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Electrostatic, Low Grade Ion, and Tribo: Charging Processes Used in Powder Coating

May 16, 2019

Generally speaking, powder coating operations utilize electrostatic technology. With the charging process triggered, a negatively charged dry powder exits the gun nozzle. Nearby, within the sealed booth, a grounded workpiece attracts the grains, until they uniformly cover every square centimetre of that electrostatically charged part. Let's skip the generalities and go straight to the specifics. Responsible for generating the static charge, there are several types of powder manipulating technologies.

The Electrostatic Charging Process

It's the job of an electrostatic power supply to generate a high-voltage, low current charge. That static charge ionizes the powder. Then, with the ionized stream driven by compressed air, it creates an airborne envelope of negatively charge particulate matter. That's essentially how electrostatic powder coating works, with the ionized cloud attracted to the grounded workpiece. The charging unit and the electrostatic gun both have dials and switches, which are used to refine the powder's charge. By adjusting these settings, the operator can avoid subpar surface coverings.

Opting for Tribo Equipment

The differences between the three powder coating charging processes are fairly noticeable. For one thing, Tribo guns generate their charges by using friction. The powder speeds through the gun, where it "rubs" against a Teflon lining. As this rubbing effect accelerates down the powder gun barrel, the little capsules become positively charged. The solid-state, high-voltage electrostatic power supply is gone, for the "Tribostatic" process propagates as a result of frictional rubbing. The two dissimilar materials, the powder and the Teflon lining, rub together inside the Tribo gun.

Low-Grade Ion Charging

This equipment requires an extra fitting. Known as a SuperCorona, this additional output accessory installs as a retrofitted gun section. It's this gun attachment that draws away some of the charged spray's free ions. The charge is instead fed back to the ring and grounded. In effect, the low-grade ion accessory refines the spray by reducing ion density. Using this approach, retrofitted electrostatic guns can regulate their outputs more precisely. This is a particularly useful attachment to own if the workpiece to be powder coated requires a thicker, smoother film. Furthermore, the accessory has the wherewithal to deliver other desirable coatings perks, including a reduction in back ionization unevenness.

And there we have it, there are three different charging processes available. If one method doesn't deliver good results with a certain powder type, switch to one of the other systems. Of note, the Low-Grade Ion system can work with regular powder guns as long as the accessory can be retrofitted onto that tool. For the Tribo charging process, however, an entirely new gun type will need to be purchased.

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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