Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cerakote: Isn't it supposed to be ceramic?



We at Lauer Custom Weaponry take pride in knowing that the products we make and sell are exactly what we claim them to be. We make no claims about our products that cannot be proven. As Steve Lauer the founder and inventor of DuraCoat® always says, “All products perform as advertised.” We say our product is a urethane and it is a urethane. We also never intend to make negative comments towards other companies, even those so called competitors that constantly knock down other makers of firearm finishes. The purpose of this blog post is not meant to dissuade you from purchasing products other than DuraCoat® and it is NOT meant to degrade another company. We want to make this clear before we start.  This post is meant to inform you, as a person interested in firearm refinishing products, that you have not been told the truth and have been fed misleading information by another “maker” of firearm finishes.

That company is NIC Industries, the “creators” of Cerakote Gun Coatings. The information provided here only applies to their H-Series coating which is currently being sold as a firearm finish. Findings do not apply to any other product produced by NIC although we will be analyzing those in the future.  Exhaustive research has been completed to verify this information before release.

Cerakote H-Series Firearm Coating, as the name implies, is marketed as a ceramic coating. Their current SDS (Safety Data Sheet), as of 9/8/15, describes this product as a “Heat Curable Polymer-Ceramic Composite Coating.”  Statements such as “The foundation for Cerakote H-Series coatings is a unique ceramic technology” can be found in their literature and has become a major selling point for this coating. Below is a copy of their Technical Data Sheet for this coating with this statement highlighted.



Well, we hate to break it to you but Cerakote H-Series contains little, if any, ceramic.

A sample of Cerakote H-Series in Graphite Black was sent to a lab for analysis. The analysis broke down the components for identification. The test concluded that Cerakote is basically an epoxy resin suspended in a solvent. This test measured down to 1% and no ceramic was detected. The current SDS does list “Ceramic and/or Metallic pigments or colorants” but that is a far cry from a ceramic foundation.

A copy of the lab results are posted here. At the request of the lab, names and identifying information have been redacted. 

Cerakote Analysis Page 1
Cerakote Analysis Page 2
Cerakote Analysis Page 3













Now, an epoxy coating is not inherently a bad thing.  Epoxies can be used in a variety of environments and hold up very well. So, why might Cerakote be misleading customers into believing their coating is ceramic rather than an epoxy? Stay tuned for our analysis of that...

You may be asking yourself, “why did DuraCoat® go to the trouble of having Cerakote tested”? Well, honestly, we never actually paid that much attention to them and we probably should have. We discovered last fall that NIC Industries/Cerakote was using our DuraCoat® and Lauer™ trademarks in Google ads to draw potential customers to their website. Basically, they were running “bait and switch” ads with headings like “Buy DuraCoat Here” and “Lauer DuraCoat” followed by the Cerakote website link. This caused us to investigate their website further and we discovered several things that seemed amiss. A lawsuit and settlement soon followed which leads us to today. We decided that the fraud can no longer go unknown. Stay tuned as we continue to unravel the web of deceit.

38 comments:

  1. well, maybe cerakote isn't ceramic. i'd prefer to see it sent to an independent lab, or maybe a few so the sample size in terms of results wasn't so low, but otherwise...

    do i really care if "dura" or "cera" is in the nomenclature? nope.

    i care how it applies and lasts. H series smokes duracoat. period. when the next big product to come out does a better job, i'll institute it for my customers. until then i'll stick with the product that wears better long term. thus far that has been cerakote for me over duracoat, norrellls, kg, etc.

    ymmv of course...

    -michael

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading our post! The analysis presented in this post was conducted by one of the leading chemical analysis companies in the nation. The intention of this post was not to discourage people from using other products, it was meant to inform the public of the results of the analysis.

      We would be more than happy to help you discover why your experience with DuraCoat was not what it should be. Please contact us via email or phone so we can help.

      Delete
  2. I started using duracoat about 5-6 yrs ago. I switched to cerakote 3 yrs ago, i thought ceramic and a higher price would yield a better product, not true ive since switched back to DURACOAT , with two of my own guns glock 29 and model 30 , one duracoated, one cerakoted.. I also did the same with two subguns with suppressors, using both high temp finishes. No real wear on either inside or out on SMG, the glock30 does have some mark on the inside and holster wear marks on outside, this is regular wear and tear, but prepped properly, sprayed on correctly, then clear coated, and cured. The DURACOATED guns won, hands down. I know people bash each other, but the proof is in the pudding. Good products Mr Lauer. Louis r. Florida

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have never used Cerakote and after reading this I wouldn't, even if it was better than Duracoat. I would say "sue those misleading bastards" but it appears you already did.

