What is powder coating?
Powder coating is a manufacturing technique typically applied as a electrostatically charged free-flowing, dry paint powder and is then cured under heat to allow it to flow and form a "skin". The coating is continuous and can vary from matte to high gloss depending on the design of the powder and the supplier. It is mainly used for coating and protecting metals. Used as functional (protective) and decorative finishes, powder coatings are available in an almost limitless range of colors and textures.
Why powder coat?
Powder coating produces a high quality coating which is relatively hard, abrasion resistant (depending on the specification) and tougher than conventional liquid paint.
The main difference between a conventional liquid paint and a powder coating is that the powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler parts in a liquid suspension form. Because powder coating does not have a liquid carrier, it can produce thicker coatings than conventional liquid coatings without running or sagging, and powder coating produces minimal appearance differences from conventional liquid painted surfaces.
Because the powder particles are electrostatically charged, the powder wraps around to the back of the part achieving a thick, even coating throughout the object being painted without the risk of drips or runs.
The powder will remain attached to the part as long as some of the electrostatic charge remains on the powder. To obtain the final solid, tough, abrasion resistant coating the powder coated items are placed in an oven and heated to temperatures that range from 300 to 400 °F (depending on the powder).
Under the influence of heat the powder goes through 4 stages to full cure.
MELT, FLOW, GEL, CURE.
Once the powder coating has been cured, it is set down to cool. At this point, stop offs and excess paint is removed. Finally, the object goes through quality inspection and it is carefully stored awaiting customer pick up.
In order to prolong the life of your newly powder coated finish, maintenance is required. The soot and grime which builds up on surfaces from time to time contains moisture and salts which will adversely affect the powder coating and must be removed. Powder coatings should be washed down regularly (at least once a month). The coating should be washed down with soapy water -- use a neutral detergent -- and rinsed off with clean water and dried, always using a non-abrasive microfiber cloth.