Powder coating finishing is big business. Experts estimate that the worldwide powder coatings industry will reach over $12 billion in sales this year. Why get a powder coating? Here are the basics facts about this kind of professional finish and the benefits it offers.
Powder Coating Basics
Before you ask, why get a powder coating? You may be wondering, what are powder coatings and what are they used for? Powder coating is applied for dry finishes and has seen widespread use since it first came on the North American market during the 1960s. Powder coating makes up more than 15% of all industrial finishing and is applied to a wide variety of products. Increasingly, companies are choosing powder coating for its quality and durability, thereby improving production and efficiency and enabling greener practices. It may serve as a protective or an ornamental finish. Powder coatings offer an almost infinite array of textures and colors, and improvements in technology have led to better performance.
How Does Powder Coating Work?
Powder coating uses polymer resin plus materials such as pigments, curatives, flow modifiers, and leveling agents. All of these materials are melted, then mixed, brought to a lower temperature, and reduced to a powder that resembles baking flour. Electrostatic spray deposition (ESD), the most frequently used method of application, allows the coating to be applied to a metal substrate. In the ESD process, a spray gun sends an electrostatic current into the powder, and the particles are thereby drawn to the grounded part. Once the powder coating is applied, the parts of the coated item are placed in a curing oven; there, the heat sparks a chemical reaction in the coating and makes long molecular chains, which brings out high cross-link density. The molecular chains are what make powder coatings durable, since they are difficult to break up. Powder coatings can also be used for non-metallic materials, including plastics and particular types of fiberboard.
A powder coating may be used in a fluidized bed application. In this process, parts of the coated item are heated and then submerged in fluidizing powder. The plastic coating melts and covers the parts of the item. The mass and temperature of the item’s parts and the kind of powder involved determine whether post-application curing is necessary.
The Benefits of Powder Coating
Why get a powder coating? There are many good reasons to opt for this type of finish:
- Durability: Powder coating offers greater protection from damage than liquid paints do, and at the same time, it makes for an eye-catching finish. It can be used to prevent damage to everything from rough pieces of industrial equipment to ordinary pieces in your home, including furniture, bathroom fixtures, and appliances.
- Damage-resistance: Powder coating finishes are more difficult to scratch or chip, and stand up to abrasions, fading, and other kinds of wear and tear. Powder coating also resists damage from water, accidents, chemicals, heat, ultraviolet light, and dangerous weather. This makes it a popular choice for items like patio furniture and outdoor grills.
- Greener: Powder has less of an impact on the environment than liquid paint does. Powder coatings aren’t made with the solvents that go into liquid paint, and therefore, powder sends few to no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. Finishers who work with powder don’t have to purchase expensive pollution control equipment. Working with powder makes it easier and more cost-effective for businesses to comply with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules. Unlike liquid paint, powder coatings can be reused and recycled, and they create no hazardous waste.
Powders for Indoor and Exterior Use
An item’s exposure to sunlight means it will absorb ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can reduce a powder finish’s gloss and alter its color. In terms of powder coating types, epoxies and hybrids that contain epoxy tend to chalk and are therefore not ideal for external use if the look of the finish is important. By contrast, polyester and acrylic powder finishes offer great UV stability and are widely used in architecture and on outdoor furniture.
Why get a powder coating? Powder offers durability, endurance, a lighter environmental impact, and an attractive finish in almost any color you can imagine. Contact our team today to learn about our liquid coating service.