A Few Reasons Why Powder Coat is Better than Paint

Those who are not fully familiar with powder-coating may be very surprised to learn the big advantages of choosing powder coating over traditional, wet paint.  To begin with, powder-coating provides much thicker coverage; it is far more durable than conventional liquid paints; it has the ability to bend and flex without compromising the structural integrity of the coating; and a myriad of designs, textures and special effects can be achieved, which traditional paints simply cannot replicate.

 

Powder coating can be a superior finishing option for achieving unsurpassed durability and a more-professional appearance on an immense array of objects ranging from patio furniture, to motorcycle parts, to baby cribs, to hand-guns!

 

Let’s delve a bit more deeply into why powder-coating remains a superior alternative to traditional wet paint:

 

Powder Coating Is Much Kinder to the Environment

Powder coatings do not contain fluids that evaporate; and, therefore, will not emit any solvents.  As a result, volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs, are not produced.  This is important to the environment since VOCs are known to be health hazards to humans and animals in addition to being dangerous pollutants to land and water.  Powder coating produces no waste-water discharge into sewer systems or ground water, and does not contain heavy metals or carcinogenic agents.

 

Did you know powder coating over-spray can, actually, be recycled?  Unlike paint, powder-coating’s material loss can be kept under 5%, while 70% of paint is lost to over-spray during the application process.  Only a miniscule percentage of powder coating is disposed of due to its high utilization rate; and the disposal process of unusable powder is very simplistic.  Because of this, powder coating does not have to adhere to the same strict environmental controls that liquid paints do.

 

Powder Coating is Far More Flexible

Powder coating has the unique ability to bend and yield with the object to which it is applied; without the finish being compromised.  The Bend Test comes into play, here, which is one of multiple tests that ensure performance reliability and quality control.  With the Bend Test, powder coating is applied onto a .036-inch thick, phosphated steel panel where it must easily withstand a 180-degree bend over a ¼-inch mandrel without cracking or flaking—a demanding role that powder coating can, easily, meet!

 

Powder Coating Offers a Noticeably-Thicker Finish

Powder coating offers a much thicker finish that wet paint.  If we compare the physical properties, in terms of thickness-coverage between wet paint and decorative powder coat and functional powder coat, the variances are quite revealing:

 

*** Wet Paint:  0.5 – 1 mil

*** Decorative Powder Coat:  2 – 6 mil

*** Functional Powder Coat:  6 – 10+ mil

 

Powder coating beats wet paint, hands down!  A powder-coated finish can last to last up to 20 years, providing superior durability that is unsurpassed.

 

Powder Coating Cures Much Quicker

When a powder-coated item is removed from the oven, the finish is completely cured within a mere 20 minutes, meaning it can be handled and used!  Depending on the project, traditional liquid paints can require a number of days to completely cure.

 

After it’s all said and done, the advantages of powder-coating over liquid paint are quite stunning.  Everything from military equipment, to appliances, to space satellites are powder-coated; and the reasons ‘why’, speak for themselves!

Basic Powder-Coating Safety Tips

When a powder-coat medium works together with the necessary equipment and procedures, certain safety measures should be utilized to ensure the well-being of those involved with any powder-coating processes.

 

Here are some basic safety procedures that responsible operators would utilize when any item – regardless of size – would go through powder-coating which involve electrostatic operations.  The types of protective measures that should be taken during the powder coating procedures would be too numerous to mention, but the following serves as a good starting point.

 

Respiratory Protection

As expected, coating powders can create airborne dust; and they should be dealt with, appropriately, since they may cause adverse skin or respiratory reactions. When working outside of the spray enclosure, be sure to wear a disposable dust mask.  If, however, dust levels exceed the TLV, it is prudent to wear half-masks with cartridge filters.  When working inside the spray enclosure, full-face masks with a fresh-air supply need to be worn.

 

Ideally, the installation of properly-constructed spray booths should be equipped with exhaust ventilation components designed to extract dust and maintain airborne concentrations.  Additionally, the direction of the airflow should be from behind the operator, over the workpiece, and into the exhaust ducts.  Respiratory protective equipment should be worn, also, when packages of powder coats are opened, hoppers are loaded, and when unused powders are collected.  If you suffer from allergies or have difficulty breathing due to certain physiological conditions, avoiding powder-coating procedures, altogether, is prudent.

