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Common Issues of Metallic Powder Coating

February 14, 2019

Metallic powder coating techniques add a polished glossy shine to workpiece surfaces. A dulled motorcycle exhaust looks factory fresh when it's coated in a chrome-like finish. Vehicle rims, ATV frames, even exterior car trims, they all gain that classic flashy metallic shine when powder coating processes use metallic tints. That much is true. What's not pleasing, not in the least, is a flaw in a high-gloss metal finish.

Flawed Metallic Finishes

This is a uniquely challenging sector of the powder coating market. Sometimes, because this is such a singular market branch, a powder coating company will choose to specialize in metallic finishes. There are more than enough car and motorcycle enthusiasts out there to assure a successful business, even one that specializes in one finish type. Anyway, having said that, what flaws can be expected when metallic powder coating work goes wrong? The following list shows us these issues:

• Corrosion issues
• The glossy coating ages and dulls
• Surface consistency problems
• Colour instability

Unfortunately, this highly desirable finish hasn't always been easy to reproduce. How do we guarantee a metallic lustre, then?

Redefining the Two-Phase Process

In the past, and many shops still use this approach, mica and aluminium particles were mixed with dry powders. For a gold effect, copper or brass flakes were added. Zinc came last, usually as a corrosion retardation material. The problems occur when different materials mix. If the electrostatic gun and its power supply aren't finely set, flaws accumulate. It's an unforgiving process, one that can cause any or all of the above-bulleted issues. Clear coatings reduce corrosion problems. Zinc additives further minimize the problem. Of some challenge, it's tough to pull off the car paint effect, with the metallic flakes scattering light so appealingly. Different gun nozzle configurations help, but be aware of possible flow blockage issues as the flake size increases.

Utilising Bonded Metallic Coatings

Newer solutions put the metallic flakes inside nanocapsules, which also contain the powder coating additives. Now, with the two-phase mix/distribution issues overcome, the finish gains its renowned lustre. The flake size is no longer limited here, so the fluidised finish gains its metallic light dispersing and reflecting effect. It's the same with the mica particles, which add a pearlescent look to the coating.

A unique skill set has grown to regulate this sector of the powder coating industry. It applies separate mixes of dry powder and metal flakes, of mica and special additives. Then, when finished, there are clear coatings that bring out the metal lustre. Of issue, flake size and unpredictable mixing patterns can impact the sheen and corrupt an otherwise consistent metallic glow. Newer bonded metal nanoparticles are currently eliminating such troublesome process flaws.

GP Industries Pty Ltd

Head Office

1 Regal Court,
Vermont South VIC 3133

Phone: (03) 9802 1355

Fax: (03) 9802 6027

Email: gp_ind@bigpond.com


Factory G,
20 Burgess Road,
Bayswater North VIC 3153

Phone: (03) 9761 7676

Fax: (03) 9761 7671

Email: gpfactory@bigpond.com

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