The PPA 571 coating protect metal fencing from corrosion for 15 years

5 Steps on How to Choose the Right Powder Coating Equipment

Posted on: March 20th, 2018 by byersbushblog

In general, powder coating is characterized as a multi-step finishing system where the material must initially be cleaned and prepared before it can be coated. It will then be subjected to a fine powder that is enough to cover the entire surface. The material will be placed in a curing oven where the powder is allowed to melt and flow to create a uniform coat that adheres to the part and delivers an attractive and durable finish as it cools. The equipment and process can vary depending on the type of powder coating method you want to use.

Hot-coat Powder Coating

Powder coat systems find wide usage in various industries like marine, automotive, gardening, and home applications. The Hotcoat system is a type of refinishing system that is considered a breakthrough and can be easily used even by home hobbyists.

hotcoat powder coating

Source: Eastwood

This is because it is designed to deliver professional performance without having to invest in costly industrial type equipment commonly used for traditional powder coating procedures. The finish delivered by this system remains resistant to fuels, chemicals, thinners, acids, UV light, and others. The coat is reportedly ten times better than what liquid coatings can deliver.

Just like standard powder coat paint, it remains friendly to the environment with virtually no toxic wastes and does not rely on solvents. The Hotcoat system is applicable to metal parts that can be subjected to 400 degrees of curing temperature using either an electric oven or Infrared Light Cure system.

Powder Coating Equipment, Ovens, Powder Booths, Supplies

When talking about powder coating equipment, it goes beyond the powder coat guns used to dispense the powder material. You have to consider powder coating ovens that have been optimized and designed to deliver energy efficiency with short cycle times.

Normally, curing ovens can either be gas or electric powered. Some curing ovens come with a gun paint system. Various configurations are available depending on the combination that you need. What you must consider though is the air changes per minute that happen within the entire interior of the oven.

The more air changes that occur, the better. This can be achieved in the workspace with the help of a variable speed recirculating fan that can move the air without affecting the powder that is covering the material. Why is this important?

Aside from the machine spraying gun paint, the quality of the finish can be directly affected by the volume of recirculated air inside the curing oven. When shopping for powder coating ovens, look beyond the price and consider the following:

  • Air slots that help produce an airflow for even heat distribution;
  • Variable speed recirculating fan that can increase air circulation and prevent powder blow off;
  • Variable speed exhaust fan that can shorten purge time and save energy; and
  • Allows for side discharge of oven waste space.

powder coating system

What Sort of Equipment Do I Need For Powder Coating?

The equipment that you will need for powder coating can be categorized based on the different stages of the process. This means that you may use different equipment for the pretreatment, application, and curing stages. To identify what equipment you need, we must take a look at the different stages.

In the pretreatment stage, the objective is to ensure that the surface to be coated is cleaned and remains free of debris, dust, oil, rust, paint, and any material that can degrade the finish. This means that pretreatment equipment will be used before any powder touches the material. A blast room would often be needed to ensure that the surface of the material is completely cleaned off. Wash station is required when dealing with chemical, oils, and solvent residues. Wash stations can also use gun systems to remove stubborn materials found on the surface of the product to be powder coated. Some pretreatment operation may also require the use of a dry-off oven.

For the application stage, powder gun and powder spray booths are commonly used. A specialized powder spray gun is used to cover the entire surface of the product. The spray gun is responsible for electrostatically charging the powder. This is achieved when the compressed air moves the powder along the gun from the hopper creating a tightly formed cloud. The electrostatic charged is received once the powder leaves the gun. Invest in a professional grade spray gun powder coating equipment to get a better and more reliable result.

powder coating equipment

Source: Colmetsb

The spray booth ensures that the powder remains within the workspace and can be scooped up and reused later on. It also provides a well-lit area where you can do your powder coating. Its exhaust fan is equipped with filters to capture some of the overspray powder. This powder can be recycled to minimize wastage.

In the curing stage, a powder curing oven will be required. When doing commercial quantity powder coating, it is better to have a batch powder curing oven that can operate in temperatures anywhere from 325 to 450 degrees. The curing oven should have the ability to stabilize the temperature once it reaches the desired level and maintain it for a prescribed period.

