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Information @ a Glance

General
  • Powder coating is a type of dry coating, which is applied as a free-flowing, dry powder. The main difference between a conventional liquid paint and a powder coating is that the powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler parts in a liquid suspension form. Powder coating is an advanced method of applying a decorative and protective finish to virtually any type of metal that can be used both by industry and consumers.
  • The coating is typically applied electrostatically and is then cured under heat to allow it to flow and form a "skin." The powder may be a thermoplastic or a thermoset polymer. It is usually used to create a hard finish that is tougher than conventional paint.
  • The powder used in the process is a mixture of finely ground particles of pigment and resin, which is electrostatically sprayed onto the surface to be coated. The charged powder particles adhere to the electrically grounded surfaces until the powder is heated and fused into a smooth coating in the curing oven. The result is a uniform, durable, high quality, and attractive finish.

Process

  • There is essentially two common ways of processing powder coating: by electrostatic spray and by fluidized bed powder coating. There are several other processes that have been developed, but they are far less used. These include flame spraying, spraying with a plasma gun, airless hot spray, and coating by electophoretic deposition.
  • At each stage of the production process the quality must be checked because once the powder coating material has been produced, it cannot be changed or adjusted in any significant way. The formulation and the manufacturing conditions are therefore critical. Compared to other coating methods, powder technology offers a number of significant advantages. These coatings are essentially 100% nonvolatile, ie, no solvents or other pollutants are given off during application or curing.
  • The basis of any good coating is preparation. The vast majority of powder coating failures can be traced to a lack of a suitable preparation. The preparation treatment is different for different materials.

Applications

  • Furniture, shelving, and cabinetry components made from medium density fiberboard (MDF) are being successfully powder coated. Powder coating other wood products, such as natural wood, particle board and other engineered wood products (EWP). Several furniture and cabinetry manufacturers have had success with powder coating MDF. Pigmented powder applications to MDF have been developed and used more extensively than coating of natural wood, or clear coating of MDF or other EWPs.
  • Powder Coating can be applied to most steel, aluminum, or other metal items for indoor or outdoor use. Powder Coating is 100% paint that creates a solid coating when applied. It is more durable and longer lasting than liquid spray which is diluted.
  • A relatively new application process, called electro-magnetic brush technology, makes it possible to apply powder coatings at differential speeds and layer thicknesses on flat substrates, on both conductive and non-conductive substrates. This process is similar to that used in photocopiers and laser printers, with “toner” particles triboelectrically charged against the ferromagnetic “carrier” particles, and transported with mixing rollers to a rotating shell or drum, which has stationary magnets within it.

Technology

  • Electric IR drying and curing is used extensively throughout the finishing industry on a wide variety of coated and printed products. Metal, wood, plastic, leather, and textile products can all be processed with electric IR. The technology is cleaner, safer, and quieter than gas heating technologies and, quite often, produces superior finishes.
  • The technology of uv-curable powder coatings has been developed during the latter half of the last decade to the point where industrial use is now both technically feasible and economically attractive. The technologies used for coating MDF and other wood-based materials differ for flat panels and for 3-D objects.

Market

  • The powder coatings process is widely accepted as one of the fastest growing finishing technologies in the world, making the international powder coating market an extremely attractive one and offering a viable alternative to traditional coating techniques. The resistance of powder coatings to chipping, scratching, fading and wearing renders them one of the paint industry's most economical, permanent and colourfast quality finishes. Which is why they have penetrated so many markets with diverse product applications.
  • U.S. powder coating market at $727 million corresponding to 341.6 million pounds of total production, reflecting an average price of $2.13 per pound. Compared to revenues in 1999 of $899.2 million from 337.2 million pounds with an average price of $2.67 per pound, the market has grown only on a volume basis. Mexican powder coating market has not been immune to the global economic slowdown, their hardships have not differed greatly from their counterparts north of the border.

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