Categories
Powder Coating

Painting vs. Coating Metals

We may not always paint for cosmetic reasons. When working with metal and other corrodable materials, painting is to protect. There are two popular forms of coating metals; using traditional paint and using a powder coating. 

Both methods for painting protect the metals underneath while making them aesthetically pleasing. Whether the coating is painted or applied as a powder, the end goal is the same- coating your metals for the protection of your work.

The Elemet Group has a passion for finishing metalwork with precision and beauty. Our two primary methods are powder and electrocoating (A.K.A. e-coating). While we call Minnesota home, we are happy to serve clients nationwide.

Contact us today to request an estimate and to see how we can protect your hard work

Coating Metals 

You can protect your metalwork by placing a coating to keep away corrosion and rust. There are different ways to do this, but the two most popular would be traditional painting and powder coating. 

Diving into each method, we can see that both offer protection and look great. Both have the potential to upsell, display a beautiful aesthetic, and offer texture. Where the coating metal options differ is in maintenance and longevity. 

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Wet/Traditional Painting 

Traditional paint is applied to metal and industrial work by spraying it on. The color is applied with a pressurized pump or spraying apparatus. The paint is air-dried naturally or placed in an oven. 

Pros

  • More color selection and customization is available 
  • Often an initially lower-cost method 
  • You can complete it anywhere, as the paint does not need an oven for drying. 
  • Much easier to achieve a high-gloss finish

Cons

  • Traditional paint will eventually flake away and will chip off over time. It will need to be touched up. 
  • Paint is highly flammable and can lead to damage and dangerous situations. 
  • Emits fumes that are toxic to breathe in, especially in closed spaces. 

A dangerous con to traditional wet paint is the emission of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

These compounds, if ingested, can lead to respiratory irritation and worsening of current medical conditions. The risk of this outcome increases if the paint is stored and worked within an enclosed space. 

Powder Coating 

Powder is applied using a charged particle system. It must be done professionally and is cured using an industrial oven. 

Powder coating can be composed of many materials, including polyester, acrylics, and types of epoxies. 

Pros

  • Over time will protect the metal under it and is typically resistant to scratches and wear, suitable for quality and longevity.
  • It does not emit vapors, and VOCs are not a concern, even in enclosed spaces. 
  • Any metal surface can be coated and quickly changed. 
  • The method allows for there to be no signs of dripping or streaking when finished. It will also provide consistency. 
  • Multiple coats can be applied, which means more protection.

Cons

  • Powder coating needs to be done by a professional because it gives consistency and quality that otherwise would not occur. 

All About the Method 

There are different ways to apply a painted finish to metals. The methods are both done professionally and will adequately protect the object in the project.

Wet/Traditional Paint Application

  • The object is thoroughly cleaned to rid of excess oils and debris
  • Paint is applied using a spray pump to guarantee an even coat
  • Dried via air drying or in an industrial oven 

The spray method is a plus for traditional paint, as it is less like to leave streaks and offers an even coating. Painting can also deliver a high gloss finish and gives the options for more colors. 

Powder Coating Application

  • The object is cleaned to rid of excess oils and debris 
  • Pretreatment is applied with a nano-technology coating 
  • Part is dried 
  • Powder coating is applied

      – Goes into an industrial oven to dry. The temperature and time in the range will differ depending on the material or object.

Paint vs. Powder Coating: Environmental Impact 

Due to the different chemical compositions of traditional paint and powder coating, there will be other environmental impacts for both. 

Wet/Traditional Paint Environmental Impact

Traditional paint is composed of several chemicals that, over time will release pollutants into the air. Over time these become dangerous to the environment and those who occupy it. This danger increases if in an enclosed space. 

Some of those chemicals are: 

  • Glycols
  • Ammonia
  • Benzene: Proven carcinogen and mutagen

Even after traditional paint is applied, it can release VOCs into the environment. So while it does seal, it can still give off harmful chemicals. 

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Powder Coating Environmental Impact

Powder coating has far less impact on the Earth over time. The layers are set and sealed and will not give off the chemicals into the air that traditional painting releases.

Elemet Manufacturing takes pride in a safe process and falls into compliance with RoHS, OSHA, and the EPA. That process keeps our employees, clients, and the Earth safe over time. 

A passion of the Elemet Group is precision evidenced by our services and their execution. Services include powder coating, welding, cutting, and many others. 

Contact us right now to request an estimate. We are happy to help you bring your work to the next level. Our powder coating will help you to protect your work and display it at its full potential

Categories
E-Coating

A-Coating vs. E-Coating

A-coating and E-coating are two options for industrial metal coating technologies. They apply rust and corrosion-proof coating to metal parts. Both a-coating and e-coating are dip-coating processes that see wide use in the automotive and heavy machinery industries to coating large components. 

Despite these similarities, there are significant differences to consider when selecting the correct industrial metal coating process.

Minnesota Industrial Coatings (MIC) provides consistently high-quality industrial coatings, including powder coating and electrocoating (e-coating). MIC guides each project through planning, coating, testing, packaging, and shipping. MIC’s expert team works closely with each customer, using leading coatings technologies and eco-sensitive, quality-driven processes. 

Contact us for your coating project today

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A-Coating: A Brief Overview

“A-coating” is a colloquial term for a coating application with Aquence. Aquence was previously marketed as an autophoretic coating

A-coating is waterborne, a poly coating that bonds to iron on contact. A ferrous metal part is dipped in a tank of liquid Aquence, and the product bonds to the piece with a chemical reaction. Manufacturers finish the process by placing the piece in an oven to cure the coating.