The curing time can vary based on the shape, size, and thickness of the product that will be coated. To achieve professional curing, you will have to be critical in selecting your curing oven. Efficiency, fuel usage, and energy costs all become factors in the selection process. You can choose between batch and automated configurations.

In batch powder coating, the system requires that the parts be prepared, coated, and cured in batches consisting of multiple parts. Products are commonly hung on a metal rack that is rolled along a line to achieve uniform coating. The parts will be manually moved from one stage to another.

For the automated powder coating, the same equipment is used but the stages are interconnected using a motorized conveyor. This means that the parts move along the line at a constant rate and moves along the different stages until it has gone through the curing oven, cooled, and unloaded.

Leasing Equipment

If buying your own powder coating equipment is currently out of your budget, you can choose to lease it out for several years in order to spread the cost. It does not have to be a huge equipment like a curing oven or a powder coating booth, even a paint gun can be the subject of a lease.

You simply need to execute a lease-to-own agreement with a finance company so that you can own the powder coating equipment and pay it off in a number of months with a fixed fee. The most common process can be as easy as this:

  • Fill out an application form, which can be available online;
  • Wait for the lease documents to be sent to you, sometimes via email;
  • Review and sign the documents to finalize the agreement.

Just how much would it cost? Leasing and financing options can vary quite distinctly depending on the financing company you are dealing with. On the average, you can lease equipment anywhere from $5,000 up to $200,000 for a period of 24 to 60 months. Take note that the length of the lease will affect the interest rate you have to pay.

Installation & Service

Most of the time, powder coating equipment is custom built based on the specifications of the customer. The installation and maintenance will be handled by the manufacturing company that you have commissioned to build your equipment for you. This means that they will handle all service issues that may arise from your use of the equipment.

It is important to make sure that the manufacturer is capable of quick response times on any issues that may happen in the process of using the equipment. It does not matter if the problem is a replacement part of a scheduled repair, you must ensure that your equipment remains functional most of the time. Scheduled maintenance must also cover preventive maintenance schedules.

If you feel that doing professional grade powder coating is quite tedious and the cost of owning an efficient equipment is out of hand, you don’t have to worry because there is still an option available to you. Call Byers Bush for Powder Coating now to ensure that you get the best quality powder coating available.

Why is Measuring Powder Coating Thickness Important?

Posted on: March 13th, 2018 by byersbushblog

When you get a professionally applied powder coating finish, you observe the beautiful and uniform film-like finish that it has. This coating not only forms a protective barrier over the material but is also a way of enhancing its beauty. Unfortunately, when the powder coating is too thick, it can have a negative effect on the finish. Let’s take a look at some important details of powder coating.

powder coating thickness

The Powder Coating Process

Not many people know that the extremely popular powder coating process was introduced in North America during the 1960s as a type of dry finish procedure. Today it has captured 15% of the entire industrial finishing market because the process can be used on a wide range of products and materials.

Companies that are looking for durable and high-quality finish are specifying the use of this procedure over other coating processes. This is primarily because it can deliver improved efficiency, maximized production, and simplified compliance with environmental requirements.

With its functional and decorative finish, customers are treated to an endless or close to limitless options when it comes to textures and colors. The technological advancements in applying powder coats have resulted in excellent finishes as well as improved performance properties.

Powder application processes

How exactly does the powder application work? In terms or powder coating, the powder can take the form of polymer resins that are combined with pigments, leveling agents, curatives, flow modifiers, as well as other additives.

The ingredients are then melt mixed before it is cooled and grounded into a uniform powder appearance like baking flour. The application processes rely on Electrostatic Spray Deposition (ESD) to ensure that the coating sticks to the metal substrate. A spray gun is used to gain electrostatic charge for the powder particles so that it is attracted to the grounded material.

The powder coating will initially be applied to a small portion of the metal to undergo adhesion testing. This is to ensure that the powder will stick properly to the metal and yield the desired result. Once this has been established the material can then be completely coated and cured to apply additional heat.

The resulting molecular chains that have high cross-link density are commonly resistant to break down. The finish can be used in a variety of metals including non-metallic substrates like medium density fiberboard (MDF) and plastics.

There is a coating thickness standard that is commonly observed to ensure that the coating is durable, beautiful, and lasts for a long time. The coating thickness often is determined by the way that the powder is applied to the material.

