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Powder Coating 101

Powder coating is the application of an organic powder to metal using electrostatic attraction. The powder is then heat cured to a smooth hard finish. Let’s take a quick look at how the powder coating process works.

Sandblasting

First up, the product that is to be powder coated needs to be sandblasted. Sandblasting helps remove any scale, oil, or rust that is often found on new steel. If the object is being repainted, sandblasting helps remove any old coatings or paint. Sandblasting also creates a profile in the metal surface that the powder will adhere to when it flows out in the oven.  

Applying the Powder

Following sandblasting, the dry solid powder is applied using an electrostatic spray gun. The gun adds a positive charge to the powder particles, which attracts them to the negatively grounded object being sprayed. The electrostatic charge of the particles to the object helps minimize overspray, preventing uneven buildup, and leaving a smooth and even finish.

Baking the Object

Finally, the product is baked in an oven.  At the manufacturer’s desired temperature and time for final cure ensure the powder coat flows out into a decorative, durable finish.

How to Prevent Metal Corrosion

Is corrosion a fact of life for all things metal? It doesn’t have to be.

Corrosion is the deterioration of metal caused by a chemical reaction of metal with its environment. Exposure to various climates can also lead to corrosion. All metals can corrode, especially if the metals in question are not protected.

But corrosion can be stopped or prevented, and there are many ways to do this.

Corrosion Inhibitors

Corrosion inhibitors are one of the ways to prevent metal corrosion. They work by attaching themselves to the surface of the metal and forming a protective film. One of the benefits of corrosion inhibitors is that they can be applied to help counter current corrosion.

Coatings

Powder coating has been shown in studies to inhibit corrosion more than liquid paint. Powder coating metal helps create a homogenous, thoroughly-covered surface. This evenly covered surface helps prevent the metal from interacting with other metals and the immediate environment. This is a great way to stop corrosion and prevent it from happening in the future. Coatings are typically grouped by the type of polymer used.

Powder coating, which is safer for the environment than traditional liquid paint, can be applied across a range of thicknesses. Coating thickness is often used as a metric for creating a barrier with the metal to help prevent corrosion. Powder coating is resistant to corrosion and more durable than liquid paints. The high-quality finish means that powder coating can withstand conditions that cause breakdowns in liquid paints.

Powder Coating vs. Liquid Paint

Powder coating is engineered to have several advantages over traditional liquid paint. Here are just a few key benefits of using powder coating over liquid paint.

 

Reduce VOC Emissions

Powder coating eliminates air and water pollutants that are produced by solvent paint, helping reduce emissions. They don’t require solvents or thinners for mixing or for clean-up and there are no environmental stressors during application making a better solution for metal coatings for the environment.  

Better Efficiency

Powder coating is more efficient and economical when compared to liquid paint because in some instances powder coating overspray can be reclaimed and reused while liquid paint overspray is lost. Unlike liquid paint, which can be spilled even in the best conditions, virtually the entirety of a powder coating product can be recovered and used. Some powder coating systems can be run with minimal manpower and upkeep. Air inside the powder coating systems is easily filtered before being returned back into the coating plants.

 

Produces Better Coatings

Powder coating goes on evenly with fewer chances for sagging or drips. Even oddly-shaped objects or details like holes and edges are evenly covered with the desired thickness of powder coating. Powder coating has been shown to better resist corrosion when compared to liquid paint undergoing the same conditions.

 

More Economical

Powder coating systems are more cost competitive than liquid paints, costing less for a variety of reasons including that they are 100% solids and powder recovery allows for nearly 100% material utilization. Powder coated products can withstand years of service with minimal wear and less maintenance than standard paint.

Overall, powder coating is the better option.