Instead of relying on outside testing facilities, where it is more difficult and expensive to constantly monitor results, the test fence allows a higher level of accuracy and diligence.
Valspar has a motto, “Test, test, and test again.” This approach is paramount in creating coatings that stand the test of time against UV light, heat, and humidity–providing excellent durability.
Valspar’s test fence in Fort Myers, Fla., contains more than 100,000 weather test panels, and makes the motto a reality. “We have an extensive program of evaluating our coatings before they go to market, and after market, as a way to assist our customers,” explains Pete Jung, Technical Manager for coil coatings at Valspar.
Samples are placed on a rack, typically at a 45-degree angle, facing south to ensure full UV exposure. Samples can remain on the test fence for years to show long-term durability. This natural exposure testing yields some of the most useful and accurate information possible on how heat, UV light, and humidity impact coating durability and performance.
Having its own testing facilities allows for more rapid innovation and greater attention to detail. Instead of relying on outside testing facilities, where it is more difficult and expensive to constantly monitor results, the test fence allows a higher level of accuracy and diligence.
“We can monitor test panels much more frequently,” says Jung. “This way, we can do the testing ourselves, and document the process in a more detailed manner.”
Although 100,000 test panels sounds quite extensive, Jung says that many products are weeded out by utilizing special accelerated environmental cabinets that speed up the weathering process and show the effects of extreme conditions. This screening process minimizes the number of non-value add materials that get placed on the test fence, helping to encourage innovation.