Industrial powder coating: the perfect finishing touch
Industrial powder coating is a commercial coating process used by a range of industries; it is one of the core competencies we offer from our Newcastle site! You may be wondering, then, why it is so popular? Let’s take a look…
What is powder coating?
Industrial powder coating could be described as a solid paint. A blend of polymers, pigments and additives, these ingredients are melted then combined, cooled and ground into a fine powder resembling flour. Unlike paint, there are no liquid solvents present.
There are two types of industrial powder coating:
Thermosetting powder coating: powders that undergo chemical cross linking when heated and will not melt again when heat is applied
Thermoplastic powder coating: powders that melt when heated, then re-solidify and do not cross link.
Industrial powder coatings are typically applied to metal surfaces: at ADM Pressings they are used to coat parts for clients in the automotive, commercial vehicle and off-highway sectors.
However, they can also be used on non-metallic surfaces like plastics and medium density fiberboard (MDF).
Indeed, powder coating isn’t exclusively for industrial projects. It is also widely used to coat domestic products that you will use daily, such as bedframes, patio furniture and cutlery.
How it is applied
When a powder coating is being applied to an item, the surface is typically prepared to ensure an effective coating and an optimum finish. This can include:
- Blasting: to remove any corrosion, build up and other residues that could prohibit an even finish.
- Pre-treatment: preparing the surface for high-volume coating, making it easier for the pigmented powder to form a sturdy, lasting bond.
- Priming: applying a priming base before powder coating so it will better withstand the elements and more abrasive wear and tear.
Once the surface is prepared, the powder coating is applied in one of two ways:
- Electrostatic spray deposition
The most common method of applying industrial powder coating is a process called electrostatic spray deposition (ESD). ESD uses a spray gun which applies an electrical charge to the powder coating particles then directs them towards the surface being coated.
After the powder coating is applied, the surface is then placed in a curing oven where the heat causes the powder coating to melt, forming a tough, coherent film.
During this process, the coating chemically reacts to produce long molecular chains, resulting in high cross-link density. These molecular chains are very resistant to breakdown.
- Fluidized bed application
An alternative method of industrial powder coating involves dipping a preheated item into a hopper of fluidized powder. Reacting to the heated surface, the powder melts and then coats the part. Post cure may be needed depending on the mass and temperature of the part and the type of powder used.
High temperatures are required for both processes and it can take anything between minutes and hours to achieve the desired results.
Once the item has cooled, you can check if it the powder coating has been successfully applied by reheating it. If the powder coating no longer melts then the application has been completed.
The item now has a nearly impenetrable film or coating, which is thick or thin, depending on the application process.
The benefits of industrial powder coating
As we mentioned earlier, powder coating is used in a range of industrial sectors, including automotive, architectural and domestic appliances, largely because it offers the following advantages over other forms of coatings:
Durable and long lasting
Powder coated items are more resistant to the effects of impact, moisture, chemicals, ultraviolet light, and extreme weather conditions.
Therefore, compared to paint coated surfaces, they maintain their appearance for longer, less at risk of scratches, chipping, abrasions, corrosion, fading, and other wear issues and requiring fewer touch-ups or replacements.
A big tick for industrial powder coating is the endless options it gives you in terms of style and appearance, offering an incredible level of customization and flexibility.
Powder coatings are available in an almost limitless range of colours and textures, including matte, glossy, high-gloss, pearlized, neon or sparkling finishes. Stencilling techniques can also be used to create designs and artwork.
Whether you need a uniform look for multiple parts, or require a unique item for a specific project, powder coatings can provide the look you require.
Get in touch with ADM Pressings to enquire which powder coating finishes we provide.
Powder coating items usually only require one coat, making it ideal for projects that require quick turnaround and simplified production processes.
Not only that, but fewer applications means that the whole process is more sustainable, taking less time and saving resources. Indeed, powder coating overspray can sometimes even be caught and put back into the hopper for recirculation.
Single coat application also means that items require less time in the curing oven, resulting in lower heating and production costs.
Safer to use, safer for the environment
Unlike liquid paint, industrial powder coating contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
VOCs are toxic: exposure to them can cause numerous side effects, such as headaches, nausea and organ damage, and they also contribute to air pollution.
When stored correctly and used with appropriate PPE, powder coatings are both safer to use and safer for the environment, with leftover materials easier and safer to dispose of.
Experts at hand
Having in-house powder coating capacity can involve costly set up, including installing an oven, spray gun and booth, and training your team.
Luckily, there are industry experts like ADM Pressings who can carry out this work for you, producing the results you require to the highest standards and are able to quickly respond should your project requirements change.
Industrial powder coating at ADM Pressings
Industrial powder coating is a tough, long lasting and flexible solution that delivers in terms of efficiency, safety and sustainability – and it looks the business too!
If you need assembly and component products that are fully painted and ready to go, then ADM Pressings has the skills and technology to make this happen.
At our industry-leading powder coating plant, we are able to apply a high-quality finish to parts and components.
Want to know more? To discuss out how ADM can use powder coating in your project: get in touch today.