    Looks like michael needs to learn about surface prep.

    Crodaddie

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have used Duracoat,Cerakote, and kg gunkote on hundreds of firearms in the past 5 years. If applied correctly Cerakote is a far superior product no matter what it is made of. They are the market leader because their products are the best in the industry, they have the best training program in the industry, and their support is the best in the industry. I would suggest your resources are better spent trying to address your own shortcomings in the above areas instead of nitpicking another companys marketing. Or having samples tested trying to backward engineer a far superior product. Why else would a company spend thousands of dollars to have a competitors product tested? If duracoat is paying to have the industry leaders product tested, it isnt a stretch to believe the results may be skewed. If I was a shareholder I would be furious to know resources were being spent testing another companys products. Did you ever consider your comments may affect alot of applicators, some of which use your products as well?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The information presented in this blog post was not meant to dissuade the reader from purchasing other products. The post was simply meant to inform readers who are interested in firearm refinishing products of the results of an independent laboratory analysis. We appreciate your comments and are happy to hear that you are satisfied with the products you currently use.

      Delete
  6. I personally have never used Cerakote, yet when I first started looking into offering a spray on finish better than 5 years ago my research was supportive of Duracoat. I found that any of the problems people were having with their finish was directly linked back to how the firearm was prepped and handled after said prepping, that being said I could find nothing explaining why some people were having trouble with the Cerakote finish... So Duracoat has been my finish of choice from start till now and I can say that I have had wonderful customer support and have several dozen firearms under my belt with repeat happy customers. I do know that any product no matter what it is if not handled correctly (a.e. firearms prepped, and sprayed) the results will be less than satisfactory. Keep up the good work Lauer I am glad that I chose your product, and your years of service into developing the product shows every time I use it or call with a technical question.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Maybe you did this test because Cerakote appears to outperform your product in tests, and you needed some dirt to attack them with.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have used Cerakote, Moly Resin, Gun Kote and Duracoat. My personal results led to Duracoat. We are happy with duracoat and use it on all of our builds and offer duracoat services, that has grown into a full time business. We have enough enemies outside of our industry, we really need to stop back stabbing and bashing each other in the industry. Thank you Lauer's you offer a great product and you have made our business what it is today.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Talc (present in the sample, as shown by lab results) is a ceramic material.

    http://digitalfire.com/4sight/material/talc_1620.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Talc is a mineral. It is commonly used in ceramics such as tile or dishes. In paints and coatings it is generally used in the pigment. DuraCoat also contains Talc.

      Delete
  10. Talc is in almost every paint on earth, including watercolors. That being said, I'm not going to use my Finding Nemo paint by numbers paints, on my ol AK!!! Then again.........?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have been using both Duracote and Cerakote for several years and find little difference in wear. It's my opinion that Duracote has remained silent long enough after years of NIC smashing them. Time to fight fire with fire.

    I would like to ask a question of Duracoat in regards to the to it being Polan T or something similar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to post on our blog. Rumors of this sort have been circulating for many years. DuraCoat is a urethane and many other coatings in this world are also urethanes. Urethanes are made from similar ingredients and have similar properties, that's what makes them urethanes. DuraCoat is made in our facility using the formula invented by Steve Lauer over 20 years ago. DuraCoat was designed specifically for firearms. Going to a Sherwin Williams store and purchasing Polane will get you a high quality urethane coating but it will not get you DuraCoat.

      Delete
  12. I have been using both Duracote and Cerakote for several years and find little difference in wear. It's my opinion that Duracote has remained silent long enough after years of NIC smashing them. Time to fight fire with fire.

    I would like to ask a question of Duracoat in regards to the to it being Polan T or something similar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to post on our blog. Rumors of this sort have been circulating for many years. DuraCoat is a urethane and many other coatings in this world are also urethanes. Urethanes are made from similar ingredients and have similar properties, that's what makes them urethanes. DuraCoat is made in our facility using the formula invented by Steve Lauer over 20 years ago. DuraCoat was designed specifically for firearms. Going to a Sherwin Williams store and purchasing Polane will get you a high quality urethane coating but it will not get you DuraCoat.

      Delete
  13. I am a Cerakote Certified Applicator and asked Cerakote to respond regarding this blog post. I am providing the response that I received directly from the President of the company. I think it’s important to see both sides of the issue. Interesting, to say the least...

