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Understanding the Causes of Craters in Powder Coating

April 2, 2019

Of course, craters in powder coated finishes look ugly. The pockmarked surface undermines that aesthetically created skin, plus it destroys what should be an impervious membrane. All things considered, this is an unacceptable result. The process controller needs to take action swiftly now, so he actions a troubleshooting strategy. Determined to find the cause, that crater inducing culprit can't hide for long.

What Is Powder Coating Cratering?

It's a blemish on a coating processor's record, that's what it is. More precisely, the circular breaks in coating integrity look like lunar cratering marks. Although, obviously, no spaceborne meteors have impacted the finish. This is something else entirely. Is it the powder? Perhaps there's a formulation flaw that's producing the cratering effect? Whatever the reason, the troubleshooting team needs the answer right now, for this system break has the whole operation frozen in its tracks.

What Causes The Craters?

Let's check out the object surface. The powder is a potential process transgressor, but a surface contaminant seems that much likelier. Back with the pre-processing team leader, how well is this stage proceeding? Are all contaminants being scrubbed away from the workpiece? Going back several stages in the troubleshooting timeline, we see that stubborn oils and silicone bases and penetrating lubricants can become locked deep within a workpiece. They only come to the surface when they're exposed to heat, at which point the fluidizing coating becomes corrupted and useless. Essentially, the oily stuff sweats to the surface, then the unwanted cratering effect propagates.

A Determined Troubleshooting Approach

The worst possible course of action at this point is to assume the villain of the piece has been snagged. The operation now starts anew, and the craters are still cropping up along a completely different workpiece. How very frustrating, and not a little bit embarrassing, too. A professional diagnostic tech proves his findings. Then, if those findings prove false, the procedure continues. The blast media, another pre-processing tool, could be contaminated. Even the cubicle, an immaculately clean operations area, needs inspecting. In here, the virgin-clean dry powder is found not guilty, but there's the second powder discharging element to probe; is the compressor the true guilty party?

In this hypothetical study, it was the air compressor filters or dryers that caused the craters. Water droplets or contaminants were present in the air stream, so the compressor required some much-needed maintenance. Next time, though, it could be the blast media, or perhaps it'll be a poorly prepped component surface, which is holding a tiny quantity of hidden oil, that's found guilty of creating these ugly, seal-compromising circular discontinuities.

GP Industries Pty Ltd

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1 Regal Court,
Vermont South VIC 3133

Phone: (03) 9802 1355

Fax: (03) 9802 6027

Email: gp_ind@bigpond.com

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20 Burgess Road,
Bayswater North VIC 3153

Phone: (03) 9761 7676

Fax: (03) 9761 7671

Email: gpfactory@bigpond.com

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