Finishing is one of the most important processes in manufacturing.
Your finishing process is often the last touch you have on a product before it goes to the consumer. The result of a finish is often the first thing a customer sees, and it will leave a lasting impression on them. A high-quality finish is critical to a high-quality product.
However, creating a finish that is durable and consistent and holds its color isn’t always easy. Powder coating is one method that you can use to reliably achieve these results.
What Is Powder Coating?
Powder coating is a finishing process that produces an even and durable external layer on metal, plastic, and other materials. The powder coating process often begins by sandblasting the outer layer of material on an item. Sandblasting creates a smooth surface that powder can stick to easily and removes any imperfections that may have occurred earlier in production.
Once your product is ready to coat, powder is sprayed on the outer layer. Using electrostatic spray deposition (ESD), the powder receives an electrical charge as it is extruded from the spray gun. This charge helps it stick to the material evenly. After spraying, the coated product is baked, producing long molecular chains that solidify the powder into a single, smooth, and durable coat.
What Are the Benefits of Powder Coating?
Thicker, More Durable Coats
Due to the unique application methods involved in the powder coating process, the finished layer is thicker and more durable than paint. During baking, the powder not only solidifies into a single, uniform layer, it also hardens into a material that is resistant to physical and chemical abrasions. If you’re manufacturing products that need to withstand corrosive environments, powder coating can provide much better results than traditional paint finishes.
Consistent Color and Finish
When painting, it can be difficult to produce a consistent outer layer. As a liquid, paint often runs and sags during the drying process, which leads to imperfections and thin layers of protection. Additionally, paint colors often change during the drying process, and can be different depending on the amount of paint used in a particular section of the product. With powder coating, the final layer is uniform in both color and consistency, with no streaks or run lines.
Nontoxic, Nonflammable, and Better for the Environment
Powder coating is more environmentally friendly than spray painting. Due to the way manufacturers apply powder during the coating process, there are no volatile organic compounds or air pollutants released into the environment. Powder coating also produces less waste than other finishing methods, as all the unused powder remains in the finishing system to be reused.
The powder used is nonflammable and nontoxic. If your facility has high temperatures, flammable spray paint may not be a viable option. Additionally, the nontoxic nature of the powder makes it easier for your team to work with.
How to Improve Your Powder Coating Process
If you already rely on a powder coating process in your manufacturing operation, you may want to explore ways to improve it and discover additional benefits. Advancements in technology make it easier than ever to work with and optimize your powder coating system.
- Rely on automation: If you want the most consistent finishes possible, automation delivers superior results. Automating your finishing processes not only produces more reliable products, it also reduces powder coating waste. In addition, it frees up your employees to focus on other tasks, increasing the overall productivity of your operation.
- Upgrade your equipment: Technology is always evolving. Over time, older powder coating equipment will degrade no matter how much you repair or maintain it. The latest powder coating equipment gives you more control than ever before with evenly flowing powder and precise settings.
- Leverage the experts: Even with the right tools, your finishing system may not provide you with the results you need. Consider your powder coating system as a single element in your production chain. You need to work with a team that can align every production element. Working with an expert team that understands how to install powder coating systems and optimize overall production efficiency ensures that you get the most out of every device.
Find Out How OTC Can Help
Whether you want to start working with powder coating or you’re just looking to upgrade your existing system, OTC can help.
Our experienced team understands how to get the most out of these products and can work with you every step of the way. Don’t hesitate to contact us and learn more about how the right team can help you reach your production goals.
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