For years, powder coating has revolutionized the metal fabrication industry, providing metal products with a durable and aesthetically pleasing finish. It offers many benefits, such as enhanced protection against corrosion, abrasion resistance, and improved overall durability. As many of you may know, several types of powder coating are available, each with its own unique set of properties and applications. We are charting different types of powder coating we provide and recommend using them for your next project below; follow along for the full scoop!
Integrated Manufacturing Solutions (IMS) offers a variety of metal powder coat paint options to meet your unique industrial project needs and budget. The powder coating process involves spraying or manually applying a mixture of finely ground pigment and resin particles onto the metal’s surface.
Thermoset Powder Coating
One type of powder coating available is thermoset powder coating, made from a mix of Polyurethanes, Polyurea, Polyester, Vinyl, and Polyimide resins, pigments, and fillers.
As the coating powder heats and melts, it flows around the surface of the object being coated and undergoes a chemical change called cross-linking, forming a tough, solid surface that protects the object being coated. The exact nature of the protection depends on the type of thermoset powder being used, with different formulas being chosen depending on the requirements of the coating project.
thermoset coatings form a tough, impact-resistant coating with excellent corrosion resistance. However, they also tend to display poor UV resistance, so they are most frequently used for internal applications.
thermoset coatings form a beautiful, thin glossy coating with excellent UV resistance and good chemical and corrosion resistance. However, they are less hard-wearing than other options.
thermoset coatings provide a rugged performance once cured but are highly UV resistant, making them an ideal choice for outdoor applications.
thermoset coatings produce excellent, hard-wearing coatings with high gloss resilience and present a versatile option that performs well in most applications.
Thermoset powder coatings are known for being very strong and resistant to wear and tear. Because of this, they are perfect for use on car parts and other high-stress parts. They can also stand up to chemicals, UV light, and very high or low temperatures to be used outside.
An almost limitless range of powder coating paint colors and finishes from matte to high gloss is available in thermoset powder coating.
Thermoplastic Powder Coating
Another type of powder coating is thermoplastic powder coating, made from a blend of Polyethylene, Nylon, Polypropylene, PVC, and Polyester polymers that can be molded and reshaped when heated. Applied in powder form, the heat melts the coating allowing it to form an even, thick finish that forms a robust layer, which will melt when reheated to aid repairs, unlike thermoset coatings.
Polyethylene-based thermoplastic coating materials were the first to be used as powder coating services. They offer high levels of corrosion resistance and excellent electrical insulation properties.They are often used in applications where users interact with the objects frequently.
Nylon-based thermoplastic coatings are hard-wearing with an extremely low coefficient of friction and, as a result, are often used for bearings and other applications with moving parts.
Polyvinyl (PVC)-based thermoplastic coatings retain flexibility, which makes them ideal for use in applications where parts are fabricated post coating such as in bending or drawing.
Polypropylene-based thermoplastic coatings offer robust protection and similar qualities to polyethylene in terms of weather and corrosion resistance.
Polyester-based thermoplastic coatings have excellent adhesive properties, requiring no primer treatment. They are weather-resistant, staying colorfast and withstanding the elements, making them very useful for outdoor metal applications.
Thermoplastic powder coating is known for its flexibility and toughness, making it ideal for use on products subjected to impact or stress. They can be laid down in much thicker coatings than other powder coating paint options. Thermoplastics offer a one-layer solution for even the harshest of environments.
In addition, thermoplastics are chemical resistant and waterproof, making them an ideal option for adding corrosion resistance or use in harsh environments. They are also resistant to abrasion, making them suitable for use on products that come in contact with rough or abrasive surfaces.
Thermoplastic coatings are made to give mild steel, aluminum & galvanized steel a hard-wearing & long-lasting finish. They are UV-resistant, so the color retention is optimal. They have a glossy appearance and are available in various colors. These products perform excellently in color and gloss retention, and they have a pleasant & smooth feel when touched.
Which is Best: Thermoplastic or Thermoset?
The choice depends entirely on the application, with thermoplastics offering a quality finish and excellent adhesion to metal surfaces, good electrical insulation, corrosion resistance, and excellent impact resistance, with high levels of chip resistance keeping the integrity of the coating intact even in challenging environments.
Thermoset materials are more resistant to high temperatures, have higher strength, and have more finish choices. Thermoset is also more cost-effective, but the inability to recycle material does make it less sustainable than a thermoplastic alternative.
Each has its benefits, and one will be preferable to the other in different scenarios. The choice is not either, but which material suits the part and performance features you require.
Specialized Powder Coating
There are also specialized types of powder coating available for specific applications. For example, electrostatic powder coating is a type of powder coating that is applied using an electric charge to attract the paint particles to the surface being coated. This type of coating is often used for products that require precise and consistent coverage, such as electronic components.
Powder Coating in Manual Batches
Powder coating in manual batches involves manually applying dry, powdery paint to a surface and curing it under heat. This process is typically used for smaller projects or coating individual components rather than entire products.
Manual batch powder coating can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, especially for larger projects. It is also more prone to variations in quality and consistency than automated powder coating systems.
However, it can be a cost-effective option for smaller projects or coating individual components, allowing for high control and precision in the coating application.
Automated Powder Coating Systems
Automated powder coating systems are machine-based systems used to apply and cure dry, powdery paint on various surfaces. These systems are often used for large-scale production or for coating entire products, such as automobiles, appliances, or outdoor furniture.
Automated powder coating systems offer many advantages over manual batch powder coating. They are generally faster, more efficient, and more consistent, and they can handle larger quantities of parts at a time.
They also allow for greater control over the coating process, including adjusting the amount of paint applied and the curing temperature. However, they may be more expensive to set up and operate, and require more specialized equipment and trained personnel.
How To Find the Right Service for You
When trying to find the ideal powder coating services for your needs, there are several key questions that you should consider:
- What are the size and volume of the parts you will be coating?
- What is the nature of the parts you will be coating? Do they have intricate shapes or features, or are they relatively simple?
- What are the performance requirements for the powder coating? Do you need high durability, resistance to chemicals or UV light, or other specific properties?
- What is your budget for the powder coating services?
- What is the level of automation that you require? Do you need a fully automated system, or will you consider a manual batch system?
By answering these questions, you can narrow your options and find the ideal powder coating paint service.
The team at Integrated Manufacturing Solutions (IMS) is ready to help you find the answers to these questions and start you on your powder coating journey. Contact us today to get started with your industrial powder coating needs!
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