All You Need To Know About Powder Coating
Powder coating is an application that uses powder from specialized pigments and resins to form essentially a hard protective plastic coating over metal products to help prevent the earths natural elements from breaking down the raw finished material. Powder coating is very common chose for architectural, industrial, and commercial companies that produce building materials, machinery, equipment, household products, automotive products, and more because of the outstanding durability it provides.
According to Wikipedia, the powder coating process was invented around 1945 by Daniel Gustin but other sources say that powder coating process was also developed in Europe by a German scientist named Erwin Gemmer in the 1940s as well. In the 1960s, Powder coating made its way from Europe to North America. Today Powder Coating is one of the most common painting methods used among architectural and industrial manufacturers.
How It Works
The process starts by prepping & cleaning raw metal from oils, debris, and rust. Cleaning solvent can do most of the work but for areas that are effected by rust, a process called sandblasting will have to be used. After this process has been completed, the metal can be hanged on a rack to begin the next step. Since Powder Coating is an electrostatic process, a ground will be placed on the metal which will allow the positive charged powder that is being shot out of a gun to adhere to the negative charged painting surface. Powder is then sprayed out of the electrostatic gun onto the surface. After a good coat is sprayed onto the surface, the metal will then need to be transferred over to an oven where the cross linking process will begin. The amount of time a part will spend in the oven depends on size and material. The average time a powder coated material spent in an oven is typically 20 to 30 minutes at a constant 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This is when the powder goes from a solid to a liquid. When the curing process is complete, the metal will then come out of the oven to cool down allowing the liquid powder to return back into a solid. Depending on size, the cool down time can take 20 to 30 minutes in which after it will be safe to handle and transport.
Pros & Cons of Powder Coating
Durability- The finish that Powder Coating leaves on a metal surface is very durable vs using a conventional paint product. Metals that are Powder Coating have a better protection barrier against impact, moisture, chemicals, ultraviolet light, and other abnormal conditions. This reduces the risk of metal corrosion, scratches, chipping, abrasions, fading, and other wear issues.
Time- To prep coat and cure a small piece of metal can realistically take 45 minutes to complete the whole process from start to finish.
Sustainability- Powder Coating can last 5-7 years under normal wear and tear conditions.
Material Restriction- Powder Coating requires the materials to withstand a minimum 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes without melting, deforming, or burning. This is why rubbers, plastics, and some metals cannot be Powder Coated.
Cost- The pricing to powder coat can be expensive relative to what your trying to achieve. Most Powder Coating shops can give you a free quote as long as you know the dimensions, and what color you want your job Powder Coated.
Color- Most job shops have a variety of colors you can choose from typically from a color wall or color booklet. Colors that they do not keep in stock might be a problem to obtain or the cost of making a custom color will be overly expensive.
Question & Answers Guide
Q: What can be powder coated?
A: Mostly metals but not limited to because the substrate has to be able to withstand temperatures over 400 degrees + for more than 10 minutes
Q: Where can I get my products powder coated?
A: In every big city, their is a powder coating shop that will love to give you a quote. Just google search powder coating shops near me.
Q: How many colors can you choose from?
A:Their are thousands of colors to choose from but each powder coating shop is different. Most have what we call in house colors in which you can pick from.
Q: Can you touch up powder coating?
A: Yes! LVP Paints matches thousands of powder coating colors. This is as simple as asking your local powder coater for the color code and brand they used on your job.
Q: How long does powder coating last?
A: Most powder coating companies will warranty jobs for 5 to 10 years under normal conditions. Powder coating will fade 5% every year until it reaches a 20% gloss level.
Q: How fast can something be powder coated?
A: In a perfect scenario, a small piece of metal can take 45 minutes to prep, cure and shipped out the door. This all depends on the size of the job and the amount of work load your powder coater currently has.