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Powder Coat vs. Liquid Paint

powder coating

Worker wearing protective wear performing powder coating of metal

There are basically two methods manufacturers use in painting their metal products: liquid painting and a dry powder coat process. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Power coating, for instance, is not used on rubber surfaces because enough heat is used in the process to melt the rubber surface.

The powder is applied electrostatically. Once the object is thoroughly covered, it is placed in an oven. The heat turns the powder into a liquid that forms a “skin” of paint that is tougher than conventional liquid paint. Because no liquid is used, powder coating can also produce a thicker single coat without the problem of running or streaking.

The most common way to apply powder coating to metal objects is with an electrostatic spray gun, or corona spray gun. The gun directs a positive electric charge to the powder before it is sprayed towards the object to be painted. Either mechanical pumps or compressed air are used to force the electrostatically charged paint towards the work piece.

Because of the tough, durable surface, powder coating is a favorite among manufacturers of metal products like household appliances, automobiles, sporting devices and other items made mostly of metal.

Here are some differences between power coating and sprayed or dip-coated liquid painting:

Advantages:

1. Powder Coating is a pollution free process using no environmentally unfriendly agents like solvents or thinners.

2. The harder powder-coated surface is more resistant to chipping, scratching and fading than other surface covers.

3. Powder coating is able to offer an unlimited selection of colors, gloss levels, clear or metallic coating, and different textured finishes.

4. Because a powder coat is applied dry and clings to the surface evenly before the heated curing stage, it will not sag or run.

5. Powder coating is especially resistant to heat, corrosion and most solvents and chemicals. A powder coat finish resists fading from sunlight, and it holds up well against cracking, scratching and peeling.

Disadvantages:

1. Extra thin coverage (µ25 microns) is difficult to obtain using powder. While it is relatively easy to apply thick powder coatings with smooth, texture-free surfaces, it is not as easy to apply smooth thin films.

2. Powder colors cannot be mixed to obtain different colors and shades. In today’s manufacturing, however, where industrial colors are called out in specific shades and mixes, this is not a significant problem.

3. It is difficult if not impossible to color-match touch-up repairs on damaged power coated surfaces.

4. Powder coated colors can break down when exposed to the sun’s UV rays between 5 to 10 years.

All things considered, the advantages of using powder coating over liquid paint outweigh the disadvantages. The hardness, sleek finish, durability and unlimited color and finishing choices are the main reason your motorcycles, refrigerators, fishing rods, bicycles, automobiles and a myriad of other manufactured goods shine with power coated surfaces.

Call the powder coating experts at 414-744-3996 to find out what we can do for your metal parts.