Updates and news on what we’ve been up to
Blocksil has seen a lot of interesting jobs and clients during our first ten years.
From supplying and applying anti-graffiti coating to the whole of Blackpool seafront through refurbishment of a military hanger to supply of high performance corrosion resistant coatings to the communications industry.
We developed the world’s first graphene enhanced corrosion resistant coating system and have solved numerous technical problems by use of our unrivaled coating and paint chemistry knowledge and know-how.
2022 looks set to be the year in which, via our distributors, our dominance of the industrial roof coating industry is cemented.
An exhibition and networking event with companies from across the rail industry.
Blocksil was engaged in a number of high value conversations, discussing our headline Graphene Enhanced corrosion resistant coatings as well as our new sub-one micron thick LiquaPol polish.
And, of course, we met up with friends new and old.
Blocksil exhibited at this annual Network Rail event at the National Railway Museum in York where we promoted our 25 year product warranty graphene enhanced corrosion resistant coatings.
In addition, we gave individual demonstrations on the effectiveness of our thermal range of coatings. These coatings will save energy and, when used on control boxes and cabinets, will improve the performance of the electrical and electronic equipment held within them.
Our coating solutions are perfect when minimal post coating maintenance is desired.
The railway carriage to left of our display was used by Queen Adelaide in the 1840’s. Married to King William IV, she was one of the first royals to travel by train. A trailblazer perhaps? An interesting location for the Blocksil stand given that we’re trailblazers when it comes to coating innovation and performance.
September 2021 and The British Made Awards 2021 programme has awarded Blocksil the Most Innovative Sustainable Coatings Company prize.
We are obviously pleased to have our approach to sustainability recognised. Although we are in a low profile industry whose products are often taken for granted (“it’s just paint, isn’t it?”), what Blocksil develops are innovative and quite often revolutionary coating and paint solutions for some very real problems. These problems could be water ingress causing electrical danger through asbestos encapsulation to stopping a fire.
We really are the people to talk to if you have a coating problem.
Blocksil shared our graphene enhanced coating experience with the rail industry, specifically the supply of high performance, 25 year product warranty coatings for REB refurbishment. Plus we introduced a few new coatings to gauge interest.
On Tuesday 7th, Andy Gent, Commercial Director at our graphene supplier, Applied Graphene Materials, gave a very well received presentation on the benefits of graphene for corrosion resistant coatings.
An excellent show all round with visits from existing and, hopefully, forthcoming clients. Some of the problems we were asked to help solve with our coatings were quite novel, but then, Blocksil’s reputation for innovation in coating design and supply is why people come to us.
And special thanks to our intern from Keele University, Bobbie, who excelled at identifying some new opportunities for us.
Everlast Rail, on behalf of Network Rail, have completed the first of two remote electrical boxes in the Coventry area. Using the unique Blocksil graphene enhanced corrosion resistant coating system, the refurbishment took a rusty trackside container and brought it up to “as good as new”. The on site Everlast Rail team found the coating system straightforward to use and completed the job without any issues.
The photographs above show the very poor condition of the roof (after it had been cleaned!) and one of the side walls. Then you can see the finished roof and sides after application of the Blocksil coatings.
Thanks to the use of graphene, Blocksil are offering a 25 year product warranty on the coatings.
On behalf of Highways England, Kier Highways recently carried out tests on a number of coatings and cleaning techniques to help address the scourge that is graffiti.
Blocksil was a part of these tests where our innovative solutions were put to the test. Specifically our anti-graffiti coating (which allows graffiti to be removed by cold water jet washing or even just by lifting it off with tape) and our T3 Graffiti Removal Gel.
The official Highways England video can be seen here.
Their press release can be read here.
At Blocksil we are here for the long term, which is just as well as some of our coatings need to be demonstrated and proven with real life testing.
So it is with our Anti-Fouling Coating. Although proven by others over many months, some clients need to see the evidence of their own eyes. In the late summer of 2020 we coated up sample panels of water grade GRP and submitted them for client testing.
