What Is Powder Coating?
Powder Coating is a type of industrial finishing that uses a process of adhering a powder to surfaces to seal and finish their outer layer. The powder is cured to the surface by heating or baking, which creates a hard outer layer with a glossy finish.
You can use the powder coating process on a variety of different metals, plastics, and some other surfaces, with different colors and textures depending on the needs of the client and the project. The completed product is resistant to chemicals, rust, chipping and is three times stronger than solvent-based paint.
Minnesota Industrial Coatings (MIC), part of Elemet Group, provides state-of-the-art finishing for all your industrial projects. Check out their site for their list of services and to request your free quote today.
Powder Coating Process
The powder coating process involves several steps to ensure a long-lasting final product:
Cleaning and preparation
Removing any dirt, oil, paint, or the previous coating is essential to a proper powder coating application.
Electrostatic spray deposition (ESD)
The necessary ingredients are melted, mixed, cooled, and ground into a fine powder that resembles baking flour. You then spray this mixture using an electrostatic charge, which causes an attraction between the powder and the metal. Most projects only require one application, unlike paint.
Once the powder is applied, you then need to cure the product, often using an oven. This curing causes a chemical reaction bonding the coating to the surface. Depending on the product and project, you can also use UV light to cure the powder coating. You can also use powder coating on non-metallic substrates such as hard plastics.
Applications of Powder Coating
The following list demonstrates some of the common uses of powder coating:
Powder coating is found on many agricultural tools and equipment such as tractors, trailers, storage systems, cranes, plows, and more.
From freezers to water heaters to vacuums, powder coating creates highly durable glossy finishes for your everyday household items.
Whether it’s playground equipment, bicycles, or golf clubs, many of the metal products you see and use every day have a powder coat finish.
Powder coating has many uses in the automotive industry including, exterior handles, wheels, racks, and interior parts and finishes.
Major electrical projects such as transformers or electric junction boxes use a powder coating. Minor everyday uses like computers or lighting fixtures also take advantage of the process.
Whether your project needs door handles, fixtures, gutters, or guide rails, powder coating can be the most cost-effective and lasting finish for building construction.
HVAC systems often need powder coating finishes on boilers, radiators, furnaces, and more.
The durability and rust-resistance of powder coating make it ideal for safety equipment. You can use it on anything from fire extinguishers to medical equipment.
Lawn and Garden
From BBQ grills to snow shovels, all year round, many items used in your own backyard are probably finished with a powder coating.
Powder coating is used in many public projects such as buses, fire hydrants, and pipelines.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list; the applications for powder coating are incredibly numerous, and many things you see every day may have a powder coating finish.
New applications for powder coating are also being developed constantly as the industry grows and changes. Recent trends in powder coating are prevalent in the automotive industry for use on electric vehicles and in the agricultural industry with smart powder coatings that can repel insects.
Advantages of Powder Coating
Powder coating has so many uses, and often it may be a better alternative than some other finishing techniques. Benefits of powder coating include:
It is recyclable, reusable, and creates very little overspray. The overspray can often be collected and used again for another application. It does not require any solvent or release any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may harm the environment.
Safety gear is always still worn during the application process, but the absence of VOCs does mean that the powder coating process poses fewer health risks than other finishing products.
Efficient and Cost-Effective
Because powder coating is a one-coat process, you can complete it much faster than with something like painting. The projects can be completed faster, and the initial investment is very cost-effective because it saves time, labor, and recurring upkeep costs that can arise from rust or chipping.
Powder coating is resistant to rust, chipping, chemicals, scratching, and it can withstand the elements without fading or showing signs of general wear. The bonding process ensures a long-lasting finish.
With a wide variety of uses, it is no wonder that powder coatings are available in countless color and texture combinations to suit your project’s needs. Powder coating is ideal for custom projects that need an expert application and a unique color choice.
Alternatives to Powder Coating
While powder coating is a high-quality, durable finish used in a wide range of circumstances, it is not the only method for surface finishing. Painting is a common technique; however, painting often does not last as long, and it is much harder to create a clean blemish-free surface than with powder coating.
Hydrographic Printing is another method. It is ideal for intricate and custom patterns on your surfaces, but it can be tricky if the parts are unique in shape and size.
Oil coating is an alternative method, often considered the simplest alternative, but this method does not deliver the best, lasting results. However, it is important to consider all your options when planning for the surface finish of your final product.
Minnesota Industrial Coatings offers high-quality, complete metalwork solutions. As part of the Elemet Group of companies, you can find solutions to all your fabrication and manufacturing needs.
Elemet has been providing top-quality fabrication and manufacturing services since 1947 and continues its exceptional service to this day. If you have a project in mind, contact MIC today for your free quote.