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Northern Ireland precision engineering and composites finishing firm, The Exact Group, has a reputation of high quality, continuous performance, and on-time delivery having achieved and held the performance award SC21 Silver, and attained the EFQM 5-star accolade.

Having won a business innovation award, the Exact Group is known for constantly monitoring industry trends and looking for innovations within the industry in order to underpin and offer solutions to their customers.

Over the last four years, they invested heavily in research and development and innovation, and continually developed new processes and methods that deliver better value to their customers.

Pre-pandemic, the company researched the use of Cerakote, a single layer coating system, and whilst initially they identified potential for it on metals, the Exact team quickly learned the overall advantages of it could be carried into and across many applications.

Fast forward to 2022 and The Exact Group was appointed as a certified applicator of Cerakote – the world-leader in thin film, ceramic infused, coating technology.

However, it is worth noting that in 2021, the UK government unveiled its ‘fly zero’ road map, aimed at supporting intensive projects to deliver on their overall goal of achieving zero carbon neutral commercial flights by 2050. What followed was a major change in mindset, and the world of composites rapidly changed, with both government and customer demands requiring more eco-friendly and carbon neutral solutions within the aerospace industry.

The engagement with Cerakote was timely, and the Exact Group was ready to embark on its next innovative step in composite finishing.

Discussing Cerakote and its applications, Ronan Callan, Director of Operations said; “The Exact Group is customer centric and used to problem solving, particularly those of our customers, or supporting them in reaching a particular goal or target.

“The introduction of Cerakote to Exact’s offering gave our customers a superior solution for coating different types of materials, and enabling protection from the elements. We quickly realised that it is a fantastic product that outperforms many other solutions.

“As a result, over the last two years, the Exact Group’s composites department has grown significantly, and it now houses a state-of-the-art finishing suite and five paint ovens. We offer the preparation and paint finishing of composite panels for mainly, the aircraft industry.”

What is Cerakote?

Cerakote, initially developed by the firearms’ industry, is a high-performance, durable, and versatile ceramic coating. Composed of multiple layers of ceramic particles suspended in a resin matrix, upon curing, the resin hardens creating a thin, durable, and adherent coating that provides exceptional abrasion resistance, while enhancing flexibility and bonding strength.

Cerakote, the single layer coating system, replaces multi-layer paint and powder coating systems and can be applied to multiple substrates, including ferrous and non-ferrous metals, alloys, polymers and composites.

The thin film ceramic coating is applied at only 25-50 microns thickness, allowing for ultra-light weight coverage and protection.

The ideal solution for applications including aerostructures, cabin interiors and exteriors, flight deck surfaces, electronics and hardware or fasteners, the technology has superior chemical resistance to solutions including hydraulic fluids, fuels, solvents and acids.

Its UV stability protects the substrates from oxidation and degradation, and it is highly abrasion resistant. Cerakote offers high temperature coatings, which provide thermal barrier and heat dissipation, as well as an alternative for plating and pre-treatments.


Having recently worked with and developed a process for finishing interior products with Cerakote, the company has been trialling this application in the world of aerospace composites.

The move is a collaborative effort between The Exact Group and Collins Aerospace, with the latter providing products and samples for testing, and bringing their extensive experience in material technologies to bear. There was also the potential of increasing their overall customer experience with a modern, dynamic, hardwearing coating.

The initial thought process for the application of Cerakote to aerospace grade composites was due to customer concerns around the time and cost for applying more traditional coatings. The use of the coating helps to reduce the cost and time taken to process these parts, and also reduce the finished weight of the composites.

The use of Cerakote has thrown up some challenges and as such, the application of the coating composites, ensuring it is flexible enough to withstand the movement within the product. However, Ronan is excited and confident that this new approach continues the company’s aim to innovate and collaborate with other industry leaders.

He said; “Composite materials have many applications in aerospace and defence. They can be designed and manufactured into complex configurations and have higher specific strength properties than conventional metal alloys, making them ideal for aircraft construction.

“As a company, we are always looking to improve not only our services and products, but our relationships with our clients, and from the initial proof of concept to delivery, this has been a good example of collaborative innovation and development.”

Key Benefits of Cerakote

Resistance to wear: At 25 to 50 microns in thickness, Cerakote coatings offer exceptional resistance to wear, abrasion, and corrosion, making it ideal for applications where surfaces are subjected to harsh conditions.

Heat Resistance: Cerakote coatings can withstand temperatures up to 1000˚ C/1800˚ F without cracking/flaking, making them suitable for applications where surfaces are exposed to high heat.

Chemical Resistance: Cerakote coatings are resistant to a wide range of chemicals, including acids, alkalis, and solvents, making them ideal for applications where surfaces may come into contact with harsh chemicals.

Antimicrobial Properties: Some Cerakote coatings incorporate antimicrobial agents, providing additional protection against microorganisms and the spread of infections.

Aesthetic Appeal: Cerakote offers a range of over 300 colours, finishes, and textures, allowing users to customise the appearance of their equipment or décor.

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