That head-turning, just-out-of-the-factory mirror finish on aluminum tool boxes can last a long time, according to Knaack Manufacturing Company, one of the largest suppliers of industrial tool boxes and pick-up truck and van equipment.
Finishing the aluminum boxes with powder coating “significantly enhances the appearance of the box,” according to the plant manager of Knaack. “Aluminum will oxidize over time and–without the clearcoating–will take on a dull, drab look in contrast to the bright look the box has when it’s new.”
In addition, the clear coating offers greater durability and more resistance to salt spray that may come from salt air in coastal communities or salted roads in winter.
Giving their customers the advantage of lasting good looks means a lot to Knaack, whose primary market is contractors, plumbers, electricians and others who make their living working from pick-up trucks. Enhancing the appearance of the aluminum tool boxes with powder clearcoat translates into helping customers influence their bottom line. The plant manager asks, “If a contractor shows up at your door with a rusty, ratty-looking pick-up truck, and the truck is carrying a dull aluminum box, would you rather do business with that contractor or one who presents himself as a professional?” “When our customer buys a clearcoated box,” he continued, “he’s making an investment in his professional image. Quality and success are tied together, and we want our contractors to have both of them.”
Knaack has been powder coating the steel boxes it makes for more than 15 years. The nature of aluminum makes clearcoating additionally important from the standpoint of durability. If an aluminum box is dented–which is not unusual in a heavy work environment–the powder coating continues to provide protection from the elements. In testing, clearcoating withstands 160 sq in /lb of both direct and reverse impact, which means that the coating continues to protect the aluminum after impact without chipping, cracking or delaminating. And its increased resistance to salt spray is measurable through ASTM testing.
Knaack’s extensive WeatherGuard© product line also includes an aluminum box for personal pick-up use and the perfect size box for a set of golf clubs, fishing equipment, groceries or luggage, also protected by a powder coated finish.