Commonly, the powder can be applied with the use of an electrostatic or corona gun. The gun creates a positive charge on the powder to allow it to stick to the negatively charged material. There are different types of nozzles that can be used for electrostatic coating. The shape of the material will determine the type of nozzle to use. Preheating can be used as a pretreatment process to get a uniform finish and avoid potential problems that can result in imperfections on the finish.

Powder coating can also be applied with the help of a fluidized bed. The preheated material can be dipped in fluidizing powder until the coating melts and flows to cover the entire material. This process can require post curing depending on the temperature and mass of the material including the type of powder used.

powder coating process

Importance of Coating Thickness

Generally, thinner coats are considered weaker than dense finishing. It also prevents the optimized high-quality finish from forming because of the potentials for surface defects and sharp edges. The excessive coat is also not ideal because it damages the uniformity and is considered a waste of material. Uneven curing can be expected when there is too much coating and can also be a sign of amateur work.

Professionals know how to use techniques and tools that can allow them to evaluate the thickness of the coat. Many of these are used before the material goes into the curing stage. Coating providers also rely on information on hand like the type of material used to make a determination on the thickness of the coat.

When there is too much powder coat, it can lead to quality control issues; something that is undesirable in a commercial setting. The excessive coat can also degrade the basic functionality of the material that is being protected or cause problems during its assembly.

There are nondestructive gauges that are used to measure the thickness before the material is sent into the oven for curing. It provides the flexibility to pause or reverse the electrostatic process until the proper powder coating thickness standard is achieved. The guidelines of the resin manufacturer can also be used as a basis.

Take note that there are some process variables that will have an effect on the thickness of the powder coating procedure. These are not limited to the type of gun as well as the electrostatic power supply used. The operation scale will also be a contributing factor together with the powder guns and baths, which will affect the consistency of the coat. Meticulous technicians often rely on in-house processes to identify thickness tolerances and control the product quality.

Since powder coating can be applied to thousands of potential products, it is essential to understand the properties of the material before going through with the process. This will ensure that only the toughest high-quality finish can be produced on even the toughest machinery possible.

The toughness of powder coating is better compared to liquid paints while measuring up to its visual appeal. In terms of resistance to fading and rust, powder coating is likewise ahead on both counts and provides better protection against impacts, moisture chipping, scratches, abrasions, chemicals, corrosion, ultraviolet light, and other issues that can result in coating wear. Its friendliness to the environment is an added benefit that many customers would definitely subscribe to.

Powder Coating Blasting

This is an alternative way of removing the powder coating. It is considered safer and easier compared to chemical stripping. Abrasive blasting is the process of removing powder coating in a quick and powerful manner without having to worry about technical skills or any other issues.

When mistakes are uncovered on the finished powder coated product, there is no other solution but to remove the coat and start over again. Blasting gives you a quick way out becomes in only 30 seconds per square inch, the powder coat can be completely removed. This efficiency is attributed to its unique abrasiveness combined with its adjustable power. It is as simple as it can be; all you need to do is point and shoot and the coating will be stripped without having to resort to complex procedures.

How do you do this quick and safe way of removing powder coating? First off, you do not have to buy any toxic chemicals so it is completely friendly to the environment so it complements the powder coating process. Second, you just need to make sure that you have the proper protective gear available before you start blasting away on the material.  Here is how you do it:

  1. Start by putting on the protective glasses and ear plugs. Shot blasting can create quite a noise so you need to protect both your eyes and ears.
  2. The blast nozzle should be aimed directly at the powder coat. The material coming from the nozzle is highly pressurized so it can cause some damage if aimed at someone.
  3. Press the switch to activate the nozzle and the powder coat will simply tear away from the material.
  4. Rinse the surface of the material using rust inhibitor and water. If necessary repeat the process to ensure that the entire surface is completely cleaned.

Cured

Once the powder coated material is sent into the oven, the curing process begins. The curing process is characterized by the use of high temperature that is designed to cause the powder to melt and flow across the material to achieve a perfectly uniform finish.

Once the powder reaches the ideal temperature, the cured film coating is achieved. It will then be allowed to cool off before it is checked for imperfections and consistency. When thermosetting materials are used for curing the predicted cure undergoes an additional reaction. The material that is coated with the continuous liquid film will experience a continuous increase in temperature while inside the oven.

