloth to remove oil dirt and other contaminants.
- Abrasive blasting: Cerakote can be applied directly to many materials, but some surfaces should be textured or roughened before being coated. This helps the coating to adhere to the surface, and it is done with sandblasting or abrasive blasting equipment.
- Mixing and spraying: Cerakote must be mixed thoroughly before application. Skipping or skimping on this important step leads to substandard results, so we take our time. Once the coating has been mixed, we apply it in layers as thin as 25 microns using a spray gun or other application device.
- Curing: When Cerakote is air cured, it is dry to the touch after about an hour and fully cured after about five days. To make sure that our Cerakote coated parts fully harden and deliver the performance our clients expect, we usually cure them in an oven. Cerakote bonds to surfaces better in an oven, and adding heat to the curing process produces a more durable and flexible protective layer.
Work With the Professionals at Mueller Corporation Today
Mueller Corporation has been a trusted supplier to the aerospace, defense and health care sectors since 1955. We have the equipment and expertise to ensure that any coating project we take on meets or exceeds manufacturer quality and performance standards, and we always strive to deliver finished products within specified time windows. If you would like to learn more about the ways the leader in decorative and functional coatings can help your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more about our operations and capabilities.