Powder coating is one of the most common and most popular types of paint application process. But does that mean it's the right choice for your job. Learn everything you need to know to make the best decision.
Powder coating is applied as a free-flowing powder in a completely dry form. Think of it as paint with the solvent part removed. The coating is applied electrostatically and then cured under heat which causes it to form a kind of “skin.” Usually powder is used to coat metals, but there are a number of potential applications.
When cured, powder coating forms a protective finish that is much harder than conventional paint. However, that does not necessarily mean powder coating is the most durable solution on the market. Depending on the application, alternatives may prove to offer a longer-lasting finish.
The powder that does not adhere to the surface being coated is collected and reused, meaning that there is little waste. And since the coating process happens in a sealed environment, there is little to no risk of air pollution. This is an advantage to be sure, but changes in industry standard mean that most contemporary coating process operate in a sustainable way.
As noted above, this process produces very little waste. There can be significant attendant costs related to the heating/curing process though.
Since unused powder particles are collected and reused, there is the risk of cross contamination. That makes precise colour matching a frequent challenge.
Powder coating is good at achieving a thick finish but basically incapable of achieving a thin finish. Projects requiring a coating build of less than 6 mils should rely on a different coating process. Along those lines, powder coating is not good at achieving a smooth finish
Over the long term, powder coating may lead to cost savings. But the initial cost of entry is significant. Operators must construct a special booth and rely on an expensive oven in order to complete the process. This can also limit the size of the object being coated.