The underlying heat hardeners are activated once the curing reaction begins. Maintaining the cure temperature for the proper duration will result in the proper curing of the powder coat. The predicted cured thickness will likewise be achieved for that impact resistant and tough finish. Note that there are substantial differences between liquid and powder coats.

powder coating blasting

Source: Pfonline

When using powder ovens, the material should reach the optimum temperature quickly. This allows for maximum flow out before any curing reaction can gel the film. For liquid ovens, a slow heat-up would be ideal to prevent the solvent from boiling into the paint. This difference means that powder ovens allow for shorter and cheaper application of the coat. Less energy is likewise required for the powder oven compared to its liquid counterpart.

There is an evaluation process that must be observed when doing powder coating. As the powder coat is exposed to the heat, the cure will proceed in a variety of stages.

  1. Pre-Melt – in this initial stage the freshly applied powder can still be scratched off easily. A low-moderate air hose will allow you to chip sections should you find the need to do so. The topcoat may also be applied at this stage, but it is not usually advisable to do so.
  1. Continuous Film –you begin to observe a tight orange peel smooth appearance. The film normally will have a higher gloss compared to the cured powder. The product has the ability to reflow once exposed to heat but can be shattered by any significant impact.
  1. Gel – at this stage the powder has already achieved a continuous film form due to the reactions that have taken place. It can no longer reflow and any significant impact will result in severe cracking accompanied by moderate adhesion loss.
  1. Pre-Cure – this is the stage where the coating has achieved initial impact resistance. There can still be apparent cracking and slight adhesion loss. Higher gloss level is achieved compared to that of the cured film. Chemical resistance is relatively poor at this point.
  1. Full Cure – optimal film properties are present at this stage with chemical interaction minimized. This means that full inter-coat adhesion is less likely to occur.
  1. Over Cure – when you reach this stage you can observe the film losing some flexibility. It may turn yellowish in color and can exhibit a decrease in gloss. The inter-coat adhesion will be compromised with coating failure becoming highly likely.

Throughout the process, you will have a way of evaluating the proper thickness of the expected coat. This will ensure that the final cured thickness remains desirable and optimal.

If you want to make sure that you get the best powder coating results without having to deal with high prices and potential risks, contact Byers Bush Powder Coating today!

Powder Coating Removal: How to Get the Coating Off

Posted on: February 19th, 2018 by byersbushblog

Powder Coating Removal: How to Get the Coating Off

The technology behind powder coating is straightforward and effective.  Electrostatic charge ensures that every inch of the item you are coating gets covered.  The curing process is so effective that it can be hard to remove the powder coating, should you choose to do so in the future.  Industrial paints and coatings are a challenge to remove. Powder coating removal can be even harder.  How do you remove powder coatings?  Let’s discuss a few points.

remove powder coating

Source: Pinkbike

Mechanical Solutions

Powder coatings can be removed with a sandblasting machine.  This works good for steel parts as they can withstand the erosive effect of the sandblasting.  If the parts are small enough you can perform this operation in a sandblasting booth.  For larger pieces you may need to set up a tent and use a blasting wand.  There different media that can be utilized for the blasting.  Fine grit sand is the most common, but glass beads can also be used.  You can vary the size of the media and increase the pressure until you achieve the desired results.  Either way powder coatings are hard to get off.  Plan on working at it for a while.

Chemical Solutions

Another option is to melt off the powder coating using chemicals.  Powder coatings are polymer based and like any plastic or acrylic they can be dissolved.  If you are trying to remove a powder coating from a strong substratum like steel, the power of a sandblasting machine shouldn’t damage the unit.  Softer structures like aluminum are not so forgiving.  In that case try using chemicals to dissolve the powder coating.  These are referred to as paint or epoxy strippers and can be purchased in most hardware stores.

chemical coating removal

There are some stripper products that utilize citrus acid as their base.  These are more environmentally friendly but hardly scratch the surface of powder coatings.  Powder coatings were designed and carefully developed to withstand tough environments.  It would be best to purchase the highest strength paint and epoxy stripper on the market.  Some have found the virus based strippers to be useful as a final step.  As they are not as harsh as their industrial counterparts, you can spray them in the morning then leave them out all day.

