Powder Coating is commonly used for stainless steel pipe railings. Under the action of static electricity, the powder is uniformly absorbed on the surface of the workpiece in the form of a powder coating. Usually, a powder coating is sprayed on the surface of the workpiece by powder spraying equipment.
Metal fabrication is a vital industry that supports the world's infrastructure and economy. Virtually every aspect of civilization benefits from some form of product fabricated from metal, from household appliances to vehicles. No part of daily life would be the same without metals like carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. Fabricated metal products are indispensable in today's society, provided they are properly finished.
IMPORTANCE OF METAL FINISHING
Raw metal, on its own, has some drawbacks. Without proper finishing, exposed metals can tarnish and corrode. Unfinished parts fabricated from metal are eroded by salts, weakened by ultraviolet light, and rusted by rain. Metal fabricators learned long ago that properly finishing components is the key to product durability and long life. They also knew that correctly finishing their metal products gave far better appearances that made them more valuable, not to mention more pleasing to the end user. It is a win-win for both the fabricator and the customer.
For years, metal fabricators had few viable options for finishing products. Liquid paint was the primary choice for most metal projects. Fabricators brushed, rolled, or sprayed solvent-based paint on farm tractors to fence gates. But regular paints, whether oil or waterborne, had their drawbacks too. The conventional painting took time, required proper conditions, and performed poorly unless professionally applied.
Electroplating was another metal product finishing technique. Chromium finishes were trendy in the 1950s when American autos gleamed in chrome from bumper to bumper. But chrome plating was expensive and time-consuming. Experienced fabricators knew a better finishing alternative to paint, and the plate had to be a better finishing alternative.
All benefits of powder coating for stainless steel, carbon steel, and aluminium materials deliver value for the consumer. Powder coating makes products virtually maintenance-free under everyday use. There is no need for occasional repainting. Powder-coated surfaces are washed with regular detergent and water. Overall benefits from powder coating metals include:
- Durability: Powder coating leaves metal products with a rugged and durable finish. It is perhaps the most brutal finish found on consumer goods, commercial equipment, and industrial surfaces. Powder-coated objects withstand adverse conditions like severe weather, chemical contact, and physical collision. This allows trouble-free daily use and product longevity far beyond what painted or plated surfaces can offer.
- Uniformity: Products treated with powder coating have a smooth and uniform appearance that is nearly impossible with conventional painting unless applied by a professional painter working in a sterile environment. There are no runs, streaks, or weak spots with powder coating. There are no imperfections like bubbles, dust bumps or caught insects. Every surface of a powder-coated product comes out smooth and perfect to the eye.
- Appearance: No metal finishing process gives the beautiful appearance found with powder coating. Besides being uniform and even, powder coating allows a variety of light reflection styles. Powder coats can be a high gloss, semi-gloss or matte finish. Smooth or wrinkled textures are easy to achieve. Even metal flakes and glitter can work in powder coatings.
- Economy: Another main benefit of powder coating compared to alternatives is the economy. Most powder coating jobs take less time than painting or plating. That results in fewer labor costs, and savings get passed on to the user. It also allows powder coating processors more profits in their work. Again, powder coating is a win-win for both customer and the fabricator.
- Color Variety: Powder coating colors come in a rainbow of selections. Colors are pre-mixed in the supplier's powder pigments, which is done in factory settings with computer-controlled mixing ratios. Carefully pre-mixed powders allow for perfect color distribution that is difficult to achieve with wet paint products. Black and white are the two most popular powder coating color choices. However, every color in the spectrum is available in stock powders and custom color blends.
- Custom Color Matching: Customers benefit from powder coating through custom color matches. Finish colors can be custom matched to a client's particular brand choice. This allows instant product recognition and pleasing aesthetic appeal. Commercial and industrial businesses benefit from corporate uniformity by having bold color statements custom powder coated onto their products.
- Diverse Range: A diverse range of objects can be powder coated, regardless of shape, size, and complexity. If the product can take an electric charge, it can be powder coated. Irregularly shaped pieces with tight bends and hollow cavities are difficult to wet paint or electroplate. Comparing powder coating to paint or plating, there is no challenge in coloring every surface on complicated shapes with powder coating. This gives metal fabricators freedom to design and manufacture one-piece products and not have to paint parts separately for later assembly.
