Improve your Quality

Services from A to Z

Search all services

Area of competence
Standard
Abrasion testing

The material abrasion test is used to determine the quality of anodic oxidation coatings. The coating quality crucially depends on the sealing of the pores in the anodic oxidation coating. The test specimen is immersed in an acid solution where the extent of the abrasion ('weight loss') in the acid defines a measure for the existing quality of the anodised coating.

Details and contact
Accelerated weathering test; UV lamps

For this accelerated weathering test, the specimens are placed in a chamber with a UV lamp (UV-A, UV-B). After exposure to UV light and humidity in cyclical alternation, the colour and gloss stability of organic and metallic surfaces as well as those of textiles are examined.

Details and contact
Accelerated weathering test; Xenon lamps in acc. with DIN EN ISO 16474-2, DIN EN ISO 4682-2, PV 3930 and PV 3929

Accelerated weathering tests are counted among the artificial forms of weathering. These tests examine the destruction of the surface of plastics or coatings using filtered Xenon arc radiation in connection with cyclic spraying or flooding with deionised water. This is also known as the 'sun test' and is used to determine the weathering resistance of coating materials in outdoor areas.

Details and contact
Adhesion test in acc. with DIN EN ISO 2409

The cross-cut test method is used for coating thicknesses of less than 250 μm.

After cutting through the paint layer down to the substrate at fixed intervals, the adhesion can be evaluated using a special cross-cut tester with single-blade or multi-blade cutting tools. A cross-cut characteristic value of 0 is the best result at which no detachment has taken place and a characteristic value of 5 is the worst result where the paint film of the grid has completely flaked off.

Details and contact
Admittance measurement in acc. with DIN EN ISO 2931

The apparent conductance measurement is used to test the sealing quality of anodised aluminium. For this, an alternating current is applied to the aluminium base material, and the conductivity between it and an electrolyte measuring cell on the anodised layer is measured. 

Details and contact
Bend test in acc. with DIN EN ISO 1519

The mandrel bend test is used to determine the tensile strength and the adhesive strength of a coating consisting of paint, coating material or similar products on a metallic substrate by bending the test specimen around a cylindrical mandrel. The coating is then visually examined by means of a 10x magnifying glass to determine if the coating shows cracks or is detaching from the substrate. When examined with the naked eye, the coating must not show any cracking or flaking. According to the specifications, the mandrel bend test can be executed with different bending radii.

Details and contact
Certification for metal construction companies in accordance with DIN EN 1090

We certify metal construction companies in accordance with DIN EN 1090. Our inspectors check the factory production control systems of metalworking businesses both nationally and internationally. 

European standard DIN EN 1090 defines the requirements for assessing the conformity of steel and aluminium load-bearing components and kits that are being brought onto the market as construction products. The conformity assessment covers manufacturing characteristics and, if required, load-bearing characteristics.

Details and contact
Certification of coating companies using liquid painting in accordance with DIN EN ISO 12944

The IFO certification body provides impartial and independent monitoring services for coating companies working with liquid painting processes. Certification is carried out in annual inspections in accordance with DIN EN ISO 12944. DIN EN ISO 12944 Parts 1–9 deal with the corrosion protection of steel structures by protective paint systems. The different parts consider all the essential aspects that have a role to play in providing appropriate corrosion protection. 

Details and contact
Certification of galvanisation companies in accordance with ISO 1461

To ensure that construction products are properly galvanised when they are manufactured, we certify companies in accordance with ISO 1461. This standard specifies the general properties of coatings and test methods for coatings applied by dipping fabricated iron and steel articles (including certain castings) in a zinc melt.

Details and contact
Certification of hot-dip galvanisation companies in accordance with DASt Guideline

In our capacity as a general building testing and inspection centre, we carry out certifications in accordance with DASt Guideline 022. Our inspectors check more than 200 galvanisation businesses both nationally and internationally, conferring a certificate of conformity that comes together with the Ü-mark.

