Powder coating is prevalent for the dry finish process, and it represents 15% of the industrial finish market. It was first used in the 1940s, where organic polymers were flame sprayed onto metallic bases. In the 1950s, a German scientist would then develop the fluidized-bed process. However, this process did not mark the end of development but would further motivate new technologies, including the electrostatic spray process that is widely used today.
Industries find that there are applications where a liquid powder coating is preferable. Read on to learn about the comparisons between the dry and wet coating processes.
1. Cure Times
One of the benefits of a dry powder coating is that it takes a much shorter time to cure. However, when the application is for a thick substrate, the powder will need more time. The process also needs to be conducted at 180 degrees. Otherwise, the coating will not cure under room temperature.
A liquid powder coating is a polyurethane fluid that can dry up under room temperature. But for some applications, it may require 235 degrees Fahrenheit to cure in the oven. It takes longer than dry powder, but it is suitable for a wide range of applications.
2. Film Coating Thickness
Dry powder is ideal for situations that demand thick coatings. Where thin films of paint are required, though, it can be challenging. The problem is mainly with the application process, as it makes it harder to adjust the speed during the application.
You can apply a liquid powder coating with a spray gun. It is easier to get thinner coats and save on the materials you use for painting. However, experts consider dry paints to be more effective where a thick paint film is necessary.
3. Quality of the Coating on Different Substrates
The powder coating process requires significant amounts of heats to cure. For that reason, the process is mainly suitable for metals, fiberboards, and glass. Other materials, such as plastic, may not withstand the extreme temperatures.
A liquid powder coating is ideal for special projects that require other substrates besides metal and glass. You can create a consistent film of paint without using complicated processes, such as electrostatic spray.
4. Color Options
Another limitation of the dry paint process is that getting unique colors is more challenging than liquid paint. Manufacturers produce the powder in small batches. They design each product with specifications to maintain the desired properties of the material.
Liquid coatings present more choices and are preferable over powder, where aesthetics is a factor. Note that it is much easier to mix a wide range of colors without the electrostatic processes. The options include glow-in-the-dark paints, which industries use along paths to enhance safety.
5. Cost Considerations
A dry powder will need masking before the application of the coat. The longer cure cycles increase the time and costs of applying the coating.
Liquid coatings are less costly because they do not require high temperatures to cure. Additionally, applying thin paint films is less complicated, and therefore it results in a reduction of materials. Generally speaking, wet paints are more cost-effective for finishing different substrates.
Whether you want to paint home appliances or military equipment, there are many options you can use. While dry finishing processes have many advantages, some situations call for a liquid powder coating. You’ll need to carefully evaluate the properties of each to find the ideal professional finishes for your project.