TIP: read and follow the instructions on the labels of the stripper you purchase.  The manufacturer has an in depth understanding of the chemical composition.

Removing Powder Coating from Aluminum: The Step By Step Process

First Step: Stripper Application

To begin, apply the first coating of chemical stripper.  You will need to administer multiple coats of stripper.  Pour some of the stripper into an aluminum can for easy brush dipping access.  Apply the first coat then wait for the chemical reaction to soften the top layer of powder coating.  After about 15 minutes return and apply another generous coating of paint and epoxy stripper.  After an additional 15 minutes, you can use a plastic scraper and bristled brushes to begin removing the top layer.  There are also brass scrub brushes available.  If you are concerned about damaging the original texture, avoid hard wire brushes and metal scrapers.

TIP: Use a smooth bristled brush and apply the stripper carefully to avoid splattering the chemical.

Another helpful practice is to soak the unit overnight in industrial strength carburetor cleaner. This will start the process of etching the powder coating and make the stripping easier.

Paint and epoxy strippers are powerful chemicals.  Read the safety recommendations on the label of the product carefully.  Wear your safety glasses and gloves.  Just a little bit on your skin will burn you.  If you get it in your eyes it can cause irreversible damage.  Wear long sleeves and be sure to establish good ventilation in the place you are working.

TIP: Purchase a box of disposable latex gloves and throw each pair away when you take them off.

Second Step: Stripping The Under Layers

Now that you have removed the top layers of powder coating, the hard part is done.  Soak the unit over night again in the carburetor cleaner.  Next continue administering stripper coats.  Be sure to keep the unit moist in stripper.  Do not allow it to dry out.  You will now find the powder coating very reactive.  It will bubble and blister.  As this occurs, gently scrape it off.  Some prefer not to brush or scrape at this point.  They just keep applying coats of stripper until the powder coating falls away.  It’s faster if you use a scraper and brush to remove the loosened coating.  The chemical stripper is a liquid and will find its way into abrasions in the powder coating and underneath.  These are the areas you will first notice falling away.  Bare aluminum should begin to show through after approximately four stripping coats.

TIP: Flat smooth areas are pretty easy to strip down.  The creases and crevasses are not so cooperative.  Utilizing a plastic scraping tool helps, but they tend to get worn down quickly.  Regularly take the scraper to a sanding belt and give it a new edge.

Continue this process until all the bulky parts of the powder coating have cleared off.  Now only a slight stain will be present in the texture of your aluminum.  This is where the bristled brushes come in, keep scrubbing until all the powder coating residue is gone.

Third Step: Use Carburetor Cleaner and a Wire Brush

For a car’s engine to operate correctly, the carburetor sucks air into the combustion chamber.  The cleaners they have formulated to care for this part of the engine are powerful and leave little to no residue.  This makes Carburetor Cleaner perfect for our next step.  Generally people seem to agree that Carburetor Cleaner is the most effective for removing the final stages of a powder coating.

wire brush

TIP: Some have had success using acetone as a cleaning agent, others prefer brake cleaner.  Experiment and see which method works best for you.

When it comes to this final stage in the process, exercise the caution.  You don’t want to scratch the texture of your aluminum part.  Use plastic or brass wire brushes to gently scrub the left over powder coating out.  If you plan on re-coating the unit, then don’t worry so much about scratching the surface.  It may save time to use a steel wire brush instead of brass or plastic.

Carburetor cleaners usually come in spray cans as you need to squirt it into the carburetor.  Spray the unit with the cleaner.  Brushing in gentle circles, wipe the residual off with a clean towel.  This enables you to view clearly where you have made progress and focus your cleaning efforts.  Repeat the process and you will see the aluminum gradually begin to shine.

Fourth Step: Back to Pure Aluminum

So you’ve been working at this for days now what are the results?  Pure clean aluminum.  Even though it’s a lot of effort to remove the powder coating, its well worth it when you see the final product. If the unit is brushed aluminum it will have a soft dull texture.  Polished aluminum shines.  You may need to polish the finished product.

