The material used for thermoplastic coatings (applied by flame spraying or flame painting) is nothing new; it is also used in many places in Hungary in both wet and powder form, but FLS Solution is an absolute pioneer on the market in flame spraying. With a minimum service life of 30 years and protection against extreme corrosion, ESD and abrasion, it is suitable for everything from industrial floors to critical metal structures such as oil and gas pipes. It is no coincidence that seats at Arsenal and Wimbledon stadiums are thermoplastic coated.
We accompanied the team of FLS while performing sampling, our article is based on the video report we created there.
Several years of experience in the industry have led to thermoplastic coatings
Compared to traditional solutions such as epoxy, synthetic resin, or PVC, thermoplastic coatings are becoming more and more mainstream among contractors looking for a durable solution. Thermoplastic coatings lead the market in performance, allowing versatile applications.
We come across thermoplastic coatings every day: they are the thick, resistant coating that line fridge and dryer shelves. However, they can do much more than that, with excellent corrosion protection and weather resistance, they are suitable for industrial environments.
Application of thermoplastic coatings is fully mobile, no power source is required
As a salesman and technologist, Dávid Hrabár has gained experience working for the distributors of the best-known paint manufacturers, namely Akzo Nobel, PPG and Sherwin Williams. While working to find the best possible solution to customers’ problems, he learned about the benefits of each type of paint and coating system. With this experience, he started his own company, FLS Solution, in 2018.
Given the favorable loan terms of support of MFB (Hungarian Development Bank), his equipment was ready to useby the summer of 2019, after more than six months of preliminary work. The first project that they were commissioned to do was to apply coating on a winery’s floor. Since then, they have received orders from different heavy industry companies, as well as from manufacturing firms.
Pioneer in flame spraying technology in Hungary
During his years in this industry, he has seen many coating technologies in action. The main advantage of thermoplastic coatings is that they offer almost all the benefits of existing technologies: an antibacterial surface, ESD and corrosion protection. A big advantage over thermoset materials is that they are thermoplastic, meaning that the material can be easily repaired after application. A special powder coating is used for thermoplastic coating. It can be applied in several ways, for example in series production, electrostatic and wet application are both possible. Dávid was the first in the country to opt for flame spray painting (hence the name FLS Solution).
After application, the industrial floor can be used almost immediately after cooling
Flame spraying in practice
How are thermoplastic coatings made?
The flame spray gun applies a mixture of air, gas and powder paint to the surface, which can be metal, concrete or even fibreglass. The melted paint adheres instantly, diffusing and smoothing out under a short period of time. As the paint melts when heated, it is easy to repair the part and surface afterwards.
So many benefits in a single technology
Thermoplastic coatings have a wide range of potential applications thanks to:
- no restrictions in terms of layer thickness: can be applied in thicknesses from 300 microns to 3-5 cm without risk of damage;
- providing excellent corrosion and abrasion protection for the coated surface;
- the fact that the surface can be used immediately, both by vehicles and people;
- cooling can even be done with water;
- extreme durability;
- complying with the EU legislation on food contact materials (1935/04/EEC);
- high chemical resistance – resistant to most industrial acids, alkalis, up to 50% hydrochloric acid, sulphuric acid, and ammonia;
- good resistance to abrasion, friction, mechanical and environmental stress, UV radiation
- retaining flexibility at low temperatures.
Of all the benefits of the technology, durability is also worth highlighting. Among others, this coating is also used to protect street furniture in Stockholm. Although the technology is advertised as having a 30-year lifetime, a Swedish research institute has shown that in marine and industrial environments ofC5 classification, thermoplastic coatings have a lifetime of 60 years. Furthermore, its lifespan increases to 200 years underwater and underground, during which time it provides corrosion protection throughout.
However, the most important benefit for the food industry is that thermoplastic coatings comply with EU Regulation 1935/04/EEC, certifying that it can be used as a coating for food contact materials or objects. It can therefore be used freely and widely in food processing plants.
Outstanding durability at a competitive price
The most significant competitors to thermoplastic coatings are industrial wet paints. The disadvantage of these is that they have to be applied in several layers, so even if the unit price is lower, the end cost is similar.
Thermoplastic coatings provide excellent corrosion protection for a minimum of 30 years even with a single coat.
Another important point to consider is the efficiency with which the technology utilizes the material. The volatile substance content in solvent-based paints – chemicals that are responsible, for example, for cross-linking and proper spreading – is not retained in the final product. Only the dry matter content is what we will see on the surface. With powder coating, the loss can be up to 50%, which is dispersed into the air. Taking all this into account, these technologies are almost identically priced.
Thermoplastic coating compared to other technologies
Compared to epoxy coatings
- meets the requirements of EN ISO 14901
- 800% more flexible
- no burn-in or drying time
- better UV resistance
Compared to PVC
- much lower toxic emissions
- contains no plasticisers, chlorine or halogens
- retains its properties at low temperatures
- tolerates heat well
Compared to nylon coating
- more impregnating
- more cost-effective
- does not require a base coat
Thermoplastic coating complies with EU Regulation 1935/04/EEC and is safe for use in the food industry
Who is thermoplastic coating recommended for?
There are two broad groups of users of thermoplastic surfaces: companies that install industrial flooring and companies that manufacture and use large metal structures.
A particular advantage for industrial floors is that the coating is certified for contact with food and drinking water, so it is also suitable for use in the food industry. For example, an apple processing plant opted for a floor with chemical-resistant resins but it could not handle malic acid. In such cases, thermoplastic floors can be the perfect alternative. It can also be used to create road markings, as it has excellent abrasion resistance and is durable even beside frequent salting.
For large metal structures, corrosion protection and low maintenance requirements are particularly important, and they are guaranteed by thermoplastic coatings over the long term. For gas and oil pipelines, whether they be underground or marine, it has been the primary choice for decades, performing excellently in critical areas. It is also to be found on exterior metal structures, building structures, furniture and railings, where it is a popular choice in both the winter and summer for its pleasant feel.
Thermoplastic coatings can also be of great use in shipping. Even when using anti-algae paints, boats should be decontaminated annually to remove any algae, fungi, or mussels that may have settled. Thermoplastic coatings, however, are less likely to harbor algae, so it is sufficient to lift the boat out every 3-4 years.
Ready-to-use floors, without a power source
FLS Solution welcomes orders from anywhere in the country, as the fully mobile service requires no power source and the coating can be installed almost anywhere. The process is significantly faster than it is with wet paints, and the surface can be used almost immediately after application. The performance of the surface can be customized to personal needs: shape paintings, reflective coatings, flexible and hard versions, and anti-slip versions are also available. More information: