Written By Royce Rowe From keystonekoating.com
Metal fabricating can be a lengthy process. From cutting, bending, welding, grinding, and polishing, you put metal parts through a specific set of steps to get them how you want them. Sometimes there’s an extra step at the end — painting. If the customer wants their parts to be a specific color, you have to figure out how to fulfill their request.
Some people pull out a can of liquid paint and a paintbrush to add the color they require. Many businesses turn to a more efficient and reliable method — powder coating. This method of painting metal has proven to be a huge asset for fabricators in recent years, and it comes with several key benefits.
What Is Powder Coating?
Powder coating is a method of painting metal parts that’s much different from traditional painting methods. The way it works is that powder of a certain color is sprayed onto the metal surface, which holds an electrical charge. The charge causes the powder to adhere to the surface, and it is baked on once the spraying is done.
The Advantages of Powder Coating
There are several advantages to powder coating that lead many companies to use it. A couple of the top benefits are exceptional durability and longevity. In addition, powder coating can save a company money and help it be more environmentally conscious.
Learn more about the advantages of powder coating:
If your part has been powder-coated, it will be highly resistant to wear and tear no matter what it’s used for. The coating is resistant to chipping, fading, scratching, and wearing. This durability makes it well-suited for metal parts that come into contact with sunlight and other environmental factors.
Polyester powder coating and other forms are regularly used on everything from farm equipment and exercise equipment to railings and vehicle bumpers. With this level of durability for so many surfaces, you can expect your finish to stay intact for a long time.
Fading is a concern with paint, but powder coating can help slow the fade and keep your parts looking great for years to come. UV-resistant powder coating consistently protects the look of your products over a long period of time.
Besides being a very durable finish, powder coating also protects the metal underneath from damage. For example, rust is one of the big dangers to metal parts, especially if the metal is exposed to the outdoor air and moisture. Powder coating’s rust resistance is a very popular feature, especially in high-risk areas
Powder-coated parts are extremely easy to maintain over an extended period of time, partly due to their durability. Since the material is so durable, you can expect your powder coating to maintain its appearance for a long time. The thermal bonding process ensures the coat will be resistant to many weather and environmental factors.
Of course, that doesn’t mean your parts won’t get dirty — dirt and dust may accumulate on the parts as they’re used. Users will likely have to clean them off occasionally, whether because the dirt looks bad or it’s preventing the part from doing its job. If your part is powder-coated, correct cleaning procedures with light scrubbing and using water to leave the color intact. This easy cleanup allows your customer to use your parts for a long time and perform standard maintenance whenever needed without acquiring water or scrubbing damage.
3. Time and Money Savings
In the long run, powder coating can save you a significant amount of money. The process of powder coating a metal part is far quicker than other painting methods. Powder coating doesn’t have to wait to dry, and it requires much less manual labor since it gets sprayed on. With powder coating, the whole process happens at once — the powder is applied and then immediately cured, and that’s it. This quick application process means you can get through a high number of parts and surfaces, while also reducing labor costs.
In addition to a fast application process, powder bases have an extended shelf life, meaning they can be stored for future use without worrying about extra costs from not fully utilizing the coating inventory. Compared to other methods, powder coating uses fewer raw materials and less equipment, lowering overall costs. Additionally, there’s not much waste generated during the application process, saving you costs related to painting waste and cleanup.
On top of everything else, powder coating is a very environmentally friendly way of coloring a metal part. Even though it’s applied by spraying powder onto the part, the powder doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals designed to make it stick. It adheres to the metal through the electrical charge on the surface, so no solvents are used. Usually, the dry powder goes straight to the metal when sprayed, and the powder that enters the air is easy to clean up.
One of the major ways powder coating removes threats to the environment is the elimination of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds are especially dangerous to the environment, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discourages their use. The EPA cites that when used in products, VOCs can linger and potentially expose people to high pollutant levels. VOCs are often found in traditional liquid paints.
The dry powders used in powder coating do not have any VOCs included in them. The lack of VOCs makes powder coating much more healthy for the environment. Powder coatings also don’t put users and those around them at risk of inhaling VOCs, which can prevent serious health concerns.
The result of using powder coating is that you don’t have to worry about the environmental impact of the coating process. Its cleaner environmental footprint allows you to produce parts with a clear conscience.