When a tough, scratch resistant and durable finish to a product is required, powder coating is often the best choice.
Not only is it far superior to paint in terms of the protection it offers, modern techniques mean that in addition, it is also more cost effective than traditional painted coatings. So what exactly is powder coating and how does it differ from paint? Read on to learn more about this important metal coating technique.
Powder coating – a brief history
Powder coating is a fairly modern development that only came into widespread use from the 1950’s onwards. Until then, metal coating typically involved spraying organic polymers onto a metal surface in a powder form carried in a fluid base. The end result, whilst robust, was not suited to all environments and also posed another key issue – the presence of airborne Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which even when non-toxic can present a danger to health – especially to those working with such substances on a regular basis.
A significant change to the metal coating process came in 1953, when a German Scientist called Dr. Erwin Gemmer registered a patent for the fluidized-bed method for the processing of thermosetting powder coatings. Experiments were conducted with various materials to achieve resistance to different conditions and included materials such as PVC, epoxide and Nylon.
Such coatings, however, were far thicker than desirable, and research in the USA soon discovered an electrostatic process that allowed for substantially improved results. By 1964, the electrostatic application of epoxy based thermosetting polymers had become the new standard.
Continued advances in technology mean that today, powder coating is the most popular choice for a huge range of applications.
Why choose powder coating?
The primary reason for choosing powder coating is its superior strength and durability compared to traditional paint. This means that it is the most suitable finish for many items such as household appliances, bicycles, automotive parts, external housings and cabinets and many more. It is ideal where a weatherproof finish is required, and is tough enough to withstand cracks and scratches that would quickly destroy a painted finish. It is also highly resistant to solvents and therefore better suited to environments where there is a likelihood of exposure to chemicals.
Compared to paint, powder coating allows a much thicker finish to be achieved without failing and allows a highly consistent finish to be achieved across large areas and for entire production entire runs. It is generally cost effective and more environmentally safe.
In addition, powder coating also allows specialty effects to be achieved that are not possible with other finishes.
How does powder coating work?
Here at Hitherbest, We have an automated track system that allows us to coat multiple surfaces of up to 4m long and 1.5m wide and a powder coat box oven capable of covering 3m2 at a time. Our combination of manual and mechanical spray guns allow us to achieve superior accuracy.
After preparing the surface, it is then electrically charged. Dry powder with the opposite electrical charge is then applied; the difference in charges means that the powder is attracted in a consistent film over the intended surface.
Finally, the surface or product is cured under heat to finalise the finish and give it the tough, resistant finish that this process is known for.
At Hitherbest of Telford, we are experts in powder coating, with an in-house facility that allows us to offer our customers superior results every time. To talk to our experts and find out why we are the first choice for your powder coating and sheet metal fabrication needs, call us now on 01952 632100 or click here to contact us online.