    October 16, 2015

    Why Reverse Engineering Cerakote® Doesn’t Work


    There has always been widespread speculation as to the exact composition of NIC's Cerakote firearm finishes. This curiosity stems from the simple fact that Cerakote H-Series firearm coatings outperform and are overwhelmingly chosen by more manufacturers and armed forces than any other competitive product.

    Recently, some misguided efforts have been made to “reverse engineer” Cerakote coatings using very simple and inadequate analytical techniques that merely detect components of the coating formulation that are dissolved in the coating solvent. The results of these incomplete tests have been used to put forward inaccurate and false statements regarding the composition of Cerakote.

    For example, one competitor has unsuccessfully attempted to reverse engineer Cerakote by utilizing Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). FTIR is an instrument that can identify single chemical components, but it is useless in characterizing complex material systems such as reacted and cured Cerakote coatings. Additionally, FTIR is not a performance test. It should not be confused with ASTM tests which, when correctly administered, can show performance differences between two products.

    The competitor’s report intentionally mislead their readers by failing to disclose that the FTIR results shown were only for Cerakote H-Series Part A. This omission is deceptive and misleading. Cerakote H-Series is a two-part system, and when reacted together as required, the result is a material system that is vastly different from any other product on the market.

    Additionally, FTIR analysis of a complex material systems such as a polymer-ceramic composite doesn’t provide a complete or accurate description of the material. Failing to explain this and drawing broad conclusions from a simple test is again, deceptive and misleading to the reader.

    The composition of cured Cerakote is unique and industry leading.

    NIC's Cerakote coatings are, as advertised, Heat-Curable Polymer-Ceramic Composite coatings that utilize several novel chemistries that are closely held trade secrets of NIC. The industry leading performance of Cerakote has been proven using independent ASTM Testing and further validated by being chosen by more firearm manufacturers than any other competitive firearm finish.

    NIC and its employees are proud to stand behind our industry leading Cerakote products. Consumers, Manufacturers and the Defense Community will continue to choose the best coatings for their applications. We are honored they have chosen Cerakote as the #1 firearm finish. We know our customers are results driven and will carefully review our competitors’ misleading statements and consider the motives behind them. Performance is what counts.

    Finish Strong!


    Sincerely,
     


    Brian D. Hall
    President

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment and for providing this letter. We will address the statements made and provide a response in the near future.

      Delete
    2. I attended Cerakote Applicator training in July of 2010. I can assure you that ceramic is a large component of their finish. I saw first hand the barrels of the various ceramic beads and the highly specialized tooling they use to pulverize the ceramic. Different ceramics were used in different colors and products. The cutter heads were made of extremely hard steel and other undisclosed materials. They are consumed at a very rapid rate. If you have ever bought high grade machine tooling you know these can cost thousands of dollars each and one tool will not get through a batch. Ceramics are near diamonds for difficulty in grinding. Every single lot of every single color has to pass the wear, color, bend, impact and corrosion tests in house before that batch can be released. It's amazing they can sell it as cheap as they do.

      Before you end up in real legal hot water why not send a couple guys in for training? No need to guess what it is and what they do. They won't open up the full ingredient list or how it's made cook book but they will let you see how it's made.

      Delete
    3. In response to HiredGun7: Thank you for sharing your experience at the NIC facility. The analysis test was performed on the H-series coating and the lab was not able to detect any ceramic in this coating. If ceramic is in fact ground in to the coating it would be detectable by a lab.

      Delete
  14. I have been using DuraCoat on my own firearms for several years. In the last year I was approached by customers asking for "custom finishes." What that translated into was custom colors not currently available in any product line. I approached both NIC and DuraCoat about the possibility of mixing these custom colors. I received no response from NIC. My experience with DuraCoat was dramatically different. They not only agreed to custom mix, but did not require a large amount or extra cost. The color matches were perfect and they offered no cost technical assistance on prep for certain materials and offered to cut stencils. I have my own stencil cutter that works well with my airbrushes. Quite frankly, I've met few manufacturers as flexible and as helpful as the folks at DuraCoat. My customers are thrilled and I made money. Customer service is critical in any industry and DuraCoat's is superb as are the finishes. Not criticizing NIC since they gave me nothing to compare. I'm sure I'll stick with DuraCoat for a good long time.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I too have had great customer service from LCW, and I've been quite happy with the performance of Duracoat. I can't comment on the performance of cerakote, because I've never had any reason to try it. LCW thanks for a great product and tremendous CS.

