UK heat management specialist Zircotec has secured its biggest ever single contract to supply an ultra-durable ceramic coating for the exhaust tail pipes of “a premium European supercar”.
The GBP1m contract is for a coating specified to protect nearby carbon fibre components from heat whilst providing a long lasting cosmetic finish that has been developed to suit the vehicle styling.
The components will be shipped from the specialist exhaust manufacturer to a facltory in Oxfordshire for the patented ceramic based coating to be applied. The parts are quality checked to agreed standards and shipped directly to the vehicle manufacturer for installation.
The ceramic coatings are plasma-sprayed, using a proprietary process originally developed for the nuclear industry, and the supplier claims they adhere more strongly than paint. The coating is in effect ‘welded’ in place, providing an effective thermal barrier as well as a cosmetically durable surface.
The coating is from Zircotec’s Ultimate Range and available in a range of colours and surface textures.
To ensure consistently high quality across a large production run, the supplier has improved its automated manufacturing processes for increased efficiency, shorter lead times, greater productivity and lower unit cost.
Zircotec group sales director Graeme Barette said: “Maintaining the long-term appearance of the tail pipe without the usual deterioration has a disproportionate effect on a car’s cosmetics, helping to prolong the showroom fresh look and distinguishing a premium vehicle from a more mainstream product.
“Having seen our successful previous applications on limited volume vehicles, the bigger manufacturers are now recognising the advantages of [our] coatings.”
Zircotec once part of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, based near Oxford. Its thermal barrier technology was originally developed for the nuclear industry and many of its scientists and engineers have remained with the company since its nuclear days.
Products include: plasma-sprayed thermal barrier coatings; exhaust system coatings; inlet manifold coatings; heat shield materials; wear resistant, anti-corrosion and aesthetic coatings; ceramic coatings and metal coatings for carbon composites and high-temperature plastics; and specialist plasma-sprayed ceramic products.
Auto industry customers include motorsport teams and vehicle manufacturers and other sectors include aerospace, marine, and oil and gas.