Why Do You Need to Use High Temperature Masking Tapes When Powder Coating?October 6, 2017
If powder coating technology is so advanced, why do you need to use high-temperature masking tape? This question and others like it are bound to crop up from time to time. To answer the question in the simplest possible way, there are areas on workpieces that are not meant to be coated in this hardened shell. Which areas are masked? More importantly, what makes this masking tape the right fit for the job?
Some Reasons for Applying a Mask
From a purely aesthetical perspective, you mask parts because you're after a unique finish. In aftermarket rims, you're maybe attempting a two-tone look that you saw on the rims of a sports car. The garage mimics that rim style by using two passes to apply the two different finishes. Similarly, and this example applies to the thicker powder coatings on the market, you'll not want the threads on a bracket piece covered in that protective membrane. Sure, the cured powder will look amazing, but now the thread no longer mates to its fastener. Just like the prep work, the masking stage requires time and a measure of artistry, so a workshop that's well-versed in this craft is recommended.
High-Temperature Masking Benefits
First of all, that masked section is going into the curing oven. This has to happen if the liquefying powder is to properly obey the lines that the tape has temporarily added to the piece. Before any other consideration, then, the powder coating mask must be able to resist the temperatures used in that hot oven. Otherwise, the polyester or polyimide film will burn and flake. The end result is a jagged line, an entirely amateurish finish. Use the right tape, a plastic adherent that adheres to the workpiece when the oven really ramps up the heat. Next, this product must precisely conform to the geometry of that part so that the powder does not seep under the lined barrier when the particles melt and flow. Finally, and this is an important point, the tape must come off without issue at the end of the process, so no tearing can occur, nor can the adhering base leave behind any sticky residue.
Crisp lines are the goal when edges and surfaces are masked with high-temperature masking tape. That strip of film is rated so that it matches the thermal profile employed inside the oven. It's also designed to come off the finished part at the end without leaving behind any sticky mess, which is an impressive feature, considering the applied heat inside that baking hot oven.
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