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Powder Coating 101

powder coating 101

What Is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is a free-flowing dry powder used for coating metals.  This type of coating is often used as an alternative to liquid or spray paints.  The main difference between powder coating and liquid paint is that powder coating is applied electrostatically and then it is cured under heat.  Powder coating is used for a wide range of applications, especially those involving metal finishing.  Common uses and applications of powder coating include vehicle parts, motorcycle parts, heavy equipment, outdoor furniture, appliances,  and other metal items.

The Powder Coating Procedure

Powder coating is an “Electrostatic Process”; a method of applying electrically-charged powder coating materials to grounded parts. This dry finishing process combines color, polymer resins, curative, and other ingredients that are melted, cooled and crushed into a fine powder. The powder is then applied to metal using a spray gun and a special process known as electrostatic spray deposition. The electrostatic attraction holds the powder to each part until heat is added to flow the powder together and cure it. Basic pieces of equipment commonly used for an electrostatic powder spray coating system are the powder feeder, power unit, and the electrostatic gun. 

Stage 1: Preparation

  • Abrasive blasting; to ensure the substrate is free of any oils, dirt, rust, mill scale, etc. It also creates a profile for the powder to adhere to.
  • Masking areas that don’t need to be coated, this is done with high-temperature tape specially designed for powder coating and/or caps and plugs

Stage 2: Primer 

  • Epoxy Zinc Rich Gray Primer (by Akzo Nobel) is applied to carbon steel items previously racked in the oven, it cures at 400 degrees for an average of 5-10 minutes depending on metal thickness. This step applies to products for outdoor use.

Stage 3: Color Coat

  • Color powder is sprayed over the primer while the piece is still hot from the primer when a thermoset powder is exposed to elevated temperature, it begins to melt flows out, and then chemically reacts to form a higher molecular weight The polymer in a network-like structure. This curing process, called crosslinking, requires a certain degree of temperature for a certain length of time in order to reach full cure and establish the full film properties for which the material was designed. Normally the powders cure at 410° F in 20-25 minutes. The curing schedule could vary according to the manufacturer’s specifications and substrate thickness.

    Benefits of Powder Coating

    Across industries, powder coats are prized because they offer many benefits:

    It’s Durable – Powder coatings are known for a high-quality, durable finish, allowing for maximized production, improved efficiencies, and simplified environmental compliance. Unlike paint, which sits on top of a surface, powder coats fuse with the metal. This means they will not fade, chip, peel, scratch, or wear as easily as painted surfaces. Colors are “baked in” with the process, allowing them to stay vibrant for a long time.

    It’s Flexible – Used as functional protective and decorative finishes, powder coatings are available in an almost limitless range of colors and textures, and technological advancements have resulted in excellent performance properties. Your durable powder coat can come in virtually any color of the rainbow and can be applied in many applications. It’s safe enough for the commercial playgrounds we specialize in and sturdy enough for industrial applications. you can choose the look you want. You can also get a range of finishes, from metallic, glossy, and flat to matte, glittery, and textured looks.

    It’s Cost-Effective – Cutting-edge powder coating helps reduce VOC (volatile organic compounds) pollutants and allows companies to meet the standards set by the U.S. EPA without spending more. In addition, since these coatings last longer, you will not need to pay to get equipment repainted or replaced as often.

    It Protects the Environment – Powder coatings release very few VOCs compared to liquid coatings and paints. As a result, powder coatings can be used with a wide range of products.

    Talk to The Powder Coating Experts

    Interested in learning more about powder coating services? Simply click here. You can also use the contact form on that page to get a quote on your powder coating projects in the Houston, TX area.

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