ToughGuard High-Performance Coatings of Beaverton, Oregon offers an aircraft coating that protects the paint from degrading environmental elements, reducing maintenance and extending paint service life
You never know who you might meet in a locker room at the gym that might lead to your future career. That’s what happened to Dan Reid, owner of ToughGuard. He met the company’s former owner, Bill, at the racquet club, and they developed a friendship. Over time, by talking about the business and the government contracts the company had, Reid decided he’d like to buy it. In 2012, he did so. “I waltzed into the club one day, and he was wearing an Air Force One wind jacket. ‘Guess whose product is on Air Force One? Bill said.’”
The former owner had taught Andrew’s Air Force Base personnel how to apply the ToughGuard product and had worked for the federal government. He had many contracts with the government, including the Navy, specifically to protect and maintain the cleanliness of the U.S. Navy’s worldwide communication system known as Aegis.
“It is vitally important to keep the signal sending and receiving panels clean and void of salt crystals and soot from diesel exhaust,” Reid said. And that is exactly what ToughGuard Nano Resin provides for the U.S. Navy’s Aegis communications. The ToughGuard Resin Paint Sealant product has also been tested and approved by auto OEMs, Ford Motor Company, and Volvo A.B. Sweden.
When Reid took over the business, he went to the Paris Air Show and met with an Embraer engineer, which led to Embraer testing the ToughGuard coating at their corporate headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil. After two years of testing and analysis, the ToughGuard coating was approved by Embraer and was added to all ERJ commercial jet AMMs and all the corporate/private Embraer AMMs at that time.
When applied, the ToughGuard coating is equivalent to a clear coat that physically bonds with the aircraft’s topcoat or clear coat. The ToughGuard coating has been proven through third-party independent testing laboratories to protect the paint from harmful UV rays, chemicals, pollution, carbon soot, hard-water spots, and bird and bug fouling. Not only does the product protect the paint, it also increases the gloss of the paint, and it boasts an incredible 110° surface contact angle, putting it into an almost “superhydrophobic” surface rating.
The business name was developed because the product is Tough, and it Guardsthe paint. The durability of the coating is unmatched by competitive products. ToughGuard provides its customers a two-year product performance guarantee when a certified and trained detailing company has provided the application. Since the ToughGuard coating has been applied to aircraft since the early 1990s, no customer has ever claimed that the product did not perform and live up to the two-year product performance guarantee. The opposite occurs — when customers tell Reid that the product outperformed what was promised!
The Jim Miller Aircraft Painting company located in Uvalde, Texas, started using ToughGuard’s coating in the late 1990s, when they received a contract to paint VIP planes for the U.S. Air Force specifying the ToughGuard coating be applied after painting the aircraft. They have many years of experience in applying the ToughGuard coating on planes going to places like the Middle East — where the conditions are extreme, with intense UV ray exposure, sand, dust, and humidity. Linda Du Plooy is the director of sales and marketing; she’s been with the company for nine years and said they’ve used ToughGuard since 1998. When they paint a customer’s aircraft, it is part of their contract to apply the ToughGuard coating. The application warranty asks the customer to return after two years for cleaning and re-application of the ToughGuard product. She said, “These are not pampered aircraft in hangars,” and many aircraft without the ToughGuard coating have a buildup of black carbon soot and dirt. “We keep using it; we won’t stop using it,” she reflected, because it protects aircraft paint like no other product on the market.
“Anytime the Toughguard coating has been tested … put to the test, it succeeds and outperforms expectations,” Reid said.
Another ToughGuard customer, Gary Force, former G-Force Aircraft Services operator, now with Dassault Aviation, Reno, Nevada, is a huge fan of the ToughGuard coating. He likes the product because it dramatically reduces cleaning maintenance time and expenses, and it helps with increasing customer satisfaction and customer retention for the Dassault company.
Force introduced the ToughGuard coating to Dassault in 2017, having used the their coating with his own business. He said, “Not everyone is using it, but it is a great, amazing product; it provides real value to customers.” He added that in working with Dassault, they wanted to conduct UV testing with the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University. They conducted a 2,000-hour Xenon test, which replicates the weather conditions in Southern Florida (which Force said can be extreme). The ToughGuard coating and the new ToughGuard SpeedGuard coating received 98 percent for gloss retention and 94 percent for color retention. “It outperformed what I thought it would do,” Force said.
In 2008, Boeing tested ToughGuard at the request of the U.S. Air Force. Boeing conducted a blind test on five different coating products — the results were more favorable and positive for the ToughGuard coating, and Boeing issued an NTO for their use of the U.S. Air Force’s most recognized 747 VIP aircraft(s).
Reid also said British Airways conducted several fuel burn savings tests in 2013. The results were positive, and Dan Reid was told by British Airway’s chief chemical engineer that they were getting a reduction of about .75 fuel efficiency, and with an annual fuel cost of three billion dollars, there was a potential for enormous savings using the ToughGuard coating on their fleet. Also, the chief chemical engineer stated that he firmly believed that using the ToughGuard coating would extend the paint service life by at least two years, as he observed how well the coating protected the paint from rain erosion and chemicals.
Even with the success of ToughGuard, Reid has kept his team small, with five employees. He stated that ToughGuard outsources all the product manufacturing to a chemical manufacturer in Oregon, which is ISO 9001 and ISO 9015 certified. “Knowing that our products are consistently manufactured to the highest of standards is vital to ToughGuard and the performance of our products for our customers. They know they will always receive ToughGuard products they can rely on.”
ToughGuard coating products are based on highly unique proprietary formulations, unlike any other coating products available on the market. Even though the original formula was invented 30 years ago, it remains the standard bearer, with which no other product can compare. Reid notes, “We also have improved the product from its original formulation, and it has taken the product to another level of performance. We are constantly formulating other high-performance coating products such as our SpeedGuard Hybrid Ceramic coating and our ToughGuard NHP Xtreme polyurethane clear coat product line. As a company, we are not standing still and are always innovating new and better products for our customers worldwide.”
Reid is always looking for expansion opportunities as a business owner — new customers and distributors are on his radar and he is developing the sales team in different markets.
“Our products always outperformed the customer’s expectations.” Reid said that 80 percent of ToughGuard’s customer base is in the aviation/aerospace market. That is due to all the testing, validation, approvals, and accreditation the ToughGuard coating products have received over the past 30-plus years. The performance of the product is proven in aviation. ToughGuard customers recognize it and appreciate the value the ToughGuard coating products provide them. Force concluded, “I know their product, for Dassault as a corporation, has been huge. The maintenance side and service side are (about) customer retention. One of my big sells to Dassault was, “Here’s a product we put on the aircraft, with a two-year warranty – they have to come back within two years to re-apply.” He said it proves good customer service and good maintenance service, when the business can call back owners and operators and prove that the aircraft is virtually unchanged after two years.
Force and Du Plooy declared that most aircraft could go longer between ToughGuard maintenance visits, because the product is so effective!
ToughGuard High Performance Coatings
5600 SW Arctic Dr. Ste 120
Beaverton, OR 97005
Phone: (503) 746-7171