FAT CONTROLLER – Standing the Test of Time

As a company, we pride ourselves in searching for perfection – constantly improving and tightening up our quality control procedures to make sure that Ironlak is the best and most consistent product available.

One of the latest improvements we’ve made concerns the UV stability of our pigments. Although we have evidence of the majority of our range lasting 5+ years, we needed to work on increasing the lifespan of around 25% of our colour range. Around three years ago we embarked on a mission to identify the right pigments and test them thoroughly.

There are two elements in a paint formulation which affect its longevity outdoors: 1) The pigments themselves not holding their colour and 2) the resin which oxidises resulting in chalky paint that can be rubbed off with your finger. We didn’t need to address the resin, as ours has been proven many times over with its adhesion, flexibility and weather resistance. What we needed to focus on were the pigments.

The first step was reaching out to a handful of pigment suppliers for suitable samples. Then we started doing real tests with the pigments, knowing that if there was any colour deterioration in 12 weeks, the pigment wasn’t going to make it.

After doing the initial tests we identified a few pigments we thought were suitable and sent them off for testing at DuPoint in Florida, USA; a world-renowned facility that have been weather testing coatings for over 50 years. We simulated the external effects of our new pigments to use as a benchmark equal to a 12 month period, and the results were looking good. When we went at it again for an additional 12 months, and the pigment’s performance boasted further evidence we were heading in the right direction.

In June 2013 we reviewed our range and selected colours we believed could be advanced. Real world tests had begun in our hometown of Brisbane, Australia, with the region having some of the world’s strongest UV light. We tackled colours that had potential to present issues and key colours known to have previously faded. We then started benchmark testing these against other brands as a control point to see how effective the UV resistance in our new pigment was. While we knew which colours were the main culprits when it came to fading, we also knew there would be a few on the cusp which needed upgrading. The period from June to October 2013 was used to identify these.

In July 2013 we started using the new pigments for a handful of colours such as Flirt, Potion, and Sofles Violence to ensure there were no adverse effects in the performance of the paint and to test the UV resistance. From October to December 2013 we implemented the new pigments across the entire range.

We were very thorough in our testing to ensure at each step of the way we confirmed the performance of the pigments before moving forward and that no colour needing attention would be forgotten. We have continued testing and reviewing each colour for the past 12 months in a number of different locations (as shown in this post) and will continue to provide you with further updates in the future. At this point we are extremely confident in these pigment upgrades and their ability to hold their colour for a long period of time, certainly as long as any other product on the market. It is worth noting, not all colours are created equal and certain colours will last longer than others. A light pink or purple is never going to last as long as a pure red like Soviet, a blue like Torquay or a grey like Battleship. This is true across all brands of paint.


Real World Swatch Test.

The fat controller, graffiti, Ironlak

The above paint swatches were painted on the 20th of December last year, on a raw concrete wall which receives full sun from approximately 9am to 3pm every day depending on the season. We have been monitoring and documenting this as part of our quality control testing procedures. It is important to note that colours which will exhibit poor pigment U.V. stability usually start to show signs of fading after three months – especially during the harsh Aussie summer.

The results speak for themselves. After eleven months of exposure, Ironlak is showing no signs of excessive fading what-so-ever.

This is the original image taken on the day of painting with the most recent photo moved into the same frame for comparison sake. Both photos were shot in direct sunlight at 10:30am. The colours are as per the original photo and have not been edited, brightened or altered in anyway.

Sugar Wall – 11 months on.

Sugar Artists’ Acrylic utilises the same automotive pigments that we have implemented in Ironlak. You might remember this wall that was painted in January 2014 using Sugar. Here are photos of the wall as it stands today (photos taken last Tuesday). It’s still as bright as the day it was painted and even colours that are prone to fading (pinks and red-based browns) are still holding up well. You can see the original wall in this video here.

The fat controller, graffiti, Ironlak

The fat controller, graffiti, Ironlak

The fat controller, graffiti, Ironlak

The fat controller, graffiti, Ironlak

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