A-coating has gained recognition as a reliable metal coating technology in the automotive and heavy industrial manufacturing industries.

A-coating thickness is controlled in several ways. Because the coating depends not on an electrical current but the diffusion of ferric ions to the surface and ferrous ions, the deposition rate slows down over time and will self-limit to a certain extent. 

A-Coating Advantages

  • Unlimited throwing power. Wherever the coating reaches, it coats.
  • Excellent coverage.
  • Outstanding corrosion resistance.
  • Noted abrasion/scratch resistance.
  • Exceptional wear resistance.
  • Environmentally sustainable. A-coating contains no heavy metals and very few volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Also, any wastewater from the A-coating process can be treated and disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way.
  • A-coating works well for complex components and assemblies. Complete immersion provides complete coverage.
  • A remarkable hard, yet flexible, coating.
  • Cure Temperature. A-coating cures at 220ºF. At this temperature, most rubber and plastics will be undamaged. Rubber and metal anti-vibration mountings are coated without damage to the rubber, and rubber seals remain intact. 
  • Electricity-free. The A-coating process relies on a chemical reaction, not an electrical current.
  • Autodeposition coating conforms to the metal surface’s shape and is not affected by variances in electrical energy. This feature means ACC provides exceptional edge protection compared to other paint processes. 
  • A-coating provides the same functional performance level as baking enamels, electroplating, electrocoating, and powder-coating technologies. 
  • A-coating leads to improved manufacturing cycle times. 
  • Complex parts and assemblies can be painted while fully assembled rather than as components.
  • A-coating conforms to the metal surface’s shape and is not affected by variances in electrical energy. This feature means ACC provides exceptional edge protection compared to other paint processes. Screw threads often do not require masking when using ACC, offering a significant advantage over other coatings. 
  • Fewer limitations on process location. 

The A-coating process is a reliable and straightforward industrial finishing system. It has a long and global record of providing uniform protective coatings to the automotive, metal furniture, agricultural equipment, and appliance industries. 

Autophoretic and Aquence Coatings provide superior uniform coatings that offer unique advantages, including coating complex metal and non-metal assemblies and conducting post-forming operations on coated parts. 

A-coatings are rigid yet flexible films that compete in functional performance with balking enamels, electroplating, electrocoating, and powder-coating technologies. 

E-Coating: An Introduction

As you’ve read before in our blog posts, E-coating refers to electrocoating or electrophoretic painting. It is a metal coating technology developed to apply anti-corrosive coatings to metal.

The e-coating process involves immersing the metal components in a series of dip tanks. 

First, to pre-treat and apply zirconium conversion coating. Then topcoat, clean, rinse and condition it. 

When dipped into the e-coating materials, the manufacturer activates an electrical current that passes through each tank using the part as an electrode. This electrical activity causes a resin layer to adhere to each piece, coating all surfaces exposed to the substance.

Much like the A-coating process, a part coated with E-coating must be cured after the dipping application.

It is possible to control the thickness of the coating by adjusting the electrical current to the tank. Using a higher voltage will result in a thicker finished layer.

E-Coating Advantages

  • Unlimited throwing power. Wherever the electrocoating can reach, it coats.
  • Coating complex components. Due to the complete immersion of parts, e-coating provides comprehensive coverage. 
  • Exceptional abrasion resistance.
  • Considerable wear resistance.
  • Greater control of finished thickness. Adjusting the voltage controls the coating’s thickness.
  • Less necessary rework needed.
  • Less paint used during the process.
  • Almost no VOC emissions.
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The Differences: A-Coating vs. E-Coating

While these two metal coating technologies may sound similar, the differences between A-coating and E-coating are significant.

The Types Of Bonding

A-coating bonds to metal through a chemical reaction, while E-coating bonds through the application of an electrical current.

The Size Of The Equipment Needed

A-coating process requires fewer dip stations and has a much smaller footprint than the footprint of E-coating equipment. 

The Pretreatment Process

E-coating involves a lengthy pretreatment process with multiple washing, cleaning, rinsing, and conditioning stations.

The Energy Needed

With less equipment, the A-coating process consumes significantly less energy than E-coating.

UV Resistance

While known for its durability, E-coating is vulnerable to UV rays. A-coating is both durable and withstands UV rays.

Environmental Resistance

Both A-coating and E-coating provide excellent protection to metal substrates. E-coating, however, offers better protection in harsher environments than a-coating. 

E-coating solvents have a higher resistance to environmental influence. A small scratch on the component exposes the metal to everything the outside world throws at it. Studies show E-coating offers greater acidic and water resistance than a-coating because of the fluid’s chemical composition. 

A-Coating vs. E-Coating: Why E-Coating Wins (At Least In Our Opinion!)

Providing the same level of environmental resistance using the A-coating process is possible. 

However, it requires depositing more significant quantities of fluid on the substrate. While those increased fluids protect the metal, they also create increased rigidity and brittleness, creating some industrial application issues.

Because of this advantage, electrocoating provides better protection across the spectrum of applications than the a-coating process.

Minnesota Industrial Coatings (MIC) provides consistently high-quality industrial coatings, including electrocoating (e-coating). MIC guides each project through planning, coating, testing, packaging, and shipping. MIC’s expert team works closely with each customer, using leading coatings technologies and eco-sensitive, quality-driven processes. 

Contact us for your coating project today

Categories
E-Coating

Electroplating vs. Electrocoating

To the layman, it might