Details and contact
Certification of powder coating companies in accordance with DIN 55633

The IFO certification body provides impartial and independent monitoring services for powder coating companies. DIN 55633 describes the corrosion protection of steel structures by powder coating systems. It covers powder coating materials and systems for different environmental conditions, surface preparation and pre-treatment, expected period of protection, laboratory tests to assess systems and the execution and monitoring of coating work.

Details and contact
Cleaning work or site measurements

If facades need to be cleaned, we can provide experts familiar with the appropriate types of cleaning work. One of our particular areas of expertise is drafting specifications that reflect the state of the art and contain concrete requirements and agreements, as is also taking detailed site measurements of the facade area. Any shadow gaps, glass surfaces and areas covered by Venetian blinds that require cleaning are recorded separately, so the actual costs involved can be calculated as precisely as possible. The Institute can also lend a hand when it comes to awarding contracts for and monitoring any cleaning work. Acting on behalf of the Gütegemeinschaft Reinigung von Fassaden e.V. (GRM, the Quality Association for Facade Cleaning, see www.grm-online.de), we independently monitor the work carried out by facade cleaning companies that hold the GRM quality mark.

Details and contact
Cleanliness analysis

IFO usually carries out technical cleanliness analyses on automotive components. These components are first cleaned with appropriate cleaning agents. This is followed by an analysis of the contamination in accordance with the required standards, which can be carried out gravimetrically as well as by particle counting.

Details and contact
Climate test in acc. with PV 1200, PV 2005-A, PTL 8140, BMW PR 303.5, DBL 5471 and DBL 5416

The test comprises different climatic conditions in order to simulate various environments. The test specimens are exposed to wide temperature variations and variations in air humidity while analysing the resistance of the coatings.

Details and contact
Coating research

Benefit from our experience by taking a systematic approach to development projects. Chemists, material scientists and surface engineers all work on your assignment together. If the idea behind the project is an innovative one, we can look into public funding opportunities; we are familiar with applying for ZIM funding – the German government's central innovation programme for small and medium-sized enterprises. We are particularly experienced in taking on science-focussed research and development work in conjunction with an SME partner. We are masters at communicating and transferring knowledge purposefully between the trades and the sciences.

Details and contact
Colour measurement in acc. with DIN EN ISO 11664-4

The colourimetry is measured with a special device. This device displays colour numbers that can be assigned to a unique colour. The measurement can be carried out using two classes of instrument with different measuring arrangements. The 45°/0° geometry uses 45° circumferential illumination and a 0° view perpendicular to the same plane, which takes the surface structure into account. In the d/8° geometry, the sample is illuminated diffusely by means of an Ulbricht sphere. 

Details and contact
Condensation water atmosphere in acc. with DIN EN ISO 6270-1 and DIN EN ISO 6270-2

The condensation water test is used to determine the behaviour of coatings under defined climatic conditions, examining the resistance of coatings in a humid environment. The test can be performed in two different modes: constant humidity or condensation water with alternating atmosphere.

Details and contact
Condensation water atmosphere test with 0.2 l or 2.0 l sulphur dioxide in acc. with DIN EN ISO 3231 or DIN 50018 (Kesternich)

Developed by Wilhelm Kesternich in 1951, the Kesternich test examines the corrosion behaviour of metallic or non-metallic coatings under the influence of sulphur dioxide. The test specimens are placed in a chamber with warm, humid air in combination with sulphur dioxide and left there for a defined time. The corrosion behaviour of the sample is then analysed.

Details and contact
Corrosion protection and coating consultancy services

We can help you to protect your metal components from corrosion. More than 800 companies all over the world value our wide-ranging expertise; for example, we can recommend the right coating system for your particular area of application, draft text templates for invitations to tender or qualify coatings that have already been applied. 

Details and contact
Corrosion protection for new construction projects

Where new construction projects are concerned, the individual parties agree to a whole host of technical corrosion protection requirements as well as visual and aesthetic demands. An inspection and monitoring programme is often defined in this context too. Our inspectors are experts in all areas of organic coating and galvanisation. They check the quality of the coating both on the coating company premises and at the building site itself in accordance with the agreed guidelines and tenders.