 

An extra safety precaution would include the powder-supply and coating-powder feedlines being interlocked with the air-extraction system.  The reason for this is simple:  in the event of the ventilation system failing, the coating powder and powder supplies would be cut off.  Airflow monitor switches would detect any failure of the ventilation system.  When cleaning any spills and equipment, dust-tight vacuum cleaners and/or wet brushing are preferred clean-up methods.

 

Grounding Safety

Electrical hazards can emerge if one does not take basic precautions.  Protective clothing should be worn to limit skin exposure; and overalls, footwear, and gloves should be anti-static and meet the requirements of ISO 2023/2024.  Protective covering is, especially, important in situations where powder coating concentrations exceed 10mg/m3.

 

Conditions that lead to combustion can be difficult to recognize.  To avoid combustion, methodically and regularly cleaning powder build-up from part fixtures and racks is essential.  Excess powder coating on metal fixtures or racks creates resistance to ground.  Poor grounding is the No. 1 cause of fire in a finishing system.

 

As a side-note, automatic sprinklers are required in a powder booth, as deemed necessary by OSHA.  Additionally, NFPA requires automatic fire suppression and flame-detection equipment (for automatic systems) inside booths.

Common-sense prohibitions from eating, drinking and smoking should be employed in any work area –  smoking, matches, and lighters, of course, are predictably dangerous sources of ignition.

 

Oven Safety

The oven should be positioned a minimum of 3 feet from the powder spraying installation; and powder should not allowed to accumulate or be spilled near the oven, the air intakes, any hot surfaces, or any electrical components.  With conveyor ovens,  the conveyor could, possibly stop; and to circumvent this possibility, an interlock should be in place to maximally reduce or shut down the energy source to prevent overheating and possible ignition of the coating powder.

 

Though there is far more to be covered concerning safety regarding powder application and recovery, powder coating has the potential to be dangerous if appropriate safety precautions are not taken, seriously.  Safety should, always, be the top concern during any phase of the powder coating process.

Items You Can’t Powder Coat

Power coating is an exceptional alternative to traditional liquid paint since it offers an abundance of advantages over paint:  1) unsurpassed durability 2) superior gloss retention and color vibrancy 3) unparalleled resistance to corrosion 4) far-less waste 5) much-lower energy costs 6) lack of solvents and VOCs 7) significantly more environmentally friendly and 8) an unlimited range of not only colors but finishes, designs, and textures.  As a side note:  Powder coating can be used on springs without cracking – try that with paint!

 

Everything from patio furniture to hand-guns to dentures can be beautifully finished with powder coating.  Not only that, but aside from metal and iron products, some items made from wood, MDF – medium-density fiber board, MDO – medium-density overlay, ceramic, glass and even some paper products are viable candidates for the powder coating process.

 

With all that being said, however, there are some exceptions regarding certain materials that simply cannot tolerate the heat involved in the powder coating procedure – here are a few to be aware of:

 

Some Plastics

Some plastics can be powder coated under the right circumstances, meaning temperatures during the powder coating process must remain low enough and the plastic must be durable enough.  But generally speaking, most plastics would melt once the 400 degree Fahrenheit mark is reached, or shortly, thereafter.

 

Other challenges with plastics arise, including the fact that plastics are not, inherently, good conductors of electric charge.  This would become problematic since the coating process involves an electrostatic function.  However, as powder-coating equipment evolves and becomes more sophisticated, items that were previously incapable of being powder coated are becoming viable candidates for the process.

 

Some Glass

Glass can be powder-coated, depending on the type of glass.  Just like different types of plastic cannot tolerate high heat, neither can every type of glass material withstand the heat used in a powder coating oven.  Your best bet is to consult with a powder coating professional who can determine if a certain glass object would survive the heat involved.

 

Fabrics

All fabrics have a low tolerance for extreme heat; and the oven temperatures used for powder-coating would annihilate this type of material.  Other procedures, however, can be utilized to achieve dramatic looks for fabrics, such as dye sublimation.  This, typically, involves a computer printer that utilizes heat to transfer dye onto the fabric to create endless prints, designs, and photographic images.