Seen here after nine months under seawater, the coated face has no marine growth adhering to it. The small amount of seaweed simply brushes off, which suggests that on a moving boat the coating would be effectively self-cleaning. The uncoated face of the marine grade fibreglass is clearly encrusted.
Imagine the benefits and fuel saving a fully coated boat hull would generate…
If you’d like more information on the Blocksil Anti-Fouling Coating, please get in touch.
Towercom are one of Ireland’s oldest and longest-established independent wireless infrastructure providers.
With sites all over Ireland, they help network operators and partners serve their customers right across the country.
In order to achieve maximum longevity of their assets, the steel towers, Towercom have decided to use the Blocksil graphene enhanced corrosion resistant coating system. Applied by an approved applicator, the graphene enhanced coatings will last longer than other systems and hence reduce lifetime maintenance costs.
The Blocksil system comprises a Rust Converter, a graphene enhanced primer and a graphene enhanced top coat. This top coat is available in a range of colours.
After 8 months continuous immersion in sea water off the UK south coast, the untreated marine grade GRP is clearly supporting an extensive marine habitat.
Contrast this with the reverse side of the panel which has been coated with Blocksil Anti-Fouling Coating.
Note that our coating does not kill the marine life – it just prevents it attaching in the first place.
Contact us for more details.
Come and see us at Railtex in September 2021 at the NEC.
We’ll be able to update you on how well our graphene enhanced corrosion resistant coating is being received and we’ll be able to show you the very latest in insulating intumescent coatings.
Blocksil has been awarded the Coatings Design Specialist award in the Innovations & Excellence scheme.
The photograph shows our Chief Technical Officer Chris Knowles with the award certificate.
After a Covid induced delay, the communication tower and mast refurbishment season gets underway, and what better way than by using 21st Century coating technology.
An original idea from Blocksil, our graphene enhanced coatings now include primers as well as top coats. The benefit to awkward to access sites such as mountain tops is a significantly longer coating life and hence reduced future recoating. The extra cost of using Blocksil developed coatings is easily outweighed by future labour and material savings.
The photograph shows an Irish tower underway with Blocksil graphene coatings.
But what is graphene?
Graphene was first isolated in 2004 at The University of Manchester. They used sticky tape to remove single layers from the surface of graphite and deposit them onto a silicon wafer. The isolation of graphene was a breakthrough which ultimately won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics.
In its purest form graphene has a molecular structure comprising of a single layer of Carbon atoms bonded in a hexagonal structure. Graphene possesses an unsurpassed combination of mechanical, electrical and thermal properties. The graphene used in Blocksil’s corrosion resistant coating is manufactured using a synthetic, bottom up process that is repeatable, proven and almost completely free of graphitic impurities, Graphene Oxide or transition metals.
The number of atomic layers varies but our graphene typically has a 1 to 10 nanometre thickness with 1 to 15 microns lateral diameter, resulting in aspect ratios up to 1:1000.
To put this into perspective, the surface area of ten grams will cover a football pitch!
This large surface area provides an exceptionally long and tortuous path for any corrosive liquid to work its way through a coating.
Written by AGM’s Technical Team for Paint & Coatings Industry Magazine, you can read how graphene benefits protective coatings to give improved performance and lifetime.
Read the AGM article here.
Corporate LiveWire Innovation & Excellence Awards celebrate the success and achievements of leading companies who have stood out for being results driven, service focused and most importantly, have taken an innovative approach to demonstrate exceptional business performance.
During the awards process Corporate LiveWire invited over 90,000 businesses and corporate professionals, magazine contributors and subscribers to nominate companies and individuals based on factors such as service, innovation, experience, sustainability and other key criteria. Additionally, their research team put forward a selection of firms which they felt were deserving of recognition.
As a coatings innovator, developer and supplier we know we’re good at what we do, but it is always pleasing to be recognised.
Work commenced in mid November 2020 on railway trackside SSP’s with our world famous 10,000 hour salt spray Graphene Enhanced Top Coat.
