Because of the advantages of powder coating, it’s easy to understand why people would want to use it for every job on every material. Unfortunately, one of powder coating’s only drawbacks is that it must be cured in a hot oven, meaning whatever material you’re powder coating needs to be able to hold up against that heat without melting or bursting into flames.
Powder coating is primarily known for its metal-coating prowess
By far its most common application is for metal powder coating in Washington. Steel, stainless steel, aluminum and brass are all commonly coated. The process of metal powder coating is much simpler than powder coating other objects like glass and wood (which can be done), because the metal can be electrically grounded (except for aluminum), which makes the powder coating statically cling to the metal being painted. This helps ensure a really good and strong coverage.
With non-metals (and with aluminum) you have to first heat the object up to curing temperature, and then spray the powder coating on. It coats the piece not through static electricity, but by melting on contact. This still provides many of the benefits of powder coating—including an increase in durability—but it doesn’t guarantee the nice, even coat that you see when painting an electrically conductive metal like steel.
Some non-metals that can be powder coated
We’ve already mentioned some of the non-metals that can be coated, but they’re worth exploring further so we can understand when it’s practical to powder coat these materials:
- Glass: It isn’t all that uncommon to see powder-coated glass, especially factory-made glass. Glass does well with heat (obviously, as it’s made in extreme heat), so the curing process is no problem at all. Normal resinous powder coating is common on decorative objects like vases, and on plates and bowls. Sometimes you’ll also see glass coated in a ceramic-based powder coating, which is more common on cooking materials, such as baking dishes.
- Wood and fiberboard: This one might be surprising, but there are many types of wood whose autoignition point (the temperature at which it will spontaneously burst into flames) is much lower than the curing temperature for powder coating. Powder coating wood can be extremely practical, especially with objects used in the kitchen, such as cutting boards. Normal paint, if used on a cutting board, would almost certainly crack and flake off. Powder coating would not only remain durable, but would help to increase the longevity of the cutting board.
- Composites: Carbon fiber (a common material in ultra-high quality bike and automotive parts) and other composites can also be powder coated—though carbon fiber itself is such a unique and rugged material that it may not gain as many of the benefits of being powder coated as other materials do.
By far the best materials to powder coat are electrically conductive metals, because these are the only materials that receive all the possible benefits of powder coating. With the other materials, you’re not guaranteed that even coat that you’ll almost always get when coating metal, which means the person applying the coat needs to be much more skilled than they would to coat metal. It takes a craft and turns it into something of an art form, in other words. We’ve been doing metal powder coating in Washington for nearly 20 years, and it’s what we’re passionate about. If you’ve got a project you could use some help on, give us a call at Powder Vision Inc. We’d love to help.