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The Powder Coating Process: How Does It Work?

October 30, 2015

Our first tentative look at the powder coating industry was intended as a speculative evaluation of the overall process. There was an exploratory look at the powder. We broke the powder down into its constituent parts, into resins and additives, pigments and dyes. A heat source, an oven or large heated chamber, baked the compounds, thus forming a tough skin that could resist pretty much anything. Let's add some practical know-hot to the principles behind this dry finish process, some details in the shape of figures and facts.

Painting in the Details

Parts undergoing a coating cycle require prep work before the technique can start. Grease and dirt is cleaned from every crevice, and the newly cleaned piece of apparatus is rinsed. Next, the material has to be grounded. This step is essential. It ensures the positively charged powder adheres to the grounded part as the spray is discharged. Incidentally, spray guns are one of two methods used in this environmentally-friendly surface protecting industry. The alternative method involves the use of a fluidized bed, an open-topped container that again provides a positive charge. In this case, instead of manually spraying a special gun, the component is dipped into an awaiting basin, a pit filled with charged powder. Now, we promised some facts and figures on top of these discrete stages, so here they come. Particle size varies between 30 to 80 μm, a fine diameter discharge that ensures uniform coverage when the powder melts and flows. It's the job of the oven, a heated chamber that sends the local environment soaring to a blisteringly hot 200° C (390°) that triggers the melt phase, after which the newly formed skin coalesces, thus concluding the curing stage.

Outlining the Perfect Durable Finish Takes Planning and Expertise

The material to be coated is matched with the optimal powder, a thermosetting or thermoplastic polymer base that exhibits client-specified finish characteristics. These begin with durability and weatherproofing, but there's really no end to the possibilities. Special additives infuse the newly sealed surface with texture, adding veins, antique pebbling, a burnished metal look, or any of a thousand other finishes. Meanwhile, the dye is released from the powder. It flows to infuse the surface with a colourful veneer or a smooth, silky matte look. Glossy or metallic finishes are popular, as they're the ideal match for motorcycle exhausts and car wheels.

The expert services of a trained technician ensures the right polymer is selected, one that's based on the client's visual and physical specifications. Guidelines help in this respect, but they're no substitute for experience. For example, the Australian metal finish standard, the AS/NZS 4506 guideline, will aid in applying a high quality thermosetting shell, but it's still up to the staff at the powder coating facility to instigate these codes in a manner that satisfies the customer.

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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