SSP’s are essentially steel containers but they contain important electronic and electrical equipment for handling signals, points etc. Blocksil has specified and supplied the complete coating system, which includes our Rust Converter and high performance Primer as well as the Graphene Top Coat.
The application is being carried out by an approved applicator. The photos show two of the locations being worked upon.
On the outskirts of Lichfield, Blocksil’s home city, is the village of Whittington (population of under 3,000). Like most villages, towns and cities, it is not immune to graffiti, especially on road signs. Our Chief Technical Officer, who lives in the village, offered to coat the village name signs in one of our transparent anti-graffiti coatings. So now any graffiti will either not stick in the first place or it will wash off with water.
All Blocksil anti-graffiti coatings are permanent and one range is available in a number of colours.
Aside from our CTO, Whittington’s other claim to fame is as the burial site of Thomas Spencer, co-founder of Marks & Spencer plc. He died in 1905 and is buried at St Giles Church, Whittington. There has been a church at St. Giles since the 13th Century, though it was destroyed by fire in 1760. It was rebuilt in Georgian style using locally sourced sandstone.
Our Graphene Enhanced Top Coat MT has been on continuous salt spray testing for some months now. This week we went past the 11,800 hour mark with no corrosion, even with just 35 microns of coating.
Salt spray testing, ISO9227:2017, is particularly useful for detecting discontinuities such as pores and other defects in coatings. The testing is suitable for checking that the quality of a metallic substrate is maintained. We are going to run the tests to destruction / failure of the coating.
To give you a guide, most automotive paints are tested to 1,000 hours, with 5,000 hours being considered exceptional.
September 2020 and we take delivery of the first in our proposed fleet of Technical Support Vehicles.
As part of the technical support and development service we offer our clients, we often need to visit sites located around the UK. And as we need to have with us a wide range of PPE for the many industries we work with, plus samples, application and test equipment, having a suitable vehicle to travel in makes sense.
This first vehicle is going to be put to good use in the coming months as our clients and industry in general start to build after the Coronavirus lockdown.
Blocksil – always looking to the future.
Natalie Farrell, Awards Executive at SME News writes:
“First and foremost, I do hope you and your team are well.
Following on from your recent nomination in the 2020 Midlands Enterprise Awards, the judging panel have made their final decisions and I am delighted to inform you of the outcome! With absolute pleasure, I can confirm that Blocksil Limited has been named:
Most Innovative Energy Saving Coatings Design Company – UK
This prestigious award marks the hard work and stellar efforts of those who have helped shape this demanding and dynamic region, and our comprehensive selection and judging process singles out the true market leaders over the past year.
Once again, congratulations on your achievements this year.”
Mid-August 2020 and we supplied our Rust Converter and corrosion resistant coatings, free of charge, to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway. We supplied the coatings (having used our technical expertise to specify them) for the refurbishment of the railway crossing gates at Wirksworth Station, a heritage station that is part of the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in Derbyshire.
The gates were badly corroded and dirty, so after a high power jet wash to clean them up and remove any loose debris and rust, the rusty areas were treated with our highly commended Rust Converter. The Rust Converter converts Iron Oxides to Iron Phosphate which can then be overcoated.
The coating system chosen comprised a high build undercoat and a high solids Polyurethane top coat. And what a difference the coating has made to the gates.
Trust in Blocksil.
To achieve the highest possible level of safety in trains, all materials and components must meet strict fire protection requirements under EN 45545-2:2013. Different areas of the train are assigned different categories, or Requirement Sets. We have been subjected to tests to satisfy set R7, which covers the exterior. It should be noted that we are just about at the pass level for the more stringent R1 interior level.
There are three Hazard Levels (HL1 to HL3) with HL3 being the highest level. It makes the highest demands on the materials used. Blocksil Graphene Enhanced Top Coat MT has satisfied the requirements for HL3. The testing for EN 45545 includes spread of flame, heat release rate, smoke and toxicity.
The full report can be read here.
Note that we deliberately had the coating tested on top of fibre board so the fire testing was a test of the coating itself.
