Powder coating has become a go-to dry finishing process representing more than 15% of the total industrial finishing market. It’s known for producing professional finishes making it suitable for indoor and outdoor applications. Also, it’s a cost-effective finish alternative, eco-friendly, and lasts longer than ordinary paint. It is this versatility that makes powder coating ideal for application on different surfaces including plastic, metal, and concrete. However, when looking for the ideal powder coating for these surfaces, the selection process goes beyond color preferences. Here are other factors to consider.
Various substrates require different types of applications, hence the need to determine their compatibility with the coating material. Powder coatings, for example, are the best for appliances, metal, and heat-resistant plastics because they can withstand the high temperatures used during the application process.
Generally, professional powder coating involves two processes: heating and charging. After prepping the surface, a high temperature of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit is applied for ten or more minutes to achieve a uniform finish. Then the material is electrostatically charged to create professional finishes. Some questions to guide you when choosing the best coating for a substrate are:
- Does the surface change from time to time?
- Do you need to consider multiple surfaces?
The coating is also suitable for other materials like wood, glass, and composites as long as they can withstand the high temperature. The plastic coating process, for example, involves the use of a fluidized bed method because the material is non-conductive. This means a vat is used instead of the low-pressure gun used during a normal coating process. Air is forced through the powder in the vat to transform it into a liquid and material dipped into the bed. The thickness of the coating depends on the length of time it’s submerged in the bed. The plastic substrate is then baked in an oven to set and secure the finish.
This point is closely connected to the first one as the substrate should withstand the amount of heat applied. It would also help if you think about the lifetime of the product and if it needs servicing after it leaves the manufacturing facility. For example, if the company is manufacturing snowboards for beach umbrellas or snowy slopes for cold temperatures the coating should withstand the respective climates.
Liquid coating is ideal for a range of commercial painting projects but some applications need specialty coatings. Low or no VOC paints have particularly become a popular choice for commercial projects involving schools, office buildings, restaurants, and shops as they are safer. Regular finishes release toxic chemicals into the air after application which can be harmful to building occupants. In commercial kitchens, hospitals, and other areas where hygiene is a concern, commercial paint contractors opt for VOC coating systems as they deliver smoother professional finishes that are easy to clean and impervious to bacteria. Also, VOC coatings like powder coating Richmond CA need fewer repainting sessions.
The application Method
Does the application process involve spraying or a brush roll? Are there environmental factors that determine the application method?. Also, if living in a congested area and the professionals are spraying the coating on surfaces, ensure they use a spray-safe system. This means shutting down the service area during the application process.
Factors such as high and low temperatures, chemical exposure, UV resistance, and immersion requirements also determine the type of coating required. It also enhances longevity and minimizes maintenance expenses in the long run.
Think about the kind of finish you want on the surface. Essential performance characteristics on professional finishes are:
- Glossy appearance
- Color retention
- Abrasion and many more
Be sure to talk to a professional about the performance qualifications the material should have. Avoid over-engineered coatings that barely provide any benefits when it comes to the formulation. Similarly, the coating shouldn’t be under-engineered as it compromises performance and quality.
As highlighted, finding the right coating for various surfaces is a function of many factors. Extensive research also goes a long way in creating professional finishes and enhances the longevity of the products.