Details and contact
Corrosion tests in artificial atmospheres – Salt spray tests in acc. with DIN EN ISO 9227/ASTM B 117

The salt spray test is used to determine the corrosion behaviour of metallic or non-metallic components (e.g. coating materials) at an accelerated rate. For this purpose, a corrosive atmosphere is created in a chamber by spraying a sodium chloride solution (NSS test). The corrosivity of the spray medium can be intensified by adding acetic acid (AASS test) and copper chloride (CASS test) to the sodium chloride solution.

Details and contact
Cupping test in acc. with DIN EN ISO 1520

The Erichsen cupping test is used to examine the deep-drawability of coatings made of paint or similar material. A die is pressed onto the sheet metal plate until a crack develops or the coating flakes off the metallic substrate. The deformation due to cupping is carried out under standardised conditions.

Details and contact
Customised product certification

Certification of products and their quality in accordance with impartial and independent standards or custom-developed certification programmes.

Details and contact
Cyclic corrosion test (CCT)

Cyclic Corrosion Testing (CCT) has been developed for the simulation of real-world corrosion failures under accelerated laboratory conditions and is mainly used within the automotive industry. The testing includes different climatic conditions and corrosive atmospheres in order to simulate various environments.

The tests are carried out in accordance with VDA 621-415, DIN EN ISO 11997-1, DIN EN ISO 60068-2-52, PV 1209 and PV 1210.

Details and contact
Pressure water-jetting test based on DIN EN ISO 16925

During the pressure water-jetting test, a coated surface is tested for its resistance to high-pressure cleaners. For this, the coating is scribed and then exposed to a water jet with defined parameters. The coating must not flake off during the test.

Details and contact
Dye-spot test in acc. with DIN EN ISO 2143:2018

The dye-spot test is used to determine the quality of the sealing process of anodised aluminium. The sample is exposed to an acid and then coloured with a dye. If the dye cannot be easily removed, it is an indication for pores in the anodised layer, which have not been sufficiently sealed.

Details and contact
Existing facades: assessing and evaluating the condition of facade surface finishes

By having our experts assess and determine the condition of an existing facade, you can decide whether professional yet economical cleaning will suffice or whether you need to renovate. Our recommendations therefore often help to save considerably on costs and achieve the best possible result. 

Details and contact
Expert opinions for courts

We provide expert opinions for local, regional and higher regional courts throughout Germany. We have access to sworn, publicly appointed experts in the following specialist fields:

  • Materials science
  • Electrochemistry
  • Corrosion protection coatings for metals
  • Corrosion protection coatings for plastics
  • Corrosion protection coatings for fibre composite materials
Details and contact
Expert opinions on materials and components with and without coatings

Our expertise means that we are able to understand and assess complex relationships. This means we can provide you with the best possible support on any issues you may have, whether by producing a party expert opinion or by acting as an arbitrator or technical expert.

Details and contact
Expert reports

Expert reports are drawn up to pinpoint the facts of a case, similar to the process for dealing with damage claims. In the majority of cases, problems will already have been looked into in advance and proposed solutions will have been explained in writing, based on our colleagues' expertise. We would be happy to set out our expert reports, either in the form of a speech or a training session, on your site or here on our premises.

Details and contact
Falling sand abrasion test in acc. with ASTM D968

The falling sand test is used to determine the resistance of organic coatings to abrasion from abrasive falling onto a coating applied to a flat, rigid surface.

Details and contact
Dye-spot test in acc. with DIN EN ISO 2143:2018

The dye-spot test is used to determine the quality of the sealing process of anodised aluminium. The sample is exposed to an acid and then coloured with a dye. If the dye cannot be easily removed, it is an indication for pores in the anodised layer, which have not been sufficiently sealed.

