The following article appeared in Volume 10, Issue 4 of SuperYacht Industry magazine. Alexseal is very pleased to have been featured in such a prestigious publication that is aimed at industry professionals throughout the world! View the original SuperYacht Industry article as it appeared in the magazine.
When selecting the right topcoat paint for a yacht, it is important to note that there is much more to consider than simply choosing what is easiest or least expensive to apply. Alexseal believes in providing a superior product, and there is a never-ending effort that goes into this primary purpose.
Not only are these the most advanced products on the marine market, but a diverse team of chemists, engineers and technicians at the brand’s Hamburg lab at Mankiewicz Gebr. & Co. are always working together to improve the existing formulas and systems to provide products that are user-friendly and can achieve outstanding results in a variety of climates. Since Alexseal’s formal debut in 2004, the topcoat system has undergone many improvements, in a genuine aim to continuously improve.
Established in 1895, Mankiewicz is one of Germany’s traditional paint manufactures and a market leader in the production of both solvent-based and water-dilutable high-tech coating systems. Based in Hamburg, Mankiewicz supplies high-quality paint products to various different markets such as machine construction, capital goods, automotive, aviation, railway, medical technology and yachts. The in-house research and development department develops paint systems in all color shades, gloss grades and textures, tailor-made to suit each customer’s requirements. Mankiewicz’s quest to excel was recently recognized during the prestigious German Company Summit in Essen as a “Top 100 Most Innovative Medium-Sized Company”. A “Top 100” mentor and famous science journalist, Ranga Yogeshwar presented the parent company of Alexseal with the award, which was created over 20 years ago.
Mankiewicz has two reasons to celebrate this year. In addition to being awarded the “top 100” seal, the company also celebrates its 120 year anniversary. Originally founded as the independent subsidiary of an English paint factory, the company started out producing paint for coaches according to original English formulations. Nowadays, more than 1,100 employees worldwide develop and sell innovative pains for high-tech sectors such as aviation, automotive and general industry markets. Of these employees, 300 engineers work in the service sector. “Our main focus is on product innovations, for example on paints with optimum resistances which protect surfaces from corrosion and other weather influences. Our major goal lies in the long-term value maintenance of the commodities of our international customers”, states Mankiewicz Managing Director Michael Grau.
Investing in Innovation
The company’s philosophy of the globally active paint manufacturer is clearly focused on innovations which will benefit customers. Investments in the area of research and development as well as a state-of-the-art production department are the foundation for success. An example of this is the pioneering of an optimized manufacturing process, or OMP, which has resulted in substantial improvements to the flow of topcoat products. Premium polyester polyurethane manufacturing such as the Alexseal process, requires the best ingredients. Chemists us a very specific combination of polyol resins and catalysts to achieve a reaction that targets 100% molecular cross-linkage, meaning every molecule is matched, mated and connected with another one during the curing process. Unmatched molecules can lead to a breached finish and the resulting disappointments of lost protection and beauty. Cross-linkage is the primary reason polyester based polyurethanes retain gloss better than competing products. This molecular cross-linking creates a tougher finish that stands up better to real world wear and tear on a yacht. One can see this in practice in places such as longer lasting non-skid decks and resistance to damage from rubbing fenders on a hull-side.
Repairs to a yacht’s surface are inevitable regardless of how tough a paint is. Guests will bump the dinghy around, crews can make mistakes and the habits of other boaters is unpredictable. When a mishap does occur to the topcoat, the initial choice in paint technologies can mean the difference between an easy, seamless repair and an unsightly frustration. Like Alexseal, today’s aliphatic polyester polyurethane coatings are comprised of resins in which the pigment thoroughly saturates the entire thickness of the paint film. Traditional polyurethanes on the contrary, separate out into a clear surface coat, with the color or pigment underneath. When a repair is needed, these traditional coatings require buffing and sanding all the way through the clear portion of the finish in order to affect the color beneath. This need to deeply abrade the coating during repairs can result in a prominent “halo effect”, and makes completing a seamless repair much more difficult – even for the most experienced of technicians.
The Choice is Yours
While acrylic paint can be repaired like a full-pigment polyurethane, acrylics are much softer and do not provide the durability and resistance to harsh marine elements that premium polyester polyurethanes can. The softness of acrylic coatings also makes them less than optimal for nonskid and other high traffic or scratch prone areas of a yacht. For instance, a soft coating often jeopardizes a satisfactory color match between a bulkhead and cockpit sole, as the areas wear at different rates. By their very nature, acrylics just don’t work very well in these circumstances. That is why experienced yachtsmen and applicators usually choose polyester polyurethane when they seek a highly durable finish. When choosing a polyurethane topcoat, there is an alternative to compromising between traditional aviation style polyester polyurethanes – which provide the hardest surface with the highest chemical resistance – and automotive style acrylic polyurethanes – that are softer with quick drying and easy to repair characteristics. One no longer has to choose between a hard to scratch, yet hard to repair polyester system and an easy to repair, yet easy to scratch acrylic based system. Alexseal provides a superior solution – designed from the molecular level on up – to excel in all marine applications.
Recently, Mankiewicz broke ground on a new “Ingenieurwerk”, or Engineering building, shining light on the company’s future growth and ongoing commitment to research, development and networking. With employee education and training in mind, this new facility will feature an environment that staff, affiliates and customers will thoroughly enjoy. Designed and engineered by Planwerk Elbe, the purpose of the “Ingenieurwerk” building is not only to have a growing space for Mankiewicz employees, but also to house close affiliate companies such as UMCO Umwelt Consult, who handles all of Mankiewicz’s safety data sheets and environmental compliance. A number of close Hamburg business allies will jointly utilize the facility’s new marketing and IT facilities, with companies in a variety of fields planning to move into these new premises. This collaborative co-working space will increase information flow between companies which will in-turn benefit customers due to the the network’s synergetic effect and increased efficiency.