To keep it simple, powder coating is a process of painting metals (especially steel and aluminium). Unlike traditional painting where liquid paint is applied to the surface and left to dry, Powder coating works by applying dry colour powder to a metal surface, before ‘baking’ the colour onto the surface using heat to form a hard finish. The colour powder is applied electro statically using a power gun. This means that it is sprayed on using compressed air, passing over an electrode in the gun.
Powder coating provides better performance than wet paint, it is more resistant to chipping, scratching, and other wear because of the thermal bonding it undergoes during curing, and because it can be applied in much thicker layers. In addition to its physical toughness, powder coating provides superior colour retention.
One of the key advantages powder coating has over other finishing processes is how safe it is for the environment and for the people who work with it. Unlike traditional solvent-based wet paint, powder coating is considered a “green” technology that doesn’t generate harmful solvents or airborne pollutants.
With thorough pre-treatment and careful application, powder coating films can last up to 20-30 years. However, many variables can affect the longevity of a powder-coated film. A superficial pre-treatment process, for instance, will decrease adhesion and cause premature flaking, chipping and scratching. Environmental factors such as excessive wear and tear, salt, exposure to organic material, UV and pollution can also gradually break down powder coating films after several years.
Powder coating is not indestructible and even a properly applied finish can be scratched or chipped if it is impacted with enough force or is exposed to sharp objects. However, it is a very durable finish.
Powder coating serves as a durable, environmentally friendly alternative to liquid paints for those seeking other finishing options. When applied correctly, it has a long lifespan and can withstand numerous conditions without chipping or peeling.
Carefully remove any loose surface deposits with a wet sponge.
Use a soft brush (non abrasive) and a dilute solution of a mild detergent, eg, pH-neutral liquid hand dishwashing detergent in warm water (DO NOT use solvents) to remove dust, salt and other deposits. Ensure you thoroughly rinse the surfaces with clean fresh water after cleaning to remove all residues.
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Sandblasting is the operation of forcibly propelling a stream of abrasive material against a surface under high pressure to smooth a rough surface, roughen a smooth surface, shape a surface or remove surface contaminants. Sandblasting can remove paint, rust, and residue from oxidation from materials quickly and efficiently. Sandblasting can also be used to change the condition of a metal’s surface, such as through removing scratches or casting marks. Sandblasting as a cleaning method has been widely used for over a hundred years.
While sometimes not visible, oils, dirt’s, and rust particles can interfere with the powder coating process causing imperfections in the finish, flaking, and premature wear and fading. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend sandblasting all steel jobs before powder coating. Please consult with your powder coater before starting your job.
The right surface preparation will prevent your steel from corroding or rusting. You can use sandblasting for this. By properly preparing the surface of your steel structure, the coating will stick to it better.
Powder coating must be applied to clean, bare metal. If the part you are working with has a finish, like chrome, you must sandblast the part to remove the finish so that the powder coating can adhere to the surface. The generally accepted industry standard is that coating takes place no more than 4 hours after completing the blasting process.
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