Details and contact
Filiform corrosion test in acc. with DIN EN ISO 4623-2/DIN EN 3665

This test is used to evaluate the protective effect of coatings on aluminium against filiform corrosion. For the test, scratches are made down to the substrate of a test specimen. After that, the test specimen is placed in a test chamber that is vaporised with hydrochloric acid for a certain period of time and under certain conditions. Alternatively, hypochloric acid can also be dripped onto the scratch. After 1,000 hours in a climate chamber with constant parameters, the resulting corrosion creep is evaluated.

Details and contact
General technical approvals

To ensure that construction products are properly made, we monitor companies according to general technical approval requirements. We are authorised to confer the Ü-mark of conformity and issue General Building Inspection Certificates concerning the application of corrosion-resistant construction products.

The IFO Institute for Surface Engineering is a DIBt-recognised building control testing and inspection centre.

Details and contact
Gloss measurement in acc. with DIN EN ISO 2813

The reflectometer is used to measure the gloss value of a coating with standardised measuring geometries. The reflectometer value of high-gloss surfaces is between 90 and 100 units while the value of glossy surfaces is between 70 and 90. If the value is between 30–70 units, it is called silk gloss or silk matt. The matt range starts at a reflectometer value of < 30.

Details and contact
GSB quality checks

The GSB AL 631 Quality Regulations apply to the coating of components made from aluminium and its alloys, which are used in structural engineering. The GSB ST 663 Quality Regulations apply to non-galvanised steel surfaces, continuously hot-dip coated flat steel (EN 10346) and hot-dip galvanised steel (ISO 1461, single-piece galvanisation) used in structural engineering.

 

Details and contact
Impact test in acc. with DIN EN ISO 6272-2 /ASTM D2794

The impact test is used to examine the resistance, ductility and tensile strength of a coating from paint, coating material or similar. The indenter falls from variable heights onto the test specimen and the test specimen is then examined for cracks or flaking.

Details and contact
Indentation in acc. with DIN EN ISO 2815

The film hardness of a single-layer or laminated coating structure is determined by the indentation test according to Buchholz. The indenter is positioned shock-free on the horizontally aligned surface of the organic coating to be tested and taken off again after a test period of 30 seconds. The length of the lens-shaped indentation mark in the paint film is determined and, from this, the indentation resistance according to Buchholz can be calculated.

Details and contact
Investigation of damage claims

Analysing damage and defects, identifying what caused them and using that information to come up with ways of improving things in future all fall within the Institut für Oberflächentechnik's remit. Whether a galvanised screw has sustained a brittle fracture or the paint on a steel girder is discolouring after just a few months, we can take these defective products and investigate the damage using a range of analysis techniques. We will deal with your damage claims or complaints quickly and purposefully, be it on the construction site, in the production plant or based on samples you provide to us.

Details and contact
Impact test in acc. with DIN EN ISO 6272-2 /ASTM D2794

The impact test is used to examine the resistance, ductility and tensile strength of a coating from paint, coating material or similar. The indenter falls from variable heights onto the test specimen and the test specimen is then examined for cracks or flaking.

Details and contact
Machu test
machuttest

In the Machu test, a cross cut is applied to the coating of a test specimen. After that, the test specimen is exposed to a test solution of sodium chloride and hydrogen peroxide for 48 hours. The corrosion behaviour can be determined by the corrosion creep at the cross cut.

Details and contact
Maintenance of steel and aluminium structures

A successful construction project requires regular maintenance and repair work. Where this affects coating/corrosion protection systems, such work is regularly supervised and monitored by our inspectors on site. 

Details and contact
Martindale test in acc. with DIN CEN/TS 16611

The Martindale test was originally used to quantify the abrasion resistance of textiles or furniture. Since 2020, it has also been used as part of the QUALICOAT approvals to determine the abrasion resistance of powder coatings. An abrasive pad is moved across the samples in a defined pattern. Afterwards, the gloss is measured and compared with an undamaged sample.

