Paint Wetting Impairment Substances - Harmful to Paint Structures

What are Paint wetting impairment substances (generally abreviated as LABS)?

Contamination with substances that interfere with varnish or paint flow impairs the uniform distribution of paint and leads to defects in the new surface, the so-called craters.

These craters occur when the surface tension of the varnish is higher than that of the paint wetting impairment substance (LABS). For this reason, the industry places high demands on cleanliness.
Whether a substance can be described as disturbing the paint flow depends on its interaction with the paint system and its place of use.

According to the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association of Germany (VDMA) typical sources of LABS are:
• lubricants
• release agents and plasticizers from plastic components of plant engineering or workpieces
• drawing and lubricant residues
• hoses and sealing compounds
• contaminants that are distributed via room air technology, process air technology or a compressed air system
• carry-overs from other production areas
• operating and auxiliary materials such as cleaners, cleaning cloths, abrasives and polishing agents, adhesive tapes, gloves, work clothing or assembly devices

Employees can also introduce LABS contamination into production:
• cosmetics, skin care products, shampoo, hairspray, hair gel and dyes, eyeglass cleaner, deodorant, lipstick, after shave lotion, make-up and skin protection cream
• clothing (for example via impregnation) and shoe care products
• eating and drinking: fatty acid esters are contained in butter and fats, for example, drinking cups can carry release agents from the coffee machine, and
• plastic bracelets or jewellery, fitness trackers or smartphone cases

Possible effects:
LABS-caused defects not only look unattractive, they also impair the function of the varnish. For example, corrosion protection is limited.
To eliminate such defects, the components must be laboriously sanded, cleaned and repainted. This is often associated with a high workload and correspondingly high costs. In the worst case, the fault cannot be rectified. The parts are consequently of inferior quality or, depending on quality requirements, even rejects.

Order your LABS-free product

WALTHER attaches great importance to the trouble-free use of its products by the customer, including their LABS-free requirements. If required almost all products of the extensive WALTHER range can be certified as free of substances that interfere with the paint flow after passing our LABS-free test. The only exceptions are quick coupling systems with NBR seals. For customers with special requirements (e. g. for food compatibility / FDA) further restrictions apply.

We will be pleased to advise you.