Powder coating is a color finishing process using powder instead of paint on metal and non-metal surfaces. It’s used on millions of products we encounter every day, either for some of the components or for the entire item. The technique gives products a smooth, professional finish that is tough, long-lasting, and has multiple other benefits. Some everyday powder-coated items include medical devices, automotive refinishing, bicycle parts, household appliances, trailers, and agricultural equipment.
Types of Powder Coating
There are many different types of powder coatings, including epoxies, polyesters, fluoropolymers, urethanes, and hybrids, and all are applied using one of these two methods:
1. Fluidized Bed Dip Process
The fluidized bed dipping process is best suited for powder coatings of parts such as bus bars, transformers, metal furniture, and fabricated wire. A tank of powder gets aerated to ensure it flows freely when components are inserted into it. The parts are heated to a higher temperature than the powder’s melting point, and then the item is dipped slowly into the tank.
The powder begins to melt and creates a smooth coating that forms a protective outer layer. This method usually achieves 100% coverage even on complex parts, as well as good edge coverage. The final thickness of the coating depends on the temperature of the part and the dip time in the powder.
2. Electrostatic Spray Deposition (ESD)
This coating method uses a spray gun to apply layers of powder to the parts as they move along a production line. The parts are heated while the spray gun sends an electrostatic charge to the powder particles, which are then sprayed onto the parts. As the powder touches the parts it immediately starts to melt, creating a smooth, even coating on the surface. After this, the parts are cured in an oven to create a durable and scratch-resistant finish.
Choosing the right type and method of powder coating depends on your specific needs. Smaller parts are often best coated in the fluidized bed, while the spray technique works best for parts that are too large for the tank. At Midwest Rubber Company, high-quality powder coating is just one of our specialties, and we offer both methods of application in a coating and color of your choice.
Benefits and Challenges of Powder Coating
Powder coating offers multiple benefits compared with other finishing techniques, including:
- Increased durability, which enables parts to last longer than non-coated components
- A weather-resistant barrier ideal for the Midwestern climate
- A protective coating and a professional, glossy finish
- Reduced waste and more negligible environmental impact because powder that doesn’t stick is reusable
- Less transmission of noise vibration, which makes it better for practical uses.
Although the powder-coating process sounds simple, achieving full coverage of large and complex components can be challenging because of machinery constraints and other factors. At Midwest Rubber Company, our extensive experience in the agricultural industry enables us to engineer innovative solutions for uniquely shaped and sized parts, particularly those that need to withstand daily outdoor use.
For more information on powder coating and help choosing the most suitable option for your requirements, please click here to contact us.