Details and contact
Material investigations

If a component/metal behaves unexpectedly by exhibiting corrosion, breakage or deformation, for example, material compositions often need to be investigated or metal alloys have to undergo structural examinations. State-of-the-art equipment enables us to deal with such issues quickly. We can examine the structure of stainless steel grades or the chemical purity of aluminium alloys, for instance.

Details and contact
Materialography

This procedure is used to make the structure of a metal or plastic visible through specified grinding and polishing as well as through subsequent finishing procedures, e.g. etching. It can also be used for the determination of very thin layers. The evaluation is usually carried out under an optical microscope with the respective magnification.

Details and contact
Monitoring execution

Our inspectors are experts in all areas of organic coating. We have DIN-certified coating inspectors as well as FROSIO and NACE inspectors who can monitor how coating work is executed for you.

Details and contact
Monitoring of coating companies in accordance with DBS 918340

All suppliers to Deutsche Bahn who are involved with powder coating must have their factory production control systems monitored. 

Coating companies must qualify as suppliers according to the Deutsche Bahn standard (DBS) in order to provide Deutsche Bahn with powder-coated exterior and interior parts made of aluminium and steel alloys for rail vehicles. The monitoring of the company's factory production control systems is a requirement of this qualification.

Details and contact
Monitoring of factory production control systems in accordance with DIN EN 1090

As a notified body under the Construction Products Regulation (EU CPR), the IFO certification body carries out impartial and independent monitoring of coating companies. By having their processes checked and monitored, businesses are not only able to ensure consistent quality, they also benefit from a competitive advantage. The DIN EN 1090 series of standards includes requirements for surface treatment and corrosion protection, as well as for the application and monitoring of the coating and the material used. These processes must match the component specification. The coating company must establish factory production control systems that meet all the requirements of DIN EN 1090 and has to prove that the corrosion protection system used is appropriate for fulfilling the demands of the specified corrosivity category and period of protection. 

Details and contact
Pistol test in acc. with DIN ISO 4532

For the pistol test, a ball made from hardened steel is shot onto the surface of the sample with a defined force. The coating is then checked for cracks or flaking.

Details and contact
Mortar test in acc. with DIN EN 12206-1

The mortar test is a resistance test for organic coatings to mortar. As mortar is a strongly alkaline material, it is important to verify that the paint layer will not be damaged. The test is mostly used in building construction and the facade area. It is evaluated according to QUALICOAT, GSB and AAMA.

Details and contact
Notified Body under the Construction Products Regulation (EU CPR)

The IFO Institute is a notified and accredited certification body in accordance with the EU Construction Products Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 listed in NANDO under NB number 2458.

In order to be notified under the EU CPR, an organisation must be accredited in accordance with EN ISO/IEC 17065 and/or EN ISO/IEC 17025 by the German national accreditation body (Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS)).

We certify metal construction companies in accordance with EN 1090.

Details and contact
Pencil hardness in acc. with DIN EN ISO 15184/ASTM D3363

This test method covers a procedure for rapid, inexpensive determination of the film hardness of an organic coating on a substrate by using pencil leads of known hardness.

Details and contact
Pistol test in acc. with DIN ISO 4532

For the pistol test, a ball made from hardened steel is shot onto the surface of the sample with a defined force. The coating is then checked for cracks or flaking.

Details and contact
Pressure water-jetting test based on DIN EN ISO 16925

During the pressure water-jetting test, a coated surface is tested for its resistance to high-pressure cleaners. For this, the coating is scribed and then exposed to a water jet with defined parameters. The coating must not flake off during the test.

Details and contact
Pull-off test in acc. with DIN EN ISO 4624

In contrast to the cross-cut for coating thicknesses, the pull-off test is used for coating thicknesses of more than 250 μm. This test method is used to examine the adhesive strength of coatings. A die is bonded to the surface and pulled off the test specimen after the curing process is complete. The force required for this is measured.