- Corrosion Resistance: Rusting is always a problem for metal fabricated products. Outdoor pieces get pounded by rain, snow, sleet, and hail. Indoor products also suffer corrosion through high humidity and water exposure. Because powder-coated equipment is so thoroughly and evenly covered, there is no opportunity for moisture to seep through to metal pores. Without question, corrosion resistance is a chief benefit gained by powder coating.
- Consumer Recognition: Consumers recognize powder coating as a quality mark. Compared to conventional wet painting, powder-coated surfaces stand right out to the discerning eye. Powdered surfaces have a distinguished dry and even look unique to the powder coating process. That makes the statement of care and quality equal value and satisfaction.
Powder-coated metal finishes have considerable advantages over other finish techniques. When comparing powder coating to wet painting or plating, there is no match for the many advantages manufacturers, and consumers have when using a powder-coated finish.
Here is a quote from Rick Aquino, Business Development Manager for Pneu Mech, a global leader in turnkey powder coating solutions.
“In addition to color variety and custom matching, powder coating also delivers the highest color and gloss retention because of its resistance to mildew, mold, and corrosion, and its ability to withstand years of corrosive salt spray.” -Rick Aquino
It is no wonder that powder coating has such a large share of the metal finishing market. Powder coating offers these excellent advantages over other alternatives:
- Environmentally Friendly: Powder coating is exceptionally friendly to the environment. There are no harsh chemicals used in the powder coating process, unlike wet painting and hot plating. Oil and waterborne paints use harsh chemicals in their solvent-based and pigment additives. Electroplating uses even harsher chemicals to etch metal and make plating sticks, not so with powder coating. There is only dry powder involved, and it goes right from the spray gun to the metal surface.
- No Volatile Organic Compounds: Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, can be harmful to the environment, harsh to humans, and frowned upon by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are no VOCs in dry powders. This pollution-free process does not require the same environmental protection steps required by wet paints and hot plating, thereby saving cost and speeding up production time.
- Cost Savings: Because powder coating uses less equipment, takes less application time, and consumes fewer raw materials, it is a less expensive process than alternatives like plating and conventional painting. Powder bases are stable and have indefinite shelf lives. They offer better value and are less costly to stock. Labor cost to powder coat is also lower due to the simple two-step system used in powder coating.
- Less Waste: There is almost no waste in powder coating. Spray painting has considerable overspray that wastes paint materials. Brush and roll coatings also have a lot of waste material left in trays and containers. Virtually all expelled dry powder contacts raw metal in powder coating, and it stays there. Any residual powder is quickly recovered and can be recirculated back into use.
- Safety: Powder coating is an entirely safe process. There are no flammable solvents as in regular wet painting. Also, powder coating materials are not caustic and would not affect skin if accidentally contacted. Even inhaling dry powder coating materials is safe, although applicators should always wear personal protective equipment like respirators and goggles.
- Equipment Maintenance: Since powder coating uses dry materials applied with compressed air to electrically charged metal, little equipment is used in the process. There are no wet paint sprayers, brushes or rollers to clean. There are no electrochemical baths to maintain. That means less equipment to maintain, which is a considerable advantage for powder coating businesses. It also means less time and trouble, which converts to customer savings.
- Minimal Training: Powder coating equipment is straightforward to operate. It doesn't take the artistic skill that spray painting requires or the complex training required to learn to electroplate. Powder coating applicators quickly learn the process with minimal training and that, too, passes on to lower finishing costs for metal fabricators.
- Less Rejected Work: Because powder coating is a reliable process, there is little to no rejected work. Powder-coated metal fabrications appear flawless almost every time. Conventionally, painted pieces often show streaks, sags, and runs. Plated pieces can show flat and weak spots; this didn't happen with powder coating, and customers rarely reject finished works.
- Superior Products: Powder coating is a hands-down winner when finishing fabricated metal products. Powder coating is an environmentally-friendly, safe, and cost-effective finishing. It is a cleaner, smoother and excellent process than other finishing methods. It is no surprise that powder coating has a superior advantage in the metal finishing industry.
Powder coating is a multi-step finishing process. If you want to powder coat but are not confident about where to start, you can contact GZ Industrial Supplies for information, sales, and powder coatings services.