The Unit 4 Distillation Column at Haltermann Carless Harwich Refinery has just been reinstated after refurbishment.
Externally the column was stripped of its lagging, grit blasted and inspected before application of a Blocksil supplied high temperature paint system.
For more information, click here.
Although we at Blocksil know our coatings are good and do what they say, it is always good to get client feedback, especially with a new product.
The Blocksil Anti-Fouling Coating was applied to a privately owned yacht in June 2019 to assess the coating’s performance. The yacht owner took it out of the water in May this year. Did the coating work? Of course it did.
The yacht Frankie B 3 was lifted out of the water for jet wash and hull inspection on 27th May 2020. The marina boatyard operatives used a high pressure jet wash to remove dirt and fouling off the hull. The rudders were inspected and found to be in good clean condition. Using hot water and non-abrasive household cleaner the rudders were lightly freshened up with minimal physical manual effort. The final inspection revealed no reduction of the protective paint finish applied by Blocksil.
More can be read on the Case Studies page.
Avanti Communications plc is a world-leading provider of agile, secure and pioneering satellite technology across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Their sites around the world are often in remote or high humidity areas, which results in rapid rusting of the satellite dish structural steelwork. The conventional approach to painting has been used for years but rarely lasts 12 months in seaside or tropical locations. Working with a specialist coating contractor, Blocksil has provided a long term solution with it’s Graphene Enhanced Top Coat MT.
In combination with carefully chosen pre-coats, the Graphene enhanced Top Coat has a 15 year product warranty.
Building and Facilities News is proud to announce that Blocksil has been chosen to receive our Paint & Coatings Company of the Year award.
Our move into a new warehouse and sales office is now complete.
Unit 50 is a small, modern industrial unit located in the midlands and we look forward to welcoming clients and suppliers over the coming weeks, months and years.
Note that our registered office and postal address at Cathedral House, Lichfield remains the same.
…and saves Christmas.
The coating is designed to preserve the mural and the underlying brick by both penetrating into the brick and subsequently covering the mural. Thus any future attempts to add to the Banksy will be thwarted. And the coating will provide a barrier to weathering.
Blocksil has had an exciting 2019, with new products coming on stream, new projects and new clients.
The new clients we’ve taken on are requiring us to keep a buffer stock of their most commonly used coatings. And the new coatings we’ve got coming through for early 2020 are going to need increased laboratory space.
So when an industrial unit in the nearby town of Fazeley became available for us to rent, we jumped at the opportunity. Fazeley is within the District of Lichfield and dates back to the 12th Century, though these days is perhaps better known for Drayton Manor Theme Park.
Affording us with warehouse space, a dedicated laboratory and enough office space to set aside an area for a training / meeting room, this move is the next logical step in our development.
More information and photos will be made available when we move in ready for the start of 2020.
This accolade has been awarded by Building and Facilities News, an online magazine targeting the building and facilities industries.
The full article can be read here, with the introduction reprinted below:
“At Building and Facilities News we are dedicated to finding innovators and bringing them to our readers.
As a result, we’ve found a paint and coating supplier that sits at the centre of product development. Since its establishment Blocksil has remained unwaveringly committed to the innovation and rethinking of paint and coating solutions. Subsequently, the company has become a leading figure across a host of industries. For this, Building and Facilities News is happy to announce that Blocksil is our Paint and Coating Company of the Month.
Established in 2012 by current Chief Technical Officer Chris Knowles, Lichfield based Blocksil is a leading supplier of coatings and paints. The company offers industrial and commercial coating solutions to some of the nation’s most vital infrastructure organisations. Blocksil prides itself on developing solutions that work for the customer. The kind of customer facing approach that the company has adopted allows them to offer a uniquely broad spectrum of products and has garnered Blocksil a flawless reputation among both suppliers and customers.”
Distributed in the UK for metal roofs under the Alltimes Advantage brand name, our already high performance Top Coat MT metal roof coating has taken the next giant leap forward.
