First developed in the 1960s, Powder Coating has become an increasingly popular alternative to liquid paint, and now makes up over 15% of the industrial finishing market. Versatile in its applications, long-lasting and durable; powder coating is an ideal metal finishing method well suited to a diverse range of projects and industries.
But what exactly is powder coating, and what is it that makes it so desirable?
What is Powder Coating?
Powder coatings can be thought of as being like paint, but minus the solvent. They are made up of a polymer resign, such as epoxy or polyester, combined with curatives, levelling agents, pigments and other additives. These ingredients are melt mixed, cooled and ground into a homogenous powder.
The powder coating process is generally broken down into three stages:
- Preparation & Pre-Treatment
- Application of the Powder Coating
- The Powder Coating is then cured under heat
Typically used to finish metals, the coating is usually applied as a free-flowing dried powder using a spray gun. This particular method applies an electrostatic charge to the powder which causes the particles to be attracted to the ground substrate prepared in the pre-treatment process. Once the powder has been applied, the coated parts are then cured in an oven, wherein the temperature causes a chemical reaction that produces long molecular chains of high cross-link density. In addition to metal substrates, powder coatings can also be used on a range of non-metallic surfaces such as plastic.
What are the benefits of Powder Coating?
From items you use every day to heavy-duty industrial machinery; powder coatings are used to provide an attractive and durable finish for all kinds of products across a range of industries. There are several benefits to this finishing process that make it superior to traditional liquid paint in many applications.
From a functional standpoint; powder coatings offer a greater level of durability. Powder-coated surfaces provide significant resistance to everyday wear and tear. Unlike liquid paints that are delivered using an evaporating solvent; they can be applied in thicker coats without sagging, dripping or running. For industries such as construction, automotive, electrical engineering and agriculture; this reduces the need to replace equipment as powder coating can last for decades, ultimately saving businesses money over time.
In addition to its durability, powder coatings are more Eco-friendly than traditional paint finishes. Because this method does not require the use of solvents, they offer less of a carbon footprint. The process of powder coating also cuts down on the amount of waste, not only that but in many cases – it can even be recycled. This reduction of the wasted product presents significant cost savings, not only because less product goes further, but also it reduces the burden on companies to dispose of volatile organic compounds and remains compliant with industry regulations.