Some of you are thinking of powdered donuts right now with a rich, smooth layer of powdered sugar laid over the perfect blend of sugar, eggs, and flour to create one of the world’s best inventions.
At Fort Miller FAB3 in Schuylerville, NY, we don’t disagree — powdered donuts are the best. However, today we’re going to discuss powder coating as it refers to metal fabrication. Fort Miller FAB3 is a Top Rated Local® fabrication company in New York. We specialize in all things related to metal fabrication, such as robotic welding, plasma cutting, metal sandblasting services, CNC machining, and metal painting services. Contact us today for all your custom metal fabrication needs.
WHAT IS POWDER COATING IN METAL FABRICATION?
Powder coating has been around since the 1960s. Essentially powder coating is where an object (in our case, metal) is covered with a polyester, acrylic, polyurethane, or epoxy powder which is then heated to form a protective and decorative layer around the object. What results is a high-quality, durable finish on your metal product, which allows for maximized production, improved efficiencies, and simplified environmental compliance. Gone are the days of spray painting again and again and again. Instead, an electrostatic charge is supplied by the spray gun to the powder (which can come in virtually any color), which binds the paint to the metal. The dry powder has a positive charge while the unfinished metal object is grounded with a negative charge. This electrical process allows uniformity with the paint coating, which means no runs or sags. Then the metal item is heated to a very high temperature, which hardens the powder and forms a layer. This can vary based on the metal item. Once removed, the metal item is fully cured and ready to be used.
WHY IS POWDER COATING NEEDED?
- To form a protective layer. Raw metal without any type of coating is subject to the environment, which includes the powerful rays of the sun, the rain (which causes corrosion and rust), and tarnish from exposure to the air. If you live near the ocean, salt can cause raw metal to erode.
- To look good. Let’s face it, who wants to stare at the dull gray of metal? Adding a powdered coating to your finished metal product improves the aesthetics, which in the end, will yield more sales and result in more user-satisfaction, especially if your user picks a calming color such as blue.
BENEFITS TO POWDER COATING
- Environmentally-friendly. Liquid paint was the only option available before the 1960s. Besides the fact it needed to be warm and it was hard to get a professional finish, liquid paint often contained lead, which is not good for the environment. Today, liquid finishes still contain volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), which can cause harm to the ozone layer. With powder coating, you usually only have to paint once. With liquid paint, you’d have to paint your object perhaps a dozen times during the course of the metal product’s lifetimes, exposing the environment that much more. Powder coating waste products are also able to be disposed of in the landfill; liquid paint you must take appropriate measures for disposal.
- Any shape can be painted. Due to the precision of the adhering process, powder coating allows odd objects to receive a uniform coat of paint, which allows for many more products to benefit from powder coating.
- Resistant to scratching, fading, wearing, and chipping.
- Maintenance free. Since the paint won’t chip, your metal product requires very little maintenance, except perhaps to sweep the dust bunnies away. You’ll never need to repaint a powder coated product. This makes it extremely nice for the consumer of the metal product and a huge selling point.
- Won’t corrode or rust.
- Saves money. Besides the obvious benefit of not having to re-paint your metal object again, powder coating metal finishes uses less equipment, requires less application time, and uses less raw materials in the production process of the powder. There is no need to install extra equipment to rid the air of VOC’s from the paint process. This all adds up to huge cost savings for the consumer. Because powder coating is a dry finish, you won’t need to spend days allowing your finished metal product to dry; it is available immediately to sell to your customers.
- Superior finish. Powder coating results in a cleaner, smoother finish than traditional liquid paint allows.The transfer efficiency of powder coating is almost double that of liquid paint. This is the number of times you have to apply a layer of paint to get it to stick.
DISADVANTAGES TO POWDER COATING DURING METAL FABRICATION
- Matching colors perfectly can be difficult.
- The heating part of the process can be expensive when you have to heat your oven or furnace constantly.
- Rubber cannot be painted using powder painting.
- Touch up cannot be done like with liquid paint.
If you look around you, you’ll see a myriad of products produced by metal fabricators, whether it’s your refrigerator or washing machine or the steel beam above your head hidden by the ceiling. Products you use everyday are usually powder coating, including bicycle frames, self-service kiosks, snowmobiles, fire extinguishers, and vending machines, which enhances their look and durability. Even small items are powder coated, such as mechanical pens and thumbtacks. This is cost-effective when done in bulk. Metal fabrication touches all people and improves everyone’s overall quality of life.
As a steel fabrication shop, Fort Miller FAB3 specializes in all things with metal. Our custom metal fabrication projects are top-notch with all state-of-the-art equipment. We offer metal painting services along with sandblasting services to optimize the final painting product in the metal painting process. We have a huge paint booth in order to serve all of your commercial equipment with. We offer robotic welding, the best plasma cutters, and custom metal machining. We’re your one-stop-shop when it comes to anything metal related. If you are interested in getting a custom quote for your custom metal fabrication project, contact us today!