    ReplyDelete
  16. There was a certified letter from Cerakote claiming that Duracoat is Sherwin Williams Polane T Paint. We posted the letter on you facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MADCustomCoating/photos/o.123341247696187/837887319666667/?type=3&theater). Is this true??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comes as no surprise to us here at DuraCoat. This rumor has been floating around for many, many years. DuraCoat is a two-part urethane. We have always been very clear about that.

      Two two-part urethane coatings will of course appear alike when compared to each other. They are both two-part urethane coatings. But, as the analysis results show, the two are not identical. This is because DuraCoat is not Sherwin Williams Polane T. DuraCoat is DuraCoat. It, along with all of our many other products, are manufactured here at one of our facilities in Chippewa Falls, WI.

      We will be providing a more detailed response in the near future on our blog.

      Delete
  17. Something that I find interesting in regards to this "debate" is how often someone becomes a fanboy and says something along the lines of "product B kicks the crap out of product A no matter what". In a similar sense as "my Glock is better than your Ed Brown 1911 because it's a Glock". What I find funny is how someone bashed the FTIR testing by saying it "doesn’t provide a complete or accurate description of the material. Failing to explain this and drawing broad conclusions from a simple test is again, deceptive and misleading to the reader" when in fact they did this exact same test to try to discredit DuraCoat. If the FTIR is "very simple and inadequate analytical techniques", in their words, then why try to discredit the other by using this exact process? That alone makes me feel that I can't trust that person/company. But hey, that's just me. What do I use on my guns you ask? I have 3 with CeraCoat and around 10 with DuraCoat for now. Since I started using 2 of the 3 with CeraCoat more often now I'll be DuraCoating them soon and will be leaving the CeraCoat on the 3rd as it sits in the safe as a reminder that good business practices mean as much as durability, hence it not being used.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And yes, I know I spelled it Coat and not Kote. Also for some clarification, I'm in no way bashing on C/K. Do they make a good product? Yes they do. Do they have some, what I would call bad business practices? Sure looks like it *to me*. Do I find it superior to DuraCoat? Well, I feel some of my previous statements express *my opinion* on that. This is all just that, *my opinions formed by my experiences*. Nothing more, nothing less.

      Delete
  18. Not sure I would really trust a test information coming from their competition on this. Mostly because cerakote is a far better product that out lasts duracoat hands down. Seems like this could be a ploy to take customers away from cerakote.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This test was done by an independent lab as opposed to the testing shown on Cerakote's site that was done by NIC in house. Cerakote has been bashing DuraCoat and other firearm finishes for years with non-repeatable claims. We are not trying to discourage users of Cerakote but rather inform them that the product they use may not be what they claim. There is no hard evidence that Cerakote out-performs DuraCoat, only claims by Cerakote that cannot be proven. Each user may have their own experience with each product but again there is no scientific evidence of one product being better than the other.

      Delete
    2. Sit the two products side by side with simple scratch tests and there will be an obvious winner,cerakote. I dont care how its made,i know what my customers want. And then there is the color selection which wins hands down

      Delete
  19. The problem with Cerakote is NIC. I refuse to buy one more product from them. There service has dropped off big time in the last year. I'm planing on using duracoat in the future as I'm tired of exploded bottles in the mail due to poor packing. Overnite shipping arriving 10 days later and inconsistant colors and just a general lack of customer support.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I just stumbled upon this while researching various coatings.

    So the fact that persons being trained at the facility are witnessing large amounts of ceramic beads being ground by expensive machinary is all a part of an elaborate hoax perpetrated against Cerakote's customers and end users, including law enforcement agencies and the United States Government itself. And we should believe this outlandish conclusion based on a test commissioned by one of Cerakote's competitors. Right.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I am technology Enthusiast. Your blog is really awesome, attractive and impressive. I like the way you think. it is very useful for Java SE & Java EE Learners. Your article adds best knowledge to our Java Online Training in India. or learn thru Java Online Training in India Students. or learn thru JavaScript Online Training in India. Appreciating the persistence you put into your blog and detailed information you provide. Kindly keep blogging.

    ReplyDelete
  23. If Cerakote is epoxy, and Duracoat is polyurethane, then they have similarities and differences similar to other products of their type. Generally,epoxy has better adhesion and polyurethane has better UV and chemical resistance. Aerospace applications have good processes for using this stuff in ways that can benefit gun owners. The best way to paint a car uses epoxy primer and polyurethane topcoat, garage floors, too. I'd bet money that a hard coat anodized part sealed by epoxy primer and topped by polyurethane would be the very best available finish, especially if this ceramic tech is as good as it is capable of being.

    ReplyDelete