For businesses that are looking to build the best products while simultaneously optimizing production and minimizing costs, it’s important to analyze every aspect of your supply chain. When it comes to metal fabrication people may not be aware of some of the differences between wet paint and powder coating. Both provide color, texture, and durability to a product, but what other factors should you consider when deciding whether to switch from wet paint to powder coating?
Powder Coating Provides Durability
Whichever coating you decide to use is meant to protect the underlying metal from corrosion and allow the product to better withstand the effects of the elements it is exposed to. For products that require a high level of durability, especially those that are used in industrial applications, powder coating is most often the preferred method. Powder coating can be used to create a thicker layer that adheres to the metal better, providing a better layer of protection than attainable with wet paint.
This extra durability also means that the color of the coating will last longer. Exposure to sunlight and other elements causes the coating to fade, and wet paint is prone to fading more quickly than powder coating. This also affects the rate of corrosion, where powder coating again takes the lead in preventing moisture and other chemicals from eating away at the underlying metal.
One of the biggest questions we get from our customers when talking about different coating options is regarding cost. Naturally, when you’re considering switching out some component of your production, you want to know how it’s going to affect your bottom line. In general, the cost differential between wet paint and powder coating is relatively small.
The labor associated with the application of powder can add cost, as it requires specific tools to apply the powder through a special process. The One way we’ve been able to work with our customers to lower the cost of powder coat application is by employing a slightly more manual process which allows us to have a quicker changeover time. This gives us more flexibility when we run our jobs, allowing us to do shorter runs of colors more efficiently. We’ve also worked with customers to supply discounts for repeatable schedules. Customers can drop off their parts on the same day each week allowing us to block off time in our schedule specifically for their parts, providing cost benefits for both of us.
A final thing to consider between wet paint and powder coating is the impact on the environment. Wet paint contains Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) that can be toxic if inhaled in large quantities. Certain states have regulations against VOC’s which makes it something to be aware of depending on where your products are sold. Powder coating, on the other hand, is environmentally friendly with no VOC’s or other solvents used in its production or application.
It’s your choice
In the end both wet paint and powder coating will provide a protective layer for your metal components. Wet paint has been around for a long time while powder coating is relatively new. It is known to be more durable than wet paint, meaning it keeps its color and provides better protection against corrosion, which is of utmost importance for industrial uses. It is more environmentally friendly than wet paint yet may be more expensive in the long run.
Wet paint is able to be applied in very thin coats where powder coating is better suited to thicker coats, is less expensive, and has a slight advantage when it comes to color matching. Whichever you choose, it’s up to you. If you have questions though or want to better understand how we can work with you to optimize your coating process, please feel free to reach out.