Powder Coat vs Paint

The world comprises essential binaries: men versus women, good versus evil, conservatives versus liberals. While most of these opposing forces get a lot of public attention in a matinee-style grudge match, some of these binaries only surface when they become essential in specific elections. In the world of sheet metal fabrication, the clash between the best finishing techniques for a particular product is determined by a split decision. The difference between powder coating and wet painting or plating is by no means unanimous but is decided on a case-by-case basis. To better understand which sheet metal finishing technique is best for the fabrication of your product. If you know the basics,

Powder coating

Powder coating is a finishing process in which an electrostatic coating is applied to a surface as a free-floating dry powder before using heat to finish the coating. The powder can be made from any number of products: polyester, polyurethane, polyester-epoxy, neat epoxy, and acrylics. Powder coating is a finishing process that provides a thick, hard, more substantial than conventional paints. Powder coating can be found on a range of products, from home appliances to auto parts.

The Process

Powder coating can be achieved through one of two processes: thermosets and thermoplastics. Thermosets involve additional chemicals that react with the powder during heating. Thermoplastics have no other chemicals and instead melt and flow into the final coating. Both powder coating processes are pretty similar, except for this distinctive feature. Thermosetting or thermoplastic powder is created by taking the powder input and joining the elements together. Second, the mixture is heated, the product spreads, and the polymeric product breaks into chips. Lastly, it can be ground into a fine powder.

Each powder coating process typically after the powder is created by preparing the metal to be coated. The object is cleaned with particular attention to removing any residue and oil that can inhibit the dry powder from setting. The dry powder is then applied electrostatically, a process whereby the powder particles and the object are charged through a high-voltage electrostatic surge. This electrostatic stage of powder coating dramatically increases the efficiency and productivity of the coating process by almost 95%. Less paint is wasted, and the metal object is completely coated.

The sprayed powder coating is then cured at temperatures up to 400 degrees for ten minutes to set the finish on the object. As it hardens, the powder melts and flows around the object. The heat softens the powder and binds the polymer into a heavier polymer that bonds in a tight finish like a web. Curing coats the sheet metal product and connects the polymer into a faster, more rich finish.

The Advantages

The benefits of the powder coating process are numerous. First of all, powder coating results in a thick and dense finish on metal products that can be more durable and longer-lasting than conventional paint. Second, powder coating is usually a single coat finish, so that the process can be pretty quick and easy. Third, powder coating can include multiple custom finish colors and textures, as the powders sprayed on the item can be expertly handled. Fourth, powder coating is an environmentally safe finishing process because it produces few volatile organic compounds. Finally,

The Disadvantages

The powder coating process has two main drawbacks. First, powder coating produces a thick finish on metal products. It can be pretty tricky for this coating to make fine finishes, particularly as the polymer thins it tends to have an uneven texture similar to the peel of an orange. Second, smaller sheet metal jobs may prefer a less expensive or complex finishing process. Powder coating requires spray materials, an electrostatic booth, and an oven, all of which can be expensive and complicated for smaller projects.

Wet paint and plating

Wet painting is the traditional (although technical) process of applying liquid paint to a metallic product for its finish. Most sheet metal fabrication processes use a sprayer, pump, or pressurized container to apply wet paint evenly. Plating is the process by which metal is deposited onto a conductive surface. (Think about how jewelry can be gold plated.) Plating can be used for many purposes: decoration, corrosion inhibition, improving wear resistance, hardening, reducing friction or enhancing paint adhesion. 

The Process

The wet painting process is accomplished by thoroughly cleaning a metal object before applying the liquid paint by water jetting to a uniform thickness of approximately 15-20 microns. Wet paint is applied until the product is evenly coated to the desired thickness of paint. The plating process can be complicated and depends on the preferred metal for plating and the desired effect. Typically, an article is covered with the desired metal. Some combination of heat and pressure is applied to fuse them – although vapors, vacuums, and liquids can also be used as suitable substitutes for the heat or pressure of traditional plating processes.

The Advantages

The advantages of wet painting and plating are pretty complementary to coating. First of all, damp paint is ideal for products that cannot be heated for powder coating. Wet paint does not require an oven for finishing. Second, wet paint can produce a wider color than powder coating, so spray paint and plating can be used for more custom color jobs. Third, wet painting and plating can have a much more pleasing finish than powder coating. Products that require a fine finish can significantly benefit from damp paint. Lastly, wet painting is a much cheaper finishing process, especially for smaller jobs.

The Disadvantages

Wet painting and plating have two significant drawbacks. First of all, damp paint is not as durable as powder coating. Wet paint may require maintenance and later refinishing. Second, wet paint may require multiple coats to obtain a uniform, streak-free finish. Because wet paint begins with a liquid, the finish can be challenging to ensure the perfect finish. Therefore, the results in multiple layers of finish.

What is best for your application?

Deciding a winner for the battle of excellent coating versus wet paint and plating for your products can be a difficult decision. Ultimately, you’ll want to consult an expert who can help you consider all the possibilities in particular detail to the needs of your business, your customers, and your product. Both coating and painting / wet plating can provide you with a finish for your product that is functional and attractive.

Following Are The Differences Between Powder Coating And Wet Paint

Powder CoatingWet paint
Suitable for metals because the cooking is 140-180 degreesIdeal for all types of materials, including plastics, because the baking is 60-80 degrees
Not very shiny finishes and limited aesthetic aspectsUnlimited finishes and refined and finalized aesthetic aspects
Better if done on objects of large quantities, usually the yield is higher for mass production.It can be done on objects of all sizes and quantities
Cleaning the oven booth after each color changeIt is not necessary to clean the oven booth after each color change
Thick finish – High thicknessesSubtle finish

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