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Your Straightforward Guide to Powder Coating

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If you are used to paint and lacquer finishes but new to powder coatings, then they can be a little confusing at first. However, the practice is quite commonplace nowadays in a wide range of industrial and fabrication settings. People have been powder coating metals and plastics since the process was first perfected in the 1940s. These days, it is even possible to power-coat newer materials with an adapted process. Read on to find out why this modern finishing application is so popular around the world.

What Is a Powder Coat?

A powder coating creates a very even layer of protective material over an object. Anything that has been properly power-coated will be protected from abrasion, scratches and even denting. What's more, the process can be used in just the same way as painting to help prevent oxidisation of the material beneath. Unlike painting, however, it does not streak or produce unsightly drips that might develop because of the way it is applied. All sorts of pigments can be added to the main ingredients required to form a coating of powder. As such, it is just as versatile as any other sort of finishing process you could think of.

How Is Powder Coating Carried Out?

When a coat is given to a workpiece, a dry powder is squirted at it. However, the powder does not simply blow off the object it is coating because, at the same time, it is electrostatically charged. All that is then required to complete the coating is a relatively straightforward curing process. Both thermoset polymers and certain types of thermoplastic are used as the source material for the powder itself.

What Is Involved With Curing?

Some people are dissuaded from coating their products and components with powder because they do not fully understand the curing process. This means nothing more than oven baking the coating, however. Rather than getting it to dry out, the curing process allows the powder to form a chemical polymer that means it becomes a single coating rather than lots of tiny particles. A ten-minute cure at a relatively low temperature of 200°C is all that is needed for most coatings of this type. Both infrared ovens, as well as convection kilns, are used to carry out the curing process. If you want to remove powder coating at a later date, then heating it to about 400°C is usually sufficient to make it combust, but several hours will be needed at this high temperature.