Use and benefits of powder coating
The centuries-old liquid coating technology (wet) still dominates the coatings industry. But powder coating technology (dry), which has been used on an industrial scale only since the 1960’s, is gaining acceptance and popularity around the world. According to USA-based Transparency Market Research, the use of powder coating is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 6.8% in the period 2012 - 2018. As well as opting for powder coating to finish new products to market, companies are increasingly using it to replace liquid coatings on existing production lines.
When the opportunity arises for choosing which type of coating technology to use, a number of factors must be assessed for their importance and weight of impact:
· Applied materials
· Application techniques
· Health, safety and environmental implications
· Quality achievements
· Economic advantages
The thermoplastic resins used in the early days of powder coating have been replaced by more advanced thermosetting powders, providing manufacturers with a wider field of use for powders. The recent acceleration of thermosetting powder coating usage has been a logical industry development in light of stricter environmental safety requirements and steadily increasing demand for commercially attractive alternatives to conventional industrial liquid coatings.
To the applicator, the features of thermosetting powder coatings that give it the edge include:
· Powder immediately ready for use
· Less wastage during the application process
· Reduced health hazard in case of operator exposure
· Superior cured-film properties
· Lower capital investment costs
Powder coating now has a secure place as a surface finish. Advances in powder technology have introduced new opportunities, including
· Powder with low film thicknesses
· Application to substrates other than metal
· Curing at relatively low temperatures
Today, the choice of powder coating as a preferred surface finish usually comes down to:
· Market trends and demand
· Industry requirements and standards
· Price and finished cost
On top of that, the environmental benefits of powder coating are getting increasing recognition. Powder use demonstrates sustainable practices at a time when we are all increasingly aware of the effect of chemicals on our environment. Thermosetting powder is easier to produce and dispose of in an environmentally friendly manner, and its long life cycle means more protection for longer, reducing future inputs.