There are a wide variety of different types of industrial finishing, and two of the most common examples you’ll come across are electroplating (also known as electrocoating or e-coating) and powder coating in Washington. While there are a number of similarities between the two types of processes—they both involve applying a coating on to a substrate for greater protection—it’s also important to understand their differences if you are to choose the type of coating process that makes the most sense for your application.
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at each of these processes and how you may consider using them for your next job.
The word “electroplating” gives you a bit of a hint as to how the finish is achieved. During the process, an electric current gets passed through an electrolyte in which you’ve placed a metal object. That electrolyte splits, which results in some of its atoms being deposited onto the metal object, resulting in the electroplating. So, if you’re going to create a gold-plated part, for example, the electrolyte in question must be gold-based. You have a variety of options for types of metal to use in the electroplating process, including nickel, silver, copper, gold and much more.
The biggest benefit of electroplating and the reason why it’s so widely used in a number of different industries is because it results in adding some new properties to metal, such as some crucial benefits like greater wear resistance, corrosion protection, friction and abrasion resistance, hardness and electrical conductivity. Spend some time in industries like aerospace, defense, medicine, dentistry, oil and gas and telecommunications and you’ll almost certainly come across some electroplated parts and equipment.
Powder coating is used to provide many of the same benefits that electroplating accomplishes, but the process is quite a bit different. In powder coating, a free-flowing powder is applied to a substrate (often metal, but certain other materials can be powder coated as well) and then gets cured through a baking process. Those powder coated surfaces are basically covered in a more durable type of paint, whereas electroplated surfaces are covered in a type of metal. The aesthetic results, then, are a bit different, but the protective results are, in many ways, the same.
As mentioned above, the coated finish is significantly stronger than paint, which makes it ideal for applications in which you need a hard finish for durability. Many stoves and refrigerators are powder coated, as are smaller tools and parts. However, there are some additional benefits of electroplating beyond durability that you won’t be able to get out of powder coating.
Ultimately, while there are some similarities that exist between electroplating and powder coating in Washington, it’s not as simple as “just choose one of these options and you’ll be fine.” There are some applications in which one will make more sense than the other, and it’s important that you choose the right process for your application and your budget. To learn more, get in touch with Powder Vision Inc. today.