There are a wealth of polymer raw materials available to the paint formulator, each of which brings its own advantages and disadvantages to a finished paint. Even amongst this wide range of materials, you may not be able to find the exact properties you need. Maybe there is a problem with your existing resin. Maybe you have an idea for a new product. Or maybe you need to understand how specific variations in latex chemistry affect the properties of your finished coating. It’s not always possible to achieve these goals simply through use of commercially available materials.
PRA can help you design, develop and synthesise custom resins at lab scale. We have a wide range of polymer chemistry experience covering solution, emulsion, dispersion and solvent-less systems for a variety of polymer types such as polyesters, alkyds, acrylics. We also have experience with reactive curing systems such as polyurethanes and epoxies.
Protective barrier coatings efficacy is dependent on many variables such as; the selection of coating for the application, substrate preparation, application, temperature, humidity etc. Therefore, complaints due to early failure of the coating are common. Having your coatings tested in a UKAS accredited Laboratory not only validates your coatings performance but can also prevent costly legal challenge. Our UKAS accredited laboratories are solely used to develop and test coatings and PRA’s technical staff will provide expert opinion following all tests, so you are fully informed and offered advice as required.
Our expert consultants are available to help you formulate products tailored to your specific customer needs. This includes Architectural (Decorative Consumer, Trade Sales and Industrial Maintenance) water based and high solids solvent-based compliant coatings as well as Industrial coatings for wood, plastic and metal substrates suitable for all market sectors and utilising currently available polymer technologies single-pack, two-pack and radiation curing.
In today’s dynamic marketplace it is important to maintain a strong and clearly identifiable brand image. Each year, millions of pounds are spent on the psychology behind the brand image to, not only create the logo design but as importantly the colour palette relating to the brand. Therefore, colour brand consistency is a key factor in initially attracting new customers, but also building trust and eventually brand loyalty. Any inconsistencies could damage the overall perception and ultimately reputation related to the brand. At the PRA we can help you sustain your brand image through our independent quality assurance support package. Our experts will help you develop a coating specification for your brand and create a bespoke test regime to ensure your supply chain remain consistent in their overall quality of product. You can then be assured the coating materials supplied meet performance & colour specifications.
Where does your product sit in the marketplace when compared to your competitors? Best way to find out is to gain an independent evaluation of your product against competitive brands. Why do this? There are several tangible benefits associated with benchmarking, primarily you are establishing where you have performance gaps and can therefore develop a development programme to improve the coating performance. In addition, by identifying the gaps in performance, a strategic list of priorities can be drawn up, all based on independently evaluated results. Bench marking can also create a culture of continuous improvement within the organisation and highlight the importance of product quality. Further, it should be a marketing departments dream, with regular press releases on improved performance or best in class opportunities. Our scientists can help you develop the test regime and perform the test, blindly, to establish the market leading products and give detailed recommendations to improve.
Raw Material Evaluations
As we now live in a 24/7 connected society, it is easier than ever to select additives from suppliers from across the world. The danger with this is guaranteeing the quality of the received products. As small changes in formulation can have a significant effect on the coating’s properties, it is vitally important for coatings manufacturers to ensure the quality & regulatory compliance of their raw materials. The PRA will independently evaluate your supplier’s products to make certain the quality of the desired constituent meets the required standards and as such giving greater control to the manufacturers.
New Product Development
New product development is generally divided into two distinct areas, 1. New formulation or 2. Modification of an existing coating. The PRA can provide the skill and support to help organisations develop their new coating or raw material. We offer an innovation work shop to understand the need but also develop the programme to meet the development challenges. In addition, we can assist with assembling a team of experts to reduce development time. If you are considering attracting outward funding, we can help with the application and the project management, as our technical staff are either APM or Prince2 qualified.
Surface coatings are applied to enhance a materials overall performance, whether that is through barrier protection from moisture/oxygen transmission or changes to the surface chemistry of the component. At the PRA we help organisations advance the over performance of their coatings for a variety of industrial and decorative applications. Our dedicated coatings experts can support your development team create new and novel surface coatings to meet future environmental and physical performance standards. Through our engagement we can support, advise, formulate, test and reduce time to market for your innovative products.
Coating selection, if done wrong, can lead to misery for the supplier and customer alike. It is therefore vitally important that people involved in professions such as designers, architects, contractors, etc, understand the importance of coating selection. If you are embarking on a new project or want to evaluate existing products/application, our coating experts can help you find coatings that will be fit for purpose. We would also recommend all new coatings are tested for the application prior to committing to a full delivery programme, the PRA test laboratory staff can help advise and assist you with the test programme.
Scale Up Support
In the main, new approaches to product manufacture or a new product innovation occur within a laboratory environment, where there are degrees of control not normally shared in large scale-up plant. As development scientists, it is important to recognise the skill limitations held within the organisation, to effectively and moreover safely design scale-up systems. Finding the right team can be a challenge as it can be not only difficult to find but also quite daunting to manage a remote multidisciplinary team. The PRA can support you in this process in 3 discreet ways;
1) Our technical staff are all APM or Prince 2 qualified, so can remove the burden of day to day project management, without you relinquishing overall project control;
2) Evaluate the skills gaps and assemble a high performing team of experts to work on your project
3) provide independent evaluation on the efficiency of the process and provide detailed assessment on the product performance
Identifying business threats or new opportunities are vital practices for any business. As our access to new knowledge, products, news, etc and the way in which we communicate has changed unrecognisably over the last decade, so at times, it is difficult to process this large volume of data into meaningful information. The PRA collects technical & market information on a daily basis, whether that is a patent, research paper, technical publication or market news. Our information specialists can work with you to quickly understand your requirements and then using our extensive data base of information, provide insight into the specific area of interest.
Lack of reliable market research is one of the key failure modes for any new development. Inquisitiveness is hardwired into us all, which is why we can get carried away with a new product idea without considering its viability in the market place. How can PRA help? We have a tried and tested market research methodology, coupled with a global network of manufacturers, distributors and retail companies. In addition, we are aware of changes in legislation or regulation, that may impact your development and as such be in a position to guide your work plans accordingly.
Defining the optimal performance of manufacturing systems is vitally important in industry. Due to the composition and processing steps required to produce and apply a coating and as such our sector is arguably filled with opportunity to improve. However, changing an upstream process can significantly alter the product quality downstream, so key technical and scientific knowledge is required to understand the process as a whole. The PRA can support you in process development, not only by identifying new processes but helping to create new operational parameters to optimise the process into a repeatable and viable methodology. The PRA can help you from proof of concept through commercial launch and in doing so improve manufacturing efficiency.
Within the discipline of R&D, we are faced with challenges on a daily basis. The skill to stop, change and reflect may come natural to some but not all within the workplace. Equally, people with knowledge and ideas may not be confident to share with senior managers or directors, thus stifling innovation and creative thinking. At the PRA we assemble a multidisciplinary team, consisting of our experts, associates (where applicable) and your stakeholder group, to develop strategies to overcome the technical challenge. Our facilitators use techniques to gain full inclusion to not only extract ideas but to gain buy in from all the company representatives. We also recognise that some problems do not warrant a group approach. In this case we will work with you to understand your requirements and allocate and individual or small team, with the relevant experience, to help you find a way forward.