What Is the Process for Powder Coating?

If you’ve been wondering how to powder coat metal components, you’ve come to the right place. Powder coating is a great way to protect metal from the effects of corrosive contaminants that it may come into contact with. It also helps protect against minor damage such as dings and shallow scratches. One of the main advantages of powder coating in terms of durability is the fact that multiple coats can be applied if more thickness is desired. These thicker coatings provide more longevity and more protection.

But first things first: what exactly is powder coating?

What Is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is a polymer resin combined with curative, pigments, flow modifiers, and leveling agents, along with several other additives. This mixture is melted before it is mixed together, then cooled and ground into a sprayable powder.

Originally invented as a less wasteful and less toxic alternative to traditional paint-coating, powder coating has become a mainstay in the automotive industry. It’s also been used in various other industries and on various products, such as microwaves and bike frames.

Modern powder coating uses a tinted powder that is applied in a dry form using an electrostatic process, then cured with heat in a massive kiln. This sturdy but flexible coating is durable and highly effective at protecting a number of surfaces, including metal, plastic, steel, and even concrete.

How Does Powder Coating Work?

Simply put, an electrostatic paint sprayer provides a positive electric charge to the powder, allowing it to adhere to the material. Once the material is cured, the chemical bonds solidify, and you’re left with a solid and durable coating. One of the major advantages of powder coating is eliminating waste caused by overspray, which was very common when metals were still routinely paint-coated.

How to Powder Coat

Powder coating is a multi-step process. Arguably, the very first step in the process is the most important since this will determine how well the powder coating actually sticks to the material it’s applied to. There are a lot of options when it comes to cleaning and prepping a surface for powder coating, but using a phosphate rinse and/or a degreaser is considered ideal. Rinse the material in a basic water rinse to remove any other contaminants.

From there, the powder coating will be applied in a controlled environment like a paint booth using an electrostatic spray gun. After this, the piece will be cured in a large kiln to set the chemical bonds and form a solid, smooth surface.