Perhaps one of the less considered aspects of manufacturing is the finishing process; yet of course, a product cannot be truly protected or considered done if it is not ‘finished.’ There are several different aspects to consider when finishing. Most products are finished through some kind of coating.
The coating may be decorative, largely focused on creating a specific type of appearance for the product, or it can be protective, encasing the product. Beyond this, there are two main types of coatings: liquid and powder. The type of coating that is used by a manufacturer can sometimes be simply determined through the type of product being made. For example, appliances are usually finished with powder coatings. However, this is not the case with all products, with some industries gravitating between liquid and powder coatings.
Of course, even within this realm there are different types of coatings to choose between. Professional powder coatings vary, with some products requiring enhanced powder coating. However, some may still initially opt for liquid coatings, uncertain of the benefits of powder coatings. With that being said, let’s look into the benefits of utilizing powder coatings as opposed to liquid coatings.
What Are Powder Coatings?
What exactly are powder coatings? Powder coatings fall under what are referred to as dry finishing techniques. They are rather popular and make up around 15% of the total industrial finishing market. The powder is made of resin and pigment particles, and they are sprayed upon a surface during the typical finishing procedure. An enhanced powder coating would not only apply to the product’s appearance, giving it an attractive decorative appearance, but a sturdy protective layer as well. The powder is electrostatically sprayed, which means that it will adhere to the surface of the product and heated until it is smoothly fused to that surface. The product is then placed in a curing oven, which finalizes the process. This allows the surface to stay smooth, without a variation or warping.
Are Powder Coatings Durable?
Powder coatings may initially seem to be thinner than liquid coatings, and therefore less durable. However, this is not the case. An enhanced powder coating can actually be more durable than a liquid coating. It will be more resistant to the typical wear and tear of everyday use, including chipping and scratching. At the same time, this durability doesn’t take away from the appearance of the coating. Powder coatings can be matte, glossy, metallic, or even glittery. Furthermore, a powder coating can, if requested, produce a wrinkled or rippled surface as opposed to a smooth surface. This can apply to enhanced powder coatings as well as standard powder coatings. The variety offered by powder coatings simply adds to the practical appeal its durability offers.
Are Powder Coatings Environmentally Friendly?
The environment is a major concern for many manufacturers in this day and age. Therefore, the question of which type of coating is more environmentally friendly must be addressed during the decision making process. Liquid coatings often contain volatile organic compounds, which are pollutants that have a negative environmental impact. Powder coating does not contain many, if any of these compounds, and is solvent-free. Not only does this equal less of a negative environmental impact, but it also means that the manufacturer does not have to invest in pollutant protectants.
Are Powder Coatings Cost Efficient?
Cost efficiency must be considered when choosing between coatings. When compared to liquid coatings, powder coatings, even enhanced powder coatings, usually win out in this respect. In the long term, the reduction of volatile organic compounds, as well as the reduction of waste products, results in money being saved. Furthermore, remaining in compliance with EPA regulations means that a company will not need to pay fines associated with the violation of these regulations.
Ultimately, the choice of whether to use liquid or powder coatings is up to the company ordering the manufacturing. However, the benefits of powder coatings are clear, making it difficult for many companies to choose alternatives. With their environmental benefits and cost efficiency in consideration, it is no wonder powder coatings are so often preferred.