Advantages of Powder Coating in Metal Fabrication
Chances are you’ve probably heard of powder coating as it pertains to metal fabrication. And with good reason, it’s become increasingly popular in recent years. Even though you’ve probably heard the term, maybe you’re not exactly sure what it is.
In this article, we’re going to discuss what powder coating is, how it works, and its many benefits.
What is Powder Coating?
In short, powder coating is a type of finish that’s applied to metal. Prior to 1960, most metals were finished with liquid paint. This product serves to protect the metal from tarnish caused by salt, ultraviolet light, and water.
While this process of metal finishing served its purpose, scientists soon discovered that powder coating proved to be a superior finishing process to its liquid-based predecessor.
How Does Powder Coating Work?
While liquid paint finishes have color pigments that are suspended in liquid, powder coating is applied in a completely dry environment.
The process of powder coating looks something like this:
As dry powder receives a positive electrical charge, it’s sprayed under pressure to unfinished metal that has a negative charge. This results in an electrochemical change that allows the powder to stick to the metal. It’s thanks to this electric polarization that the process allows the entire surface to be coated uniformly.
Once the coat has been applied, the metal is placed in an oven at temperatures up to 425 degrees. Upon removal from the oven, the finished product is ready for immediate use.
Powder Coating Advantages
Compared to the paint-based coating practices of years ago, powder coating has some distinct advantages.
Once a piece of metal is powder coated with powder, there’s virtually no need for further preventative maintenance. This makes the process economically advantageous for consumers and businesses alike. After a surface is powder coated, it’s incredibly resistant to fading, chipping, and scratching. The surface’s color also stays bright and lasts longer than other types of finishes.
Reduced Hazards to Your Health
Due to the fact that powders don’t have a solvent, there’s a tremendous reduction in health risks to the throat, nose, skin, and mouth that are more common with liquid paint finishes. If powder does happen to come into contact with the finisher’s skin, it’s easily removed by simply washing the affected area with soap and water.
Liquid paint finishes require a lot more time and many more steps than powder coating. That’s because powder coating doesn’t require solvent, and therefore, the need for a flash off period is eliminated. Once powder coating is applied to a surface, it can be placed straight into the oven. The end result is less required space and significantly shorter processing time.
The Process is Cleaner
Applying wet paint to a metal surface can be both tricky and messy. When powder coatings are used, the spray booth can be wiped down in a matter of minutes with nothing more than a squeegee. If powder ends up outside the booth, it’s easily cleaned up with an industrial vacuum.
Paint-based liquid finishes contain untold amounts of volatile organic compounds, also called VOC’s. These contaminants can be highly toxic and when released into the atmosphere, they require costly pollution control equipment to clean up.
On the other hand, powder coating doesn’t contain any solvents and only releases trace amounts of VOCs.
Powder coating only continues to grow in popularity and by all accounts, it’s here to stay. Not only is powder coating easier to apply than paint-based finishes, but it also lasts longer, requires less maintenance, and is safer for the health of both humans and the environment.
If you have questions or are curious to learn more about how powder coating can be used in any of your metal fabrication endeavors, give us a call at MetaFab today.