 

Items that Lack a Charge

As mentioned with certain plastics, in order for any item to be effectively powder coated, it must possess an electrical charge.  If no charge is present, the powder spray will, simply, not adhere.  A way around this, however, would be to preheat the non-charged item and apply the powder coat while the item is still hot which would allow the powder to melt.  This unorthodox method, however, is not always effective since an overabundance of powder coating can be, inadvertently, applied.

 

After it’s all said and done, new curing processes for powder as well as new types of powders are being developed that will allow an increasing number of materials to be powder-coated, without complications.

What Manufacturers Should Know About Powder Coating

Countless manufacturers around the world rely on powder-coating to achieve flawless, highly-durable finishes for the products they produce as well as to take, very seriously, the benefits of powder-coating over traditional, wet paint.  Appliance and automotive industries, architectural and building markets, NASA, the military, and the medical field represent only a fraction of the manufacturing arenas where powder-coating is utilized.

 

There are some aspects concerning powder-coating that manufacturers should be aware of, however, since powder-coating has made tremendous advancements that were, previously, unheard of.

 

Manufacturers Need to Know About Powder-Coating Plastics

Plastics are, of course, non-conductive and heat-sensitive; but can, still, be easily powder-coated with decorative and protective colors, patterns, textures, and designs.  In some cases, the plastic surface needs to be treated with a conductive material that will provide electrostatic attraction.  Plastic applications of powder-coating can range from office furniture, to electronics, to traffic-light housings, kitchen appliances and countless other items.  With that being said, different types of plastic have varying properties; and that means some plastics will coat, more effectively, than others.

 

When powder-coating plastics, the time used to melt the powder is short and the temperatures are low.  Low-bake powder materials are formulated to cure between 250 and 325 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the particular chemistry of the plastic, using, either, infrared ovens or convection ovens.  Another option for plastics deals with special UV-curable powder-coatings where the powder is melted at 200 degrees Fahrenheit and cured by exposure to the UV light, which takes place very quickly.

 

After it’s all said and done, regarding powder-coating plastics, there are three options:

 

***  Very-high-temperature plastics must be used, such as nylons and polyamides, with standard thermoset powders.  These plastics may require a prep-coat or a pre-heat.

 

***  Lower-temperature plastics can be used with low-temperature thermoset powder.

 

***  Lower-temperature plastics can be used with a UV cure powder.

 

Manufacturers Need to Know the Importance of Powder-Coating Glass

Powder-coating procedures can be, beautifully, performed on another non-conductive material: glass.   Powder-coating glass bottles is extremely important to help protect the ingredients from the damaging effects of ultraviolet light – its all about blocking UV wavelengths.  Alcohol and spirits contained in non-powder-coated bottles can lose their original taste and aroma since UV light acts as a damaging factor.   Additionally, cosmetics, medicines, perfumes, and other liquids can meet the same fate due to UV infiltration.

 

When glass containers are powder-coated, it means not only a preserved taste sensation and optimal aroma or performance, but a full range of colors, textures and glosses can be achieved; and that leads to enhanced package design which leads to more consumer attention.  Powder-coating glass can generate a frosted, metallic or stoneware effect and produce a transparent, translucent, opaque, matte or high-gloss finish.  If you have ever seen sparkling wine, champagne or wine bottles with a frosted appearance and velvety feel, be assured the glass bottle was powder-coated.

 

Manufacturers Need to Know About Anti-Microbial Powder Coatings

Anti-microbial powder-coatings are nothing short of astounding.  For example, surfaces on house-hold appliances and medical equipment that have been powder-coated with anti-microbial ingredients actually prevent bacterial growth.  The CDC tells us that household surfaces, such as computer keyboards and light-switch plates, are laden with up to 60X the microbial matter found on a toilet seat!

 

The effectiveness of anti-microbial powder-coating is maximized by inorganic silver that is evenly embedded through the coated film; and it can be processed at temperatures greater than 930 degrees Fahrenheit.  Silver ion is a natural, inorganic antibacterial agent that is proven to be highly effective with fighting bacteria, fungi and molds, and can be used for indoor and outdoor applications.

