Bringing excellence to the surface

A&I Coatings started out as a coating application business before making its first batch of paint in 1989. Sales Director, Ben Gillies, details the Australian owned family business’ journey and how it came to formulate its own protective coatings.

A&I Coatings began from humble beginnings and had been contracting for many years prior to the decision to start formulating its own coatings.

Ben Gillies – A&I Coatings Sales Director – says that while there were excellent coatings on the market in the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was an untapped opportunity for ultra-durable long-life coatings as these were not available in Australia at the time. So, the business began searching for suitable resins, products and chemistry to help realise this dream and produce coatings that are 100 per cent Australian owned and developed.

“A&I Coatings has always seen protective coatings as a challenge and a privilege, and none more challenging than what is required for trailers and truck bodies,” he says. “A&I Coatings formulated several coatings that were specific to certain applications and uses, to meet each manufacturers different requirements and expectations. A&I coatings were able to bring a totally customised solution to the table to meet all these demands and add value in many ways to our customers. With years of experience in the coating application side, we were developing our coatings with not only the finished result in mind, but also the applicator. A&I Coatings versatile range of primers and topcoats complement each other and complement the projects where they are being applied.”

All A&I Coatings’ protective coatings are made locally at the busines’ manufacturing plant in New South Wales and undergo continuous and rigorous testing regimes.

“We have live labs in WA, VIC, QLD and NSW and third-party testing facilities in Dallas Texas, and UK where our coatings are tested and monitored for properties such as corrosion resistance, weathering performance, durability and application performance,” Ben says. “A&I Coatings also have our own in-house laboratory and testing facilities where our coatings are developed and improved on. In the laboratory we can conduct tests such as accelerated weathering and corrosion resistance, chemical resistance, impact and abrasion resistance, adhesion tests and much more. A&I Coatings is certified to ISO9001 and is an APAS (Australia Paint Approval Scheme) approved manufacturing facility.”

As for the most recent developments for the trailer and truck body industry, A&I Coatings has recently reformulated its Vitrephos 560 Zinc Phosphate Primer and Vitrethane 645 Polyurethane Topcoat.

“The Vitrephos 560 primer is a versatile primer that can be applied to both aluminium and mild steel,” Ben says. “Vitrephos 560 is ideal for busy spray booths where lead times are restricted. Vitrephos 560 goes on exceptionally smooth, covering the sandblasting profiles well. It also enhances the gloss level of the finish topcoat through reducing the amount of sink back in the finish coat and can be used in any wet on wet applications with a Polyurethane topcoat. Vitrethane 645 is a high build polyurethane topcoat with exceptional application properties and performance. An automotive grade coating, Vitrethane 645 has excellent colour and gloss retention and excellent resistance to chemicals and abrasion.

With the roots of Vitrethane 645 going back to the early 2000s, it was formulated especially for the demanding and harsh Australian environments. Available in a high build and high gloss finish, Vitrethane 645 cures with an aesthetically pleasing appearance with a very smooth and glossy finish and minimal sink back visible. Vitrethane 645 can also be used in wet-on-wet applications with an excellent finished result.”

A forward-thinking company, A&I Coatings is always looking for ways to improve on what’s currently available in the market.

Ben says: “A&I Coatings is a family of chemists, pioneering the way in coating technology and developments.