Iron and Steel

How can one strip powder coating from iron and steel?  The process is the same as for aluminum.  Because the substrate is stronger you can use steel wire brushes and scrapers to aid in the powder coating removal.  Something to consider about steel and iron, is rust.  Once the powder coating has been removed the item will begin to rust.  Try to keep it in a dry place.  If rusting does occurs, no sweat.  You can remove the rust with a media blaster or sandblasting setup.

If your looking for a less toxic stripper for powder coating then research the citrus based strippers.  These take longer to work, but with a bit of patience you can do it.

Some have suggested using boiling hot caustic.  This is acceptable for steel and iron but not for aluminum.  The caustic will react with the aluminum, damaging the parts.  Methylene chloride is sometimes used in the aerospace industry for stripping metals.  This chemical doesn’t react with the aluminum, but it is very dangerous.  If you choose to go this route, make safety a primary consideration.

iron and steel

Strippers with a high concentration of methylene chloride work the fastest.  Smaller parts can simply be dipped into the chemical.  Stop by and inspect the parts every five to ten minutes.  When you notice the powder coating starting to separate, pull the item out.  Then you can rinse it in water mixed with tri-sodium phosphate to neutralize the stripper.  To get rid of any stripper residue left over, put the item in an oven for ten minutes or so.  This will evaporate the residual chemical.

TIP: if the item is too large, soak a cloth in the chemical and wrap the unit.

Safe Storage of Powder Coating Stripper

These toxic and potentially dangerous chemicals need to be stored in HDPE containers with a sealable top.  Use a container that is the same size as your oven.  You won’t need to dip items larger than the oven you use.  The larger items will be stripped using rags soaked in the chemical stripper.  These rags need to be stored properly as well.  If you keep them in an appropriate sealable container, they can even be reused.

It is also important to keep these chemical paint and epoxy strippers out of the reach of children.  Always wear the appropriate safety glasses and protective equipment.  Make use of thick neoprene gloves and even a face shield.

Some choose the purchase Overpack Drums.  These drums are specifically designed for storing powder coating stripping chemicals.  Overpack Drums work great for  methylene chloride based strippers.  In fact many professional powder coating and prepping shops utilize these drums for storing stripper.  The design provides a sealing lid that secures tightly and secure.  This is one of the most important aspects of a stripper storage container.  You want to keep the stripper form evaporating and prevent the odor.  The down side is that these Overpack Drums tend to be a bit expensive, but safety is worth investing in.

Often professional shops will purchase at least two of these drums.  They have one they use to store their powder coating stripper chemical.  The other one is used as a rinsing drum.  High quality drums like these used in conjunction with appropriate safety equipment is a good idea.  Safety equipment includes such things as ventilating fans, chemical gloves, and a chemical apron.

Stripping powder coating is not an easy job.  There are many different strippers for powder coating.  Couple these with sand blasting and paint removal becomes possible. Byers Bush encourages you to give stripping powder coating a try.  Of course if you need any help we are happy to assist.  Give us a call!

Powder Coating Basic Tips & Guide to Perfect Coating

Posted on: February 15th, 2018 by byersbushblog

The Basics & Beginner’s Guide for Powder Coating

There is more to powder coating than meets the eye.  What is powder coating?  You coat a surface in a dry polymer based powder, curing it with heat, then letting it cool. The actual process is strait forward to learn, but knowing your equipment is always the first step to success. Let’s discuss how powder quality and the right tools can lead us to the perfect coat.

Quality Powders: Your Best Tool

Polyester powder coatings have some key characteristics that make them the preferred choice.  Producing a powder with consistent particle size is fundamental to transfer efficiency.  If the powder has particles that vary too much in size, they attach differently to the surface you are coating.  This also affects the edges, preventing them from holding an even coat.  The surface film will appear uneven as well.

How does that affect the durability of the powder coating?  An even coating enables high performance as the mechanical properties are consistent.  When baking the powder coating, an even smooth coat is key to avoiding “over baking.”  High quality powder coatings boast high rates of adhesion, gloss, impact hardness, and no fracture flexibility.

powder coating tools

There are hundreds of companies producing a wide variety of powder coating colors.  New manufacturers appear on the scene daily.  We work hard to offer every color and texture option out there.  If you locate one that you prefer to use, send us a link and we’ll be happy to look into it.

