Frequently Asked Questions
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What is Powder Coating?
Powder coating is a dry finishing process that has become extremely popular since its introduction in North America over in the 1960s. Representing over 15% of the total industrial finishing market, the powder is used on a wide array of products. More and more companies specify powder coatings for a high-quality, durable finish, allowing for maximized production, improved efficiencies, and simplified environmental compliance. 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.
How does Powder Coating work?
Powder coatings are based on polymer resin systems, combined with curatives, pigments, leveling agents, flow modifiers, and other additives. These ingredients are melt mixed, cooled, and ground into a uniform powder similar to baking flour. A process called electrostatic spray deposition (ESD) is typically used to achieve the application of the powder coating to a metal substrate. This application method uses a spray gun, which applies an electrostatic charge to the powder particles, which are then attracted to the grounded part. After application of the powder coating, the parts enter a curing oven where, with the addition of heat, the coating chemically reacts to produce long molecular chains, resulting in high cross-link density. These molecular chains are very resistant to breakdown. This type of application is the most common method of applying powders. Powder coatings can also be applied to non-metallic substrates such as plastics and medium density fiberboard (MDF).
How durable is Powder Coating?
Powder coating is a high-quality finish found on thousands of products you come in contact with each day. Powder coating protects the roughest, toughest machinery as well as the household items you depend on daily. It provides a more durable finish than liquid paints can offer, while still providing an attractive finish. Powder coated products are more resistant to diminished coating quality as a result of an impact, moisture, chemicals, ultraviolet light, and other extreme weather conditions. In turn, this reduces the risk of scratches, chipping, abrasions, corrosion, fading, and other wear issues.
It’s tough. It looks great. And it lasts a long, long time. In addition to being durable, powder coating is an attractive choice due to environmental advantages.
How much does powder coating cost?
There is no magic formula for quoting or estimating powder coating cost. That being said there are some general factors that contribute to powder coating cost. In the link below you can see what all goes into quoting your parts.
Is powder hazardous waste?
Practically all powder coatings are not hazardous waste by definition of the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act regulations (RCRA). Disposal methods for waste powder are the same as for non-hazardous wastes, in most states. However, there may be some exceptions and your powder supplier should be contacted regarding proper disposal. Always renew disposal needs with the local authority having jurisdiction over your facility location.
Is there anything different in the pretreatment/wash system for powder coatings vs. liquid paints?
Powder coatings can provide improved performance over liquids when applied to a properly pretreated part. Solvent-borne paints are usually more forgiving of organic soils left on the work piece by sub-par cleaning. Because powder does not have solvents, you need to make sure the washer does a good cleaning job. This is just good operational practice and is not an unusual requirement. Iron phosphate is the most frequently encountered pretreatment used with powder coatings. However, if the highest level of performance is required, zinc phosphate will work admirably with powder as well.