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Can plastic be powder coated?

Posted on: October 31st, 2017 by byersbushblog

There was a time when powder coating technology was limited only to treating metal products. The condition is very different today where powder coating can be used on a variety of materials like glass, MDF, composite, wood, and plastic.

Of course, there are certain considerations that should be taken into account when coating other materials because of the heat factor that is used in the process. So the question that we will try to answer now is, can plastic be powder coated?

Electrically Conductive

electrically conductive

One of the requisites in powder coating materials is that it should be electrically conductive. If this is the case, then how can you powder coat non-metallic products? Let us go back to the powder coating process.

For powder coating metals, the powder is applied electrostatically so that it becomes attracted to the metal for the duration that it remains grounded. If you spray the powder directly to your average non-metallic products made from glass, plastic, or wood, the powder will simply fall off.

This means that you will have powder lying on the ground instead of sticking to the material. What should you do?

The common solution is to pre-heat the non-metallic product. You can use an oven to heat the product. Remove it from the oven and apply the powder before it cools down.

In this instance, as soon as the powder touches the heated product, a slight melting will occur allowing it to stick. This will be done for the entire surface before it is placed back into the oven where it can be cured.

Hot Flocking

hot flocking

Some may think that the process of pre-heating is a bit of a hit and miss. This is because there is the danger of putting on a coating that is a bit too thick. This is because it is hard to control the melting of the powder once it gets in contact with the pre-heated part.

Judging the thickness of the powder can be quite challenging since there is a tendency for it to run similar to liquid paint. When this happens, the final coat can have craters and may not be resistant to chipping.

An alternative method is to use hot-flocking. This is similar to pre-heating but this time the part to be coated will be heated to the curing temperature, which is normally around 400 degrees. The product will then be removed from the oven and immediately sprayed with powder.

Coating Plastic

coating plastic

The use of powder coating on plastic materials is something that is not very well-known. This is because the conventional knowledge is that powder coating is ideal only for metallic products.

The reality though is that powder coated plastic products can benefit from the same durable and beautiful finish that powder coated metal products enjoy.

Can you imagine powder coating plastic hubcaps? In fact, you may be surprised that you can powder coat plastic hubcaps with three different types of coats and come out with a beautiful finished product.

You can treat it with a powder coat primer, followed by a chrome base powder, and topped off with a black chrome.

There is no question that plastic products can be subjected to powder coating. The main consideration is to make sure that the plastic grade is appropriate for powder coating. This means that it should be able to stand considerable heat and has relatively good conductivity. Finally, the plastic should also exhibit good adhesion. There are currently many commercially available plastic products that fit these criteria.

When powder coating plastics, there are three options that can be considered:

  1. Use high temperature plastics with the standard thermoset powders, which may require a bit of pre-heating or pre-coating.
  2. Rely on different lower temperature plastics combined with low temperature thermoset powder.
  3. Various low temperature plastics treated with UV cure powder.

These are the ways how plastic can be powder coated. To make sure that it is done right, call Byers Bush Powder Coating today.

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