Where did it all begin?

Nonstick coatings hit the selling floors in the early 1960s.

The first nonsticks were made primarily of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE has the lowest coefficient of friction (CoF) of any known solid. In other words, the majority of materials (in this case foodstuffs) do not stick to it.

PTFE's low CoF "releases" the materials, making it easy to separate them from the coating. Therefore, on nonstick pans, most substances are easily removed from the surface.

Unfortunately, PTFE is also very soft and, if unprotected, wears quickly. While early nonsticks had good release, they were soft and wore out after little use. The result: nonstick-coated cookware earned the reputation of being "disposable".
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The 3 Keys to Proper Coating Application

Losing Some Control

For those who have been in our industry a few years, you may remember a speech by Steve Forbes at the IHA industry breakfast in 2010. Mr. Forbes talked about our tax code in the United States. He said that if we took one American's tax information and had 10 different accountants prepare the tax return, we would get 10 different results - all within the boundaries of our tax code. This is similar to what we experience in the coating industry.

Coating companies have limited control once the coating is in the manufacturer's hands. While we all have programs to help vendors around the world if they have problems, the key is that they have to let us know they are having problems. We all tend to assume application is being done correctly, but some problems aren't always evident or immediately identified.

When a coating fails to perform the way it was designed to, the vast majority of the time it is because something went wrong during the application process. A misfiring gun, an oven not reaching the proper temperature, too much coating applied - all can happen without warning. The better the quality control, the more likely these discrepancies will be found.

Many factors play a role in proper coating application. Defects such as chipping, peeling, mud cracks, rapid wear and most important - since this is why you use a nonstick coating - poor nonstick performance, are usually the results of inferior surface preparation of the substrate, improper film thickness, or cure.


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