Plastisol is a mix of chemicals that in its uncured state is a viscous liquid, which can be tailored to meet process and coating thickness requirements. It contains a polymer, usually polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC, along with a plasticising compound that gives it the flexibility during curing and performance additives and colouring.
When cured, it has a rubbery feel, forming a resilient protective coating. It is available in a wide choice of colours to suit specific projects and can be applied either by coating it onto an object, or through a dipping process. It can be formulated to feel has hard as metal or as soft as jelly.
Plastisol requires heating to cure, and once that process is complete, offers excellent protection with an extremely durable finish.
Coatings come in many forms, and use a variety of chemical formulations, which all deliver different properties and benefits. One of the more common coatings in use today is Plastisol, which is known for having very high levels of corrosion resistance and forming a tough, practically indestructible coating on anything it is applied to.
As one of the most durable coatings available today, Plastisol has a lot to offer, but as with any coating, it is important to understand it’s attributes to know why it should be a choice for any project.
Plastisol brings a range of benefits to any project. We have already mentioned just how hardwearing it is as a protective coating, and that it is highly resistant to corrosion, but it has much more to offer as a coating.
Plastisol is chemically inert once cured, meaning it doesn’t react to chemicals and is an excellent option for environments where chemical contamination is possible. In addition, the thick coating is non-conductive, making it highly resistant to electrical damage too.
In addition to chemicals and corrosion resistance, Plastisol is also resistant to organic contamination, resisting mould and mildew growth, and is unaffected by moisture too. It is virtually unbreakable by impact, and if used across the entire surface of an object, forms an almost impenetrable shell to protect the item in almost any environment.
Many materials, such as steel and metal, are not durable enough as they are. Plastisol is unparalleled in its durability and ability to protect metal from corrosion – it can withstand the harshest environmental conditions and high impact forces. Coating substrates in plastisol not only increases the durability of the end product, but it also has added benefits such as…
✔️ Corrosion Resistance
✔️ Chemical resistance
✔️ No chipping, no tearing
✔️ Wear resistant
✔️ Anti vibration
✔️ Environmental protection
✔️ Antiviral (specialist coating available at PolyBlend)
It is the combination of exceptional protection and environmental resilience that makes Plastisol such a useful option when looking for protective coatings.
With safe operating in temperatures ranging from -35°F to 200°F, there are few environments that it cannot manage. Formulated with its environment at its foremost, plastisol is a fit and forget coating, usually lasting the lifetime of the object it is applied too, and because it is a cost-effective coating, is ideal for products of all kinds at all budgets.
Finally, because the Plastisol formula can be adjusted to suit specific applications, matching specific colouring or surroundings, changing additives specific to the user’s needs, and so on, it is extremely customizable. Whatever the texture, finish, or colour required, even matching to existing coatings on a project, Plastisol can deliver.
However, no product is perfect, and it is important to understand the limitations of Plastisol too. The key issue with Plastisol comes from the way that it is applied. Because it requires heat to cure, it cannot be used on materials or objects that cannot withstand those heat levels, which are somewhere between 300-400°F.
Dip moulding is a process that coats metal parts with polymer solutions. You’ll find applications of dip moulding everywhere, from petrol pump handles and chair armrests to medical devices. Yet this process still remains widely unknown to many plastics engineers and product designers. As a coating process, dip moulding offers a huge range of advantages to the manufacturer and the end-user, as well as being a fantastic alternative to other, similar processes, such as injection moulding. Plastisol is a material commonly used in the dip moulding process. It is flexible and soft to the touch, making it particularly suited to the likes of petrol pump handles and chair armrests.
Dip moulded plastisol is popular amongst many industries – this is because plastisol bonds well to any metal substrate and its extreme durability makes it ideal for nearly any application. It is most commonly used for playgrounds, mining, aviation, automotive parts, heavy machinery and construction – PVC coatings have been used as standard materials for steel wall and roof elements for decades. This is because they offer very good corrosion protection, particularly in aggressive industrial atmospheres, and coatings featuring UV resistance additives have shown even greater durability even in extreme weather conditions. Plastisol’s flexibility also lends this coating to small and delicate products. Locksmiths can realise the advantages of a plastisol coating, as even the tiniest of lock picks receive this durable coating solution.
Dip moulded plastisol is popular amongst many industries – this is because plastisol bonds well to any metal substrate and its extreme durability makes it ideal for nearly any application.
PVC coatings have been used as standard materials for steel wall and roof elements for decades. This is because they offer very good corrosion protection, particularly in aggressive industrial atmospheres, and coatings featuring UV resistance additives have shown even greater durability even in extreme weather conditions. Plastisol’s flexibility also lends this coating to small and delicate products. Locksmiths can realise the advantages of a plastisol coating, as even the tiniest of lock picks receive this durable coating solution.
Not only is Plastisol a cost-effective product, but because dipping can be automated, and coating and be semi-automated and integrated into production lines, it is extremely cost-effective to apply too.
Once applied, Plastisol needs to be cured to form the incredibly tough protective coating that we required, and this involved heating the piece to between 300 and 400°F. Once cured, the coating bonds to the object and provides exceptional, long-term protection.
With the heat-curing process required, some materials are simply not suitable for Plastisol application, as they would melt or otherwise be compromised as the coating cures. However, for most metals and a variety of other materials, this simple, clean, and cost-effective application process makes Plastisol a superb choice for a wide range of uses.
At POLYBLEND UK LIMITED, we also produce a range of plastisol products with the addition of antiviral and/or antimicrobial additives. Incorporated during the manufacturing process, any of our PVC coatings at PolyBlend can be formulated with Polygiene Biomaster Antimicrobial Technology‘s world-leading antiviral additives. This means that any virus coming into contact with the protected surface will be reduced by 99%, significantly decreasing the risk of such virus being transmitted from person to person. What’s more, these additives last for the functional lifetime of the product or surface and are still 100% effective despite harsh chemicals, adverse weather conditions or rigorous cleaning.
The key attribute of Plastisol is perhaps not its immense strength, impact, chemical heat, and moisture resistance, nor its ability to avoid mould and mildew contamination, but the flexibility of the material to deliver the appearance and properties required.
Through additive choice, variations in the application process, and curing heat and times, Plastisol can be made to have almost any desired appearance. From colour and texture to matte or gloss finish, whatever fits the application is possible.
The technical protections are of course incredibly important, and a reason for Plastisol to be on any shortlist of coatings for a project during design, but the ability to match other finishes, or create a unique look to meet other design specifications are what sets it apart. The combination of that exceptional protection and customizability is what gives Plastisol its selection for such a wide range of applications, making it one of the most popular thermoset coatings in use today.
Polyblend offers a wide range of speciality and bespoke plastisol’s and will work closely alongside you to find a formulation which suits your specific requirements. If you are interested in our range of plastisol’s for wall coverings, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Please do reach out if you would like to discuss your product or project requirements with our specialty range of PVC plastisol’s. Alternatively, you can request a brochure to find out more information!
Dip Moulding is a simple and frequently employed process used worldwide. It works by creating a ‘to-scale’ mould of the product before it is heated and dipped in a liquid PVC or Acrylic, known as plastisol. With this type of process, the speed of entry and dip time determines the shape and thickness of the final product.
PolyBlend Managing Director, Mark Stewart announces his official retirement date as Friday March 31st 2023.
Let me wish all of you – our customers, our suppliers, our staff and my network – a very Merry Christmas!