We are concerned about providing the best quality coating options for our customers.  High performance is important to us and not all the powders being offered meet our requirements.  Allow us to utilize our experience and expertise to ensure your powder coat is up to snuff.

Find The Right Powder Coatings For Your Market

There so many products out there, finding the right powder coating formulation for your market can be a real challenge.  Let us help you.  Custom color matching is an art.  We have trained professionals it’s as experienced eye for matching the colors you need.

There are different requirements placed upon a powder coating depending on the application.  For example, architectural powder coatings.  These coating must stand up against scuffing, scratching, and impact abrasion.  Often performing out in the elements, UV rays, heat and humidity take their toll.

Knowing how all these elements harmonize with each other is key to success full selection of your powder coating.  We’ve done this effectively for thousands of our customers.  Call us today and we will do it for you too!

Powder Coating Equipment

Powder coating The equipment need for powder coating is basic.  You need a booth, spray gun, and controllable heat source.  We’ll look closer at each of these aspects.

Coating Operation Booth

The operation starts by constructing a spray booth.  The booth should be the appropriate size for the job you are opting to complete.  It is important that this booth is well ventilated.

Powder Coating Guns

Chose a gun and accessory setup that meet the job requirements.  There are a few different options when it comes to powder coating guns.  The lesser models are reasonably priced but limited to one voltage setting.  The nozzles are also not as customizable as their higher end counterparts.

For small jobs these work well.  If the surfaces you need to coat are vast and there are many nooks and crannies, then consider purchasing a gun with wider customizability.  Custom coating equipment is also available.  We are happy to advise you.  Drop us a line.

powder coating guns

Powder Coating Ovens and Infrared Lamps

Now that you’ve acquired the proper application gun and perfected your art of coating,  It’s time to turn up the heat. The goal is to heat your unit evenly.  This can be done in an oven or via infrared lamps.  There are even technologies in the works for utilizing LED lights to cure powder coatings.  Read the container that the polymer powder comes in for the correct curing temperatures.  The right sized oven and thermometers are key to getting professional results.

The Actual Process

  • Have a blast sandblasting. Oil and grease films must be removed.  Rust and oxidation needs to be blasted off.  Old paint or coatings should be thoroughly removed. Pure metal corrodes fast in moist environments.  Keep your prepared surfaces dry after sandblasting.
  • Now use the spray gun to apply the powder to your unit.
  • Move the powdered unit into the oven for an initial baking. This caused the coat to gel over.
  • After getting the initial coat to gel, the piece is brought back for a final powder coat. This additional dusting puts an elegant touch on the final product.
  • Last, back into the oven for another cooking and then leave the unit out to dry.

Whether you are new to powder coating or a seasoned professional, an intimate understanding of these steps enables quality.  That is what we do.  Contact us for a competitive quote.  We would love to be your go to powder coating company!

New Technology for Plastic Powder Coating

Posted on: February 12th, 2018 by byersbushblog

Powder Coating Plastic

The art of powder coating is fast becoming the best way to coat high wear products and industrial equipment.  There are more and more powder coating services out there offering powder coating advantages.  Powder coating metals is relatively straightforward but what about plastics and polymers?  It is not so commonly known that alternative surface materials may be covered effectively in powder coating.  This enables the same high quality attractive finishes to be applied to just about anything.

powder coating plastic

Electrically Conductive

The question is how can you coat an item that is not electrically conductive.  Electrostatic charge is a fundamental part of the powder coating process. Non-metallic substrate can not be grounded as it doesn’t conduct electricity. When we perform the  traditional powder coating process, they rely on the metal substrate to draw electro-statically charged particles of polymer based powder onto the unit.  The unit is grounded in order to complete the circuit.  But what about objects like wood and plastic that are not conductive?  You can spray the powder on them but it will all end up falling on the floor.

Preheating

One technique that has proven effective involves preheating the piece you want to powder coat.  Put the item in the oven so that the surface becomes hot.  When you spray the polymer based powder at the item, these micro sized beads will slightly melt on impact adhering to the surface.  This enables powder build up on the piece.  You can repeat the process by returning the item to the oven shortly.  This will cause the powder coating to gel and an additional coating can attach itself to the surface.  Once you reach the desired thickness, the piece may be cured in the oven the same way you would normally set the powder coating.

spray-coating

Source: Yenra

Actually, it is usually the case that people put on too thick of a coating using this technique.  This happens because it’s hard to see clearly how much powder you have already put on the item.  The powder melts into itself like a gel coating making it hard to judge.  This is a concern because if a coating is too thick in some places it may begin to sag or run before the curing process can solidify the coating.  The coating may develop small craters that will effect the chip resistant properties of the powder coating.