 

The medical-devices arena is embracing a much-greater use of antimicrobial-powder-coated equipment, as well as industries that manufacture HVAC systems, food-service equipment, humidifiers, shopping carts, escalators and a vast array of other items that provide breeding grounds for bacteria.  Anti-bacterial powder-coatings help to combat the spread of disease and infection by preventing the proliferation of not only bacteria but algae and mold fungi.  The growth of multi-resistant pathogens are thwarted, as well.  Through the use of anti-microbial powder-coating, up to 5 million germs/hour/square centimeter, are killed; and 1cm is equivalent to 0.3937 inches – quite astonishing!

Three Ways to Customize Your Car

If you are anticipating customizing your car, turning your vehicle from ‘ordinary’ into something ‘extraordinary’ is exciting, indeed!  Though there are a myriad of customization options to choose from, here are three things you can do to completely alter the look and feel of your prized possession:

 

Add an Upgraded Sound System

The nice thing about upgrading your car’s sound system is the fact that it doesn’t have to break the bank.  Replacing the speakers or adding more of them – perhaps in the door panels – would do wonders to improve the sound quality.  If you were to add a subwoofer, you can enjoy an audio experience in a wide-frequency range – maybe between 10Hz – 20kHz – along with multiple mid-range amplifier channels for dedicated power.  You would feel as if you were listening to the sound track of a movie – in a theater!

 

Whether you choose Alpine, Kicker, Sony, Pioneer, or another brand, you can add a dream audio system, in stages.  You can:

 

***  Replace the factory radio and install a new receiver to make the sound so much more rich.

***  Add aftermarket speakers which are available in every size, shape and style.

***  Enhance the power, via an amplifie which means the speakers would generate their true potential.  The details and clarity of the music would blow you away.

***  Install a subwoofer which would add optimal depth to your music.

***  Couple a dedicated amp with the sub; this way, you can achieve the ultimate in big bass sound.

 

Install Custom Leather Upholstery

When you decide on custom upholstery and have it professionally installed, your seats will receive a factory fit and look like no nobody’s business!  Tailor-made leather covers can be designed to perfectly match your car’s unique ‘persona’.  Your dream interior can be crafted from an endless array of design styles with color options that would make your head spin – hundreds of colors are available that can complement your car’s interior accents and exterior shade.  You can add stitching and piping, embroidery, and embossing to create a unique conversation piece, within, not to mention the enjoyment you will feel each time your and your VIP slide inside and feel the buttery softness of the leather.

 

You may wish to add perforations in the seats’ covering to add visual contrast and dimension – such as black leather with perforations that show a hint of red or silver, or whatever color combinations that might trip your trigger.  With embroidery or embossing, you have the perfect opportunity to add very personal detailing to your design.  Add your logo or monogram – the possibilities are limitless!

 

Powder Coat Your Car’s Parts

If you really want to make a customization statement with your car, powder-coat, virtually, any part of your vehicle to add absolutely eye-catching ornamentation!  Not only can the exterior of your car be powder-coated, but most of its parts can reap the benefits of powder-coating, as well.  Wheels, bumpers, hubcaps, radiators, accents parts, exterior trim and more are, all, excellent candidates for the powder-coating procedure. If you want to go beyond gorgeous solid colors, you choose from a huge array of metallic, candied, iridescent, fluorescent, hammer tones, glitters, various gloss levels, and so much more.  Even veins and textures can be added for one-of-a-kind dramatic detailing.

 

With powder-coating customization, your car can look like it just rolled off the factory floor!  Aside from the aesthetics, powder-coating offers your car unparalleled protection from contaminants, wear and tear, mechanical heat, corrosion and temperature extremes.

 

When it comes to customizing your car, the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination!

When to Use Powder Coating Services

If the question were asked:  “When might you use powder-coating?”, the quick answer might be:  “Any time I might want to have one or more items restored”.  And, usually, when items are restored – anything from patio furniture to automobile parts – most people, immediately, think: paint.  It is, here, however, where powder-coating takes the lead regarding any restoration project.  Since the 1960’s, powder-coating has revolutionized the finishing industry; and heat-sensitive substrates can, now, be powder-coated that could not have been, only a few years, ago.