Alltimes Advantage Graphene is still the same lightweight, re-coatable roofing system that roofers have come to depend on, but the addition of graphene creates a ‘tortuous pathway’ for water molecules, oxygen and salt to pass through. Put simply, it forms a barrier that is virtually impenetrable, giving unparalleled protection for a metal roof against corrosion but without impairing the moisture curing properties.
In its purest form, graphene has a molecular structure comprising of a single layer of carbon atoms bonded in a hexagonal structure. It is 200 times stronger than steel and it is the thinnest known material in existence. It can vary in the number of atomic layers but it typically has a 1nm to 10nm thickness with 1µm to 15µm lateral diameter, resulting in aspect ratios of up to 1:1000 and surface areas up to 700m2/g. To put that into context, just 1g of graphene in this form has a total surface area of over 350m2!
The idea behind adding graphene to our roof coating came from Blocksil’s Chief Technical Officer. Subsequent collaboration with Applied Graphene Materials Ltd (Redcar, UK), who specialise in adapting particulate forms of graphene for dispersion into different materials, took us to a workable coating.
Applied Graphene Materials manufacture their graphene synthetically from sustainable sources and so achieve a very repeatable product. They do not start with graphite nor use any oxidation procedures during graphene production and therefore their graphene is almost completely free of graphitic impurities, graphene oxide or transition metals.
The Advantage Graphene system is the result of extensive product development and a rigorous testing programme. It has been successfully tested to ISO 9227:2017 neutral salt spray for 5,000 hours. This has ultimately produced a system that delivers an industry leading level of anti-corrosion performance and life expectancy for industrial and commercial roofs.
Due to its exceptional corrosion resistance performance, Advantage Graphene is being offered with an unparalleled 30 year product warranty.
June 2019 and the Porterbrook Innovation Hub was a resounding success.
The Innovation Hub was a stationary train that Porterbrook had taken out of service and made over. Companies were invited to submit innovation products to Porterbrook and 25 were selected to display these products. Blocksil was one of those chosen.
On our stand within the Innovation Hub train we displayed our easy clean coating CleanProtect and our thermal dissipation coating Therma-Light. Both coatings were well received with most interest being shown in Therma-Light.
The formal reports from the UK testing house BRE have been issued (July 2019) and can be read by clicking the test name below. We’ve created a summary here.
In short, Top Coat MT will not ignite, even when preheated.
The appointment of the hugely experienced business manager and coatings expert Marc Zirkle to manage and run Blocksil USA is a big step forward for Blocksil.
For many years Marc ran several coating plants across the Eastern USA for the Impreglon Group (latterly Aalberts) after a very successful career as a business development manager.
With a degree in accounting and an MBA, Marc’s coating experience and knowledge is unrivalled.
Blocksil USA will be stocking product ready to sell direct to clients.
Ably assisted by his office manager Lynn Young (herself an experienced coating specialist), Marc has already supplied Blocksil hybrid roof coatings to a major contractor working on a power station workshop roof.
The full Blocksil coatings range will be available from Blocksil USA.
Marc’s cell number is (+1) 404 368 0892 and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Blocksil successfully exhibited at the UK Concrete Show on March 20th and 21st and we showed off our Power Floated Concrete Sealer.
We had a sealed screeded panel on display on which we placed beetroot & vinegar as well as engine oil. The unsealed screed was permanently stained but the sealed screed resisted the efforts of the vinegar and oil to penetrate it.
Also on display was one of our other concrete products, a transparent coating that impregnated the screed by 10mm to 15mm. This impregnation allows the concrete screed to breathe yet prevents moisture from entering the screed, thus preventing algae and dirt build up.
Blocksil announced on March 1st 2019 the appointment of Alltimes Coatings as the UK distributor of our latest generation high performance, hybrid roof coating system.
Fully overcoatable, this system is the next generation of pitched roof, flat roof and gutter coating, moving on from the system we introduced to the UK roof coating market a couple of years ago. Both moisture tolerant and surface tolerant, the system can even be used to recoat over worn out silicone roof coatings.
The flat roof and gutter coatings are usually supplied with fibre reinforcement for added tear strength.