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Powder Coating Gun Settings: How It Can Affect Powder Coat Finish

January 31, 2019

Where's the fingertip controlled leading edge of a powder coating operation located? Does it take place at the oven, where the adhering powder melts? No, although the temperature controlled oven does contribute heavily as a coating quality conferrer, it doesn't actually apply the powder coating. To acquire fingertip flow control, a finely tuned, handheld particle application system is selected. Call it what it is, this is a powder coating gun.

Taking Aim: Using Powder Coating Guns

It's tempting to just call this equipment a handheld powder application tool. Truth be told, though, it's hard not to compare the tool to a weapon. It looks like a gun. A pistol grip slides comfortably into the hand, then there's that gun-shaped profile, which terminates in a nozzle. Here, the comparison ends. There are tubes and cables attached to the gun-like tool. They channel the air delivered powder and the electrical charge. There's maybe even a powder hopper attached to the pistol body. Wielding the powder coating tool, a technician expertly triggers the gun and applies a fine mist of powder, which adheres to the workpiece. Electrostatic magic is at work.

Controlling Powder Coating Gun Settings

On closer inspection, two settings draw attention. They're electrical parameters. One is responsible for adjusting gun voltage, although the label will likely read in kVs (Kilovolts). This control adjusts the strength of the electrical charge. Nearby, a current altering dial, usually scaled in microamperes (µA), regulates transfer efficiency. Third among those value sliders, an airflow regulator manages the air compressor's output power. Elsewhere, and this component should never be ignored, a system ground makes sure the controls operate effectively. Essentially, the electrical controls ensure good coverage and proper surface adherence. Having said that, couldn't the values just be locked in and forgotten? No, that's not a good move, for different surfaces benefit from different charge profiles.

On one workpiece, broad, flat surfaces abound. The gun backs away so that a uniform coating can be applied. As the distance between the workpiece surface and gun nozzle increases, the kV charge increases to compensate. In tighter spaces and those with more details, the kV setting drops. Back-ionization effects maybe cause problems at this point, so the surface dimples and develops tiny pinholes. A quick twist of the current control dismisses the effect. Of course, a tech can fine-tune any gun setting, but there's a second option. Back at the power supply, there are factory presets. These alter charge profiles. Picture one of the presets facilitating high kV flat panel work. Alternatively, finely tuning the gun's power settings, the tool nozzle moves closer to detail-coat a set of shiny rims.

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

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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