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The finishing process is placing or applying an industrial coating to the surface of a metallic part. Finishing treats a metal products’ exterior by application of a thin, complementary layer to its surface. Finishing can be a physical, mechanical, or chemical process. In general, finishing such as e coating or powder coating can protect, enhance the appearance of, or improve the product’s performance. With so many industrial coating available, how do you choose the right one?

Surface finishes not only make products look presentable and unique, but they also play an essential role in ensuring products perform as they are intended to perform and last longer. Finishes protect metals from outside elements, corrosion, wear, and rust.

OEMs and engineers demand better durability and higher quality from industrial coating solutions. At Minnesota Industrial Coatings, we don’t disappoint. Our e coatings and powder coatings provide a better option over other finishing processes regarding their ability to get to hard-to-reach areas. Additionally, they distribute a smooth, even, hard finish and provide cost-effective performance. Learn more about how we could help you.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Industrial Coating

man spraying powder coating on metal parts

There are a few things to consider when selecting a finishing technique for your project. Factors to consider are:

Production speed: The length of time it will take to execute the finishing technique should align with your production cycle.

Cost-effectiveness: Think about the long-term as well as short-term costs. Remember that while some finishing techniques may be more expensive up front, they can also provide significant cost benefits such as shorter cycle times or higher quality.

Metal properties: If the material is a hard metal, an intense finishing method like grinding may be required. However, a softer metal may be better suited to a less abrasive finishing method such as e coating or powder coating.

Finishing goal: Determine which process type will best help you achieve your desired objective. Do you need corrosion protection, improved appearance, electrical conductivity, a glossy finish, or more?

Types of Industrial Coating

Sorting through the wide range of industrial coating solutions can be overwhelming. However, focusing on the desired effect you are trying to achieve or the metal issue you are trying to solve will help you narrow down the choices.

Surface treatment options

machinist spraying abrasive materials on metal surface
  • Abrasive blasting offers the advantage of combining surface finishing and cleaning into one process, saving you money and time. The abrasion process involves the high-pressure propulsion of a blasting medium against the surface of an object. This process can remove contaminants and produce a smooth, clean finish. 
  • Anodizing is used to convert an object’s aluminum surface into aluminum oxide. Anodizing is also used to deposit a thin, protective film on other standard nonferrous metals. By altering the composition of the metal surface, anodizing can increase corrosion resistance and provide a robust and hard finish.
  • Mass finishing is a highly complex process used to provide simultaneous bulk polishing of a high volume of smaller, more technical parts.  The mass finishing process involves using a vibratory or tumbled finishing technique and a carefully selected medium.
  • Passivation is implemented as part of the post-treatment zinc or zinc-alloy plating process to prevent the onset of white rust. Passivation is also used for descaling and cleaning stainless steel parts for enhanced corrosion resistance.

Plating options

Electroplating metal in an electrolyte industrial coating solution
  • Electroplating is the process of depositing a thin coating onto the surface of a substrate to build surface thickness. Electroplating sends an electric current through an electrolyte solution containing the metal substrate and dissolved ions of the metal used as the coating.
  • Electroless plating relies on chemical reactions to deposit the metal onto the surface of the substrate. In electroless plating, the deposition of the metal coating typically occurs at a much slower rate than during electroplating. Nickel is the metal most used in electroless plating. 

Coat technologies

worker e coating metal wheel rims
  • Electrocoating:

Electrocoating, also known as e coating, applies epoxy paint onto the surface of a large part via electrodeposition. The parts soak in a solution containing the coating before the introduction of an electric current. Instead of metal ions, the solution incorporates electrically charged paint or epoxy particles. These particles are deposited onto the substrate surfaces.

E coating is sometimes used to enhance the appearance of metal parts as it works well on any metal. E coating is also used as a primer coat on a metal surface before painting, promoting paint adhesion.

Because the part is wholly submerged in the epoxy solution, e coating can provide a more even paint application than traditional painting or powder coating processes. It also offers superior protection against corrosion.

  • Powder Coating:

Powder coating applies a dry powder coating on metal parts instead of using a liquid coat system.  A powder coating provides greater thickness than a liquid coating. This is a high-performance coating that works by combining ingredients that include pigments, curates, flow modifiers, leveling agents, and other additives to create the powder.

The powder is then electrostatically deposited onto the surface of the substrate, which cures in a specially designed oven. The powder coating process results in a hard, glossy, uniform finish resistant to chemicals, wear, and chipping.  

Advantages of E Coating and Powder Coating

workers spraying powder coating on metal parts

The benefits of applying e-coating or powder coating to a metal product are:

  • Increasing durability
  • Reducing corrosion
  • Improving decorative appeal
  • Enhancing electrical conductivity
  • Enhancing solderability
  • Increasing electrical resistance
  • Improving wear resistance
  • Increasing chemical resistance
  • Reducing friction effects
  • Improving tarnish resistance
  • Strengthening the substrate

At Minnesota Industrial Coatings, our team will work with you to implement an e coating or powder coating finishing process that can enhance your part quality, reduce your operating costs, and help you meet your production goals.

We are a part of the Elemet Group, which has offered innovative, one-stop metal fabrication, machining, and industrial coating solutions since 1947. Our sister companies are:

Ready to talk about your project? Contact us.

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