Details and contact
QUALANOD quality checks

The QUALANOD international quality label is aimed at companies involved in anodising aluminium for use in architectural and industrial applications where both appearance and long life are important. This global mark of quality is designed to safeguard high standards when it comes to the oxidation of aluminium and its alloys. The QUALANOD Specifications define requirements for sulphuric acid anodising and for products manufactured that way.

Details and contact
QUALICOAT quality checks

The QUALICOAT international quality label is aimed at companies involved in coating aluminium and aluminium alloys for use in architectural applications. We monitor member organisations all over the world to ensure compliance with this global mark of quality.

Details and contact
QUALIDECO quality checks

The QUALIDECO international quality label is aimed at companies involved in decorative coatings. IFO makes sure that participating companies comply with the QUALIDECO quality regulations. As part of these quality checks, our inspectors not only review the comprehensive programme of self-auditing and documentation measures, they also take profiles and subject them to the prescribed corrosion tests in our own QUALIDECO-approved laboratory.

Details and contact
QUALISTEELCOAT quality checks

QUALISTEELCOAT is an international mark of quality for organic steel coatings.

Details and contact
QUALISTRIP – European quality association for industrial stripping of metals and plastics

The QUALISTRIP international quality mark is aimed at companies involved in the industrial stripping of metals, plastics, wood and other materials.

Details and contact
Qualitätsgemeinschaft Industriebeschichtung e.V. (QIB, Quality Association for Industrial Coatings)

The QIB quality mark is aimed at industrial companies involved in coating aluminium, steel and galvanised steel using powder coating, cathodic dip painting and liquid coating methods.

Details and contact
REM / EDX analysis

A scanning electron microscope examination (SEM) can be used to highly magnify the surface of a test specimen. A fine electron beam scans the surface following a specified pattern. This process is called 'screening'. During the screening, the interaction of the electrons with the object is used to produce an image. These images are depictions of the object surface. The energy-dispersive X-ray micro analysis (EDX) is a form of electron microscopy that is used to examine the chemical composition of a test specimen.

Details and contact
Resistance tests in acc. with DIN EN ISO 2812/TL 212

Resistance tests are used to test coatings for their resistance to chemicals, operating materials and cleaning agents. This includes the alkali resistance test in accordance with TL 212.

Details and contact
Scratch resistance test in acc. with DIN EN ISO 1518-1

During the scratch resistance test, a standardised pointed tip is moved over the surface of a coating with constant pressure. Depending on the requirements, the pointed tip must not reach the substrate or leave an indentation track behind.

Details and contact
Stone chip test based on DIN EN ISO 20567-1

The stone chip resistance of organic coatings is of particular interest for the automotive industry. For stone chip simulation, chilled iron grit is blasted onto the surface under defined conditions, as the severity of the impact depends crucially on the adjusted pressure and distance. The stone chip resistance is assessed using standardised comparative patterns.

Details and contact
Surface texture assessment in acc. with DIN EN ISO 4287

Surface texture measuring is used to measure the roughness of blasted or swept (with less pressure than blasting) metallic surfaces.

Details and contact
Test for colour fastness

To examine their light fastness, the test specimens are placed in a chamber equipped with a Xenon lamp. After their exposure to light, the extent of colour fade of the exposed test specimens is evaluated by means of the grey scale in comparison with an unexposed reference sample.

Details and contact
Thermal shock resistance in acc. with DIN EN ISO 2819 section 4.12

The thermal shock test is mostly used to check the adhesion of galvanic coatings. The sample is heated to a high temperature and quenched in water. The coating must not have any cracks or flakings.

Details and contact
Thickness measurement in acc. with DIN EN ISO 2360 and DIN EN ISO 2178

The magnetic inductive procedure is an electromagnetic method for the non-destructive determination of the thickness of magnetically neutral coatings on magnetic substrates such as steel. The magnetic forces change according to the coating thickness. This effect is measured and directly converted into coating thickness on the measuring instrument.

For non-magnetic substrates, the eddy current method is used.

Details and contact