 

The advantages of powder-coating over painting are stunning and impressive.  Compared to traditional wet paint, powder-coating: 1) is much more cost effective 2) is far more environmentally friendly 3) offers a thicker, more durable finish 4) is capable of flexing and bending 5) is far less wasteful since over-spray is miniscule and 6) delivers an unsurpassed professional finish that paint cannot duplicate.

 

Items that can be powder-coated are, virtually, countless; and this goes along with the fact that metal is not the only material that can be receive this type of application – wood, plastic, composites, glass, and medium-density fiber-board can all be, beautifully, powder-coated – even, dentures!

 

When You Might Choose to Powder-Coat

 

The types of items capable of being powder-coated are, as mentioned, too numerous to count; but if you are in the mood to breathe new life into any old or damaged items you might, otherwise, put on Craig’s List or sell elsewhere, don’t replace it; save money and transform it!

 

***  Powder Coat Your Baby Crib

 

Powder-coating is a safe, baby-friendly alternative to paint products.  Many higher-quality baby-products on the market are not painted, but powder-coated:  toys, cribs, strollers, baby furniture, car seats, and more.  Powder-coating is much more durable than paint, and can withstand the test of time where years of use and abuse would, otherwise, take their toll on painted items. Iron cribs, especially, are excellent options for silky-smooth, powder-coated finishes; and when sealed, chipping and rusting don’t stand a chance.

 

Again, any color of the rainbow would be at one’s fingertips, with powder-coating a baby crib – not to mention personalized designs or names that could be added to a crib to create a true family heirloom!

 

***  Powder Coat That Old Stove and Refrigerator

 

Colors and patterns are, virtually, limitless for kitchen appliances; and finishes can be smooth, wrinkled, matte, and roughly-textured.  If adding a chrome finish or colored finish to your older appliances is something you’ve thought about, powder-coating will do just that!  A lustrous chrome would be a timeless look; and if you dare, candy colors are, also, an option.  Candy colors cover hundreds of shades of the rainbow; and they get their stunning aesthetics from being translucent.  Wrinkle patterns, can be easily achieved, as well; and this textured finish can be seen and felt.

 

Even smaller appliances such as teapots, food processors, toasters and handles of flatware are excellent candidates for powder-coating patterns and colors, galore – you can showcase your pieces into one-of-a-kind works of art!

 

***  Powder Coat Your Boat

 

Higher-grade, weather-resistant powder-coating is maximally effective where applied to boats and yachts where salt water, intense UV rays, and humidity are ever-present in marine environments.  Powder-coating is resistant to corrosion, heat, impact, abrasion, fading, and weather extremes.  Powder-coating can, also, be used to color rails and match other boat parts, in eye-catching hues.  Clear-coating a boat’s brass-work, copper fittings, and stainless-steel fixtures will, without a doubt, preserve the inherent shine and luster, thereby, eliminating time-consuming buffing and polishing. Want your older boat or yacht to look like it rolled off the showroom floor? –  powder-coat it!

 

***  Powder Coat Your Hand-Gun

 

If you own an older fire-arm and, even, a new one and want to add some pizzazz to the finish, powder-coating offers options that will blow you away!  Imagine revolvers or pistols with black and red accents or striking black and gold MP9s!  For women who might desire a softer, more feminine touch, how about a finish in sky-blue, canary-yellow, or a pink & green camouflage pattern?  Custom finishes can, also, include candy colors, fluorescents, wrinkled & flat, high-gloss, mirror, and iridescents– the options for patterns and colors are endless and will take your breath away!

 

A clear powder-coat would provide added protection and would enhance the colored finish of the fire-arm, especially, gloss black.  Clear finishes are available in a variety of gloss-levels; and various effects can be achieved when metallic flakes are added to the mix.

 

After It’s All Said and Done

 

In your home, garage, office, or work environment, you come in contact with more items that are powder-coated than you would, ever, have imagined.  From patio furniture, to mowers, to file cabinets, to car & truck parts.  If you own any items that are yearning for a complete transformation, the wonders of powder-coating will transform your pieces from ‘old and ordinary’ into ‘exciting and extraordinary’!