Powder Coating: What It Is And Why It Is Beneficial
Painting is one option for finishing fabricated metal items, but it isn't the only one available, nor is it always the best option. Instead, you may wish to consider powder coating. This method is ideal for use with a wide variety of fabricated products; everything from barbecue grills to bike frames to exercise equipment can be powdered coated. Below is more information about powder coating and how it can be of benefit:
What is powder coating?
Powder coating is a finishing technique for raw metal exteriors that is applied in lieu of painting. To apply a powder coating to metal, tiny polymer (plastic) particles are electrostatically charged and sprayed via a special application gun onto the metal surface. The electrostatic charge enables the plastic powder to adhere in a layer of desired thickness to the metal. Once all the powder has been applied as desired, the coated metal is heated to melt the polymer and blend it together in a smooth, continuous coating. At the end of the process, heat is continued to be applied which then cures and permanently hardens the coating.
What are the specific benefits of powder coating?
Powder coating offers a lot of benefits to both manufacturers and end users of the products to which it is applied:
Environmentally friendly and safe
One huge benefit to using powder coating to finish metal products is that it is a sound ecological alternative to painting. Powder coating does not need a liquid carrier to transfer the tiny polymer particles to the surface of the metal; that eliminates the necessity of using a volatile hydrocarbon-based product that can be both noxious and toxic. The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in some paints can be harmful if not managed, and powder coating bypasses this concern altogether. There are no flammable liquids involved in the powder coating process, which protects workers and reduces the flammability of a finished product.
In addition, the excess plastic powder that does not adhere to the metal object can be captured inside a spray booth and recycled at a later time. This benefit also serves as an economic incentive due to the reduction in material costs.
Another positive for powder coating is that it provides an attractive finish. Just like paint, the powder comes in a huge variety of color choices, and it can be blended together to form complex color patterns, even special bleed-through finishes with multiple colors. In addition to color variety, powder coating can be applied in such a way to create an orange-peel texture that is pleasing to the eye. Alternatively, superfine particles of polymer can be used instead to create extremely smooth, shiny surfaces if desired. This flexibility can make powder coating ideal for use on a variety of products, even those when appearance is of great importance.
Durability and corrosion protection
Powder coating produces a surface that is hard and resilient to abuse from both physical and chemical forces. Most solvents are unable to soften or dissolve the polymer coating, and the coating also resists scratching, chipping and gouging. Powder coating is a permanent finish that does not need maintenance or future re-applications in most circumstances. It will maintain its color vibrancy for years to come.
Not only is powder coating durable, it also provides protection against corrosion for the metal it covers. The coating tightly adheres to the metal and doesn't permit moisture to make its way between the coating and metal. This means powder coating is ideal for use with metal objects that will be exposed to the outdoor elements and even in situations where submersion is expected.
For more information and to see if powder coating is a service your fabrication company offers, contact local companies like Suburban Welding & Steel LLC.