Hot-Flocking

There is another method referred to as hot-flocking.  The concept behind this technique is instant coating.  You place the item into the oven and then preheat it to exactly the melting point of the powder coating material you will be using.  When you spray the unit polymer beads melt as soon as they touch the surface of the unit.  To accomplish this, you must spray coat the piece immediately after removing it from the oven.  This method takes quite a bit of skill and coordination.  The chances of running and sagging are greater when you do it this way.

Plastics That Can Be Coated

There are a variety of plastics out there that can be successfully powder coated.  These different plastics all have slightly different properties.  Some will be easier to coat in a powder coating than others.  Some can be preheated in the oven, but others require UV-cured polymers.  The UV lights do not generate the same amount of heat energy as an oven.

UV-curable polymers are a great solution for powder coating plastics.  The time it takes to melt these polymer particles is very short.  Since they melt quickly you don’t need much heat to push them into their gel-state.  As plastics are not generally conductive to electricity, an undercoat must be formulated for the powder coating process to work.  This primer will need to be customized so that is adheres to the plastic and works with the electro-static powder coating procedure.  We are happy to help you with this step of the process.  Please provide us with as much information as you can about the plastic based item you wish to powder coat.

nylon plastic powder coating

Source: Swagelok

Nylon reinforced plastic products require a specific coating technique.  To successfully establish protective coatings that improve the function and decorative properties of these items takes skill.  Products that rely upon nylon reinforced plastics are office chairs and appliances.  The interiors of our automobiles and some medical equipment utilize nylon reinforced plastic.  Consumer goods like personal computers and salon products also use nylon reinforced plastics.  Providing multiple colors and protective textures for these products is an important part of sales and branding.  These products often consist of both metal and plastic elements within their design.  The ability to coat then with the same polymer based powder coating is important.

Powder Coating Plastics: The Advantages

There are significant advantages to powder coating plastics rather than traditional painting techniques.  For one, the powder coatings emit little to no VOC or volatile organic compounds.  Traditional paints contain thinners that evaporate as the pain coating dries.  Additionally, over-sprayed powder can be recycled within the system.  This makes them better for the environment.  When you coat with polymer powders, you are able to achieve a thicker coating than liquid paints without the negatives associated with sagging or running paint coatings.  The coating is even.  Traditional paints show differences between the horizontal spray passes and the vertical spray passes.  Powder coating is able to create a variety of extrudes and effects.  Small items will hold a powder coat effectively letting you cover very small parts.

powder-coating-samples

Source: Inovoc Solutions

Technical Information

The performance properties of these coating technologies are interesting.  Different coatings hold different performance advantages.  Some are focused on being a protective coating.  Epoxy based powder coatings are generally used for the application. Polymer based can be formulated to provide UV protection for items exposed to the sun. Vinyl based powders are good for decorative purposes.

Application Methods

These powders can be applied using the typical powder coating process.  The item is hung in the middle of your spray booth and a pneumatic spray gun is used to cover the pieces with powder.   Plastic items may require a primer for the powder to adhere properly.  This system relies on the natural law of electro-static attraction.  The item will be grounded and the powder particles are electro-statically charged by the Corona spray gun.  The coating is applied and the powder is drawn to the grounded unit naturally establishing and even coat.  After the powder is cured, the item will have a strong plastic coating.  This type of coating resists chipping and scratching, preserving the items integrity.  The result is a durable coating that is soft to touch.

An alternative method involves building a tank that the part can be dipped into, then cured in an oven.  This process is also very effective and is generally used in an assembly line fashion.

Have A Question? Get In Touch With Us

Whether you need to powder coat industrial products or consumer goods, Byers Bush ready to help you.  We invite you to get in touch with us.  Powder coating is the best protection for many substrates.  Powder coating metal works well.  You can also powder coat plastics as well.  If you have any questions about the process or the item you wish to coat, tell us about it.