The Benefits of Powder Coating

 

Powder Coating provides benefits for both the consumer and the finisher.

The Consumer realizes a product who’s finish is the best looking and longest lasting available with an environmental footprint that is much more eco-friendly than that available when the product is coated with a liquid coating.

Powder coating is currently used on many products that we encounter on a daily basis and include such products as household appliances and outdoor furniture, all the way to earth moving equipment and grain storage bins. For a more complete list of products that are powder coated go to the Powder Coating Institutes Application page here.

The result of choosing a product that is powder coated is that it will have the most attractive, durable, high-quality finish available.



The Finisher gets to provide the consumer with the above benefits of a high quality coating and in addition, he receives the following:

Reduced Make-Up Air Required

Powder coating is a relatively clean process which allows the exhaust air from the spray booth to be filtered and returned to the shop area. A liquid coating spray booth requires a continuous high volume of air to be exhausted to the building exterior and as a result the exhausted air must be replaced with fresh heated air. For example: A relatively small 10’ high x 10’ wide liquid crossflow booth exhausts approximately 10,000 CFM of air to operate properly. The energy cost to replace this amount of exhaust air with heated air in the winter when it is minus 20 degrees outside can be costly.

Lower Heating Costs for Curing Oven

The exhaust requirements for a powder coating oven are considerably lower than ovens for solvent-based coatings which require high exhaust volumes to ensure the removal of VOC’s and volatile solvents. This results in energy savings by minimizing the amount of exhausted air that needs to be replaced and reheated to cure temperatures.

High Material Utilization Efficiency

With proper application and recovery equipment, quality powder material and one-coat application, 95%-98% powder utilization efficiency is attainable versus an average of 60% material utilization in a state of the art electrostatic liquid system.

Higher Production Rate

In most applications to obtain a comparable finished product, a single coat powder coating system is equal to a liquid system which usually requires multiple coats (primer and a coat or two of top coat) with the resulting wait times between coats as well a lag time while waiting for the coating to cure to the point that it can be handled prior to packaging and /or shipping. With powder, after the parts have cured and cooled they are finished and may be packaged and shipped or used. No additional cure time is required.

Minimal Training Requirements

Minimal operator training and supervision are required for powder coating. Employees prefer working with dry powder due to the lack of fumes, reduced housekeeping problems and minimum clothing contamination. A less complex coating process leads to less coating errors which results in minimal scrap or refinishing costs, reduced labor costs, and reduced operating costs.

Lower Reject Rates

More parts can be coated with fewer rejects because powder coating is hard to make run, drip or sag.

Reduced Waste Disposal Costs

Unused powder can be reclaimed and returned to a hopper for recirculation through the system, with negligible waste. Typically, scrap powder is not classified as hazardous waste material and doesn’t require any specialized disposal.

Negligible VOCs and HAPs (hazardous air pollutants) Free

Currently pollution control device requirements on spray booths is not widespread in Canada, but it is a fact that some jurisdictions are beginning to require them and it won’t be too many years before they will be required everywhere.

Powder coatings contain no solvents and therefore emit negligible, if any, polluting VOCs into the atmosphere and will likely not require any pollution control in the process. Liquid finishes contain solvents, which have pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are released during the spraying and curing process and are being or soon will be targeted as requiring control devices to limit or eliminate emissions levels. The equipment required to meet these requirements will be costly to purchase and/or install and in a powder coating operation they will not be needed.

Simplified Permit Process

The permitting process for a powder coating operation is less complex than a liquid coating system. Compliance with applicable codes and government regulation is easier, saving both time and money.

Quick Return On Investment

The initial expense of capital equipment is the major reason that powder coating has not become the major coating in use today. If you have the business to keep a powder coating system, whether manual or automated, working 6-8 hours a day, and 200 days a year, you will find that the cost savings that you generate will pay for the system in somewhere around a year.

Powder coating does have some drawbacks and those include the inability to coat products that are thermally sensitive due to the curing process, and difficulty in attaining a superior bond when recoating. Most of the other hurdles to powder coating such as quick color changes and product size have been overcome in the past few years with advancement’s in equipment design and handling, as well as innovative new powder technologies introduced by the powder manufacturers.