An innovative powder coating from AkzoNobel has answered the call of the telecoms industry for a product which has the toughness to withstand the plating process and the ability to perform under pressure.

The newly launched Interpon IT 4004 range has been specifically developed for wireless telecom and network equipment makers who use an electroplating process when manufacturing radio wave transmitters for major telecom companies.

It provides a high performance, tough final finish which can be used to mask exterior surfaces prior to electroplating the interior with copper or silver. It also streamlines the manufacturing process by removing the need for hand-applied masks and lowers consumption of costly silver or copper, significantly reducing the overall cost of production.

“Plating is a long, harsh process and each step may cause color deviation and performance issues,” explains Mark Reekie, AkzoNobel Powder Coatings’ Global Segment Manager for IT. “Interpon IT 4004 offers outstanding performance benefits while providing significant cost savings to the customer by reducing the number of production steps and simplifying their manufacturing process.”

During plating, the powder is exposed to high temperatures and a strong acid and alkali solution which, in combination with a final baking stage, would normally risk the color stability of the coating. Interpon IT 4004 has been tailored to resist strong acids and alkalis – and also provides anti-yellowing performance – making it the ideal choice for this application. In addition, in the event of defective plating (when the silver/copper may need to be stripped), Interpon IT 4004 can also withstand the strong chemicals involved in the stripping process.

“In order to achieve this outstanding performance, we invested significant time and effort in researching and understanding the plating process,” continues Reekie, who adds that particular attention was paid to developing control parameters for the steps that influence the powder coating’s performance and color.

The chemistry used to meet these high demands means that the Interpon IT 4004 range is currently only available in North Asia, India and the Americas.