Jul 27, 2015 Off Comments in Powder Coating by

Powder coating become increasingly popular since it was introduced 30 years ago. Its uses have been progressively expanding into product markets. Advantages of powder coating include thicker coatings without running or sagging, faster production cycles, and much lower emissions of volatile organic compounds. In most cases, key elements of powder paint systems are natural gas-fired convection ovens, or gas-fired catalytic infrared systems.

The first manufacturers that adopted the powder coating technique included manufacturers of appliances, garden and lawn equipment, HVAC equipment, metal furnishings, agricultural machinery and construction. At present, a rising number product manufacturers have moved away from conventional liquid paint spraying showing a considerable rise in market penetration. Today, an estimated 15% of industrial coating is done with powder, and that number is growing rapidly. Expansion into new applications is supporting that growth.

Powder coatings are exceptionally flexible in their requirements for heating the coated surface at a recommended temperature for an exact period of time. Often controlled cooling at the end of the oven cycle completes the curing of the surface. Various resin types require different thermal treatments. Many newer powder products are designed for lower cure temperatures.

Importantly, powder coating effectively removes the massive evaporative losses with liquid spray coating. With liquid spray, up to 80% of the volume of paint is lost to evaporation in the curing process, and to overspray in the booth. With powder coating, more than 80% of the powder adheres to the target, and even the overspray can often be collected and reused, assuming there is not a mixture of pigments used in the spray booth.

Curing systems using gas-fired catalytic infrared panels are gaining popularity for parts or all of the process. In some cases, infrared is used to gel the paint on the objects before they enter a conventional convection oven. This shortens the bake time, allowing more production throughput.

Although powder coating was initially used only on metallic objects, techniques have been perfected for powder coating other materials, including plastic, wood, and medium density fiberboard (MDF). The MDF opportunity is important because this material is widely used in furniture, cabinets, recreational items, paneling, containers and shelving. The key to successfully powder coating MDF is to preheat the material, which increases its electric conductivity, allowing it to be effectively grounded, causing the powder to adhere to the surface. Here, the use of catalytic infrared panels makes this process effective.

Users of these systems are motivated by a desire to reduce emissions and waste, improve finished product quality, and shorten production cycles. If you are currently using the conventional liquid paint coating system, powder represents a major potential saving in production time, improvement in product quality, and a reduction in emissions. Powder coating is definitely the way of the future.

At Architectural & Industrial Metal Finishing Company, LLC, our custom powder coating lines are designed with quality and versatility in mind. To learn more or to see how we can assist you on your powder coating needs, contact Architectural & Industrial Metal Finishing Company today.