Powder Coating

What is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is basically a paint applied by a different method. Most powder paints start life as a liquid, very similar to spray paint. This is where the resin, various components and pigments are mixed into a homogeneous mass. From there they are partially cured, converted into a solid, extruded and ground to the desired level. Color matches are much more difficult with powder, as once it is made into the powder coating, it is done, versus paint that can have additives used to give desired effects.

How is it done?

Powder is sprayed on parts where it clings by static electricity. That is where the term “electro-statically applied comes from by the way, “electrostatically applied” powder or liquid says nothing about the quality of the workmanship or material, it is just a method! From there it is baked, where it melts, flows and cures.

Orange peel?

Is a surface condition that looks just like it’s name, the bumpy skin of an orange. It is typical of some powders, and gets worse as the film thickness gets excessive. Most powders will apply at a range of 1.5-2.5 mils, which is thousandths of an inch in “coater language”. When you start building heavier than this, orange peel can be a definite problem.

Polishing out Defects and Scratches?

Many small imperfections, minor orange peel, and some scratches can be polished out of a powder coated.

Powder coating is environmentally friendly?

Powders contain no solvents (in the final form!) and thus have very low air emissions when curing. Typical powders have a VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) rating of less 1.0 pounds per gallon (there is an EPA test method for this!) versus liquid paints in the range of 2.5-7.0 pounds per gallon. There is very little waste with powder. Powder over spray can be collected and reused, rather than just thrown away as with paint over spray.

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