Powder coating is a method of finishing metal and other surfaces, including plastics, composites, carbon fibre and MDF. As the name suggests, powder coating involves the electro-static application of a dry powder containing resins, additives and pigments, which is then cured under heat to form a solid surface.
Powder coating is used to finish components across a range of industries. In the automotive industry, the process is used for a range of applications including powder coating rims and wheels, hubcaps, bumpers, decorative trim, door handles, radiators, and various engine parts. The process is also used across a range of construction and building materials, home appliances, and other products including sports equipment, tools and hardware equipment, shelving and much more.
So let’s have a look at some of the benefits of powder coating.
When it comes to creating a tough, durable and long-lasting finish, powder coating is one of the best options available. It is more resistant to chipping, flaking and scratching than paint. It can also handle bending and vibration better than paint. During the curing process, the powder melts, gelling together to form long chemical chains that are more flexible than paint.
- Safer to work with than paint
Unlike paints, powder coating doesn’t contain solvents, which is good for a number of reasons. There are numerous health and safety regulations around working with solvents, particularly around engineering and administration controls and the use of personal protective equipment.
The solvents in paint emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are a major source of industrial pollution and are particularly dangerous when inhaled. A lot of paint is also highly flammable, which can make it dangerous to work with and store. Powder coating isn’t flammable and is stored in a dry state, making it safer and easier to store.
While powder coating has higher up-front costs (because of the set-up costs and equipment required for application), it tends to be cheaper in the long run.
Powder coating has a better utilisation rate than paint. About 70% of paint is lost to overspray. Powder coating lost to overspray, however, can be collected and reused, meaning material loss can be kept under 5%.
Powder coating application also doesn’t require the level of training and expertise that painting requires. This means that labour costs can be kept down as you don’t require trained experts for application.
Finally, powder coating isn’t subject to the same environmental and health and safety regulations as spray painting. That means that less investment is needed for environmental and safety compliance and disposal costs are lower.
- Variety of finishes
Besides the variety of colours, powder coating can also be used to create a variety of finishes, from coarse textures to matte finishes to high-gloss, shiny finishes. Powder coating can also provide much thicker coatings than paints without running or sagging.
- Time savings
Unlike paint, which can take a long time to dry between coatings, powder coating is much more efficient as the curing time is significantly faster than the drying time for most paints. This means it’s more efficient to work with compared with painting.
A powder coated surface requires very little maintenance. No solvents of specialised cleaners are required, with most surfaces only need a wipe down with soapy water to keep clean. Because powder coated surfaces are extremely resistant to corrosion and rust, no special rust proofing maintenance is required to extend the life of the surface or the components.
When it comes to providing a durable and long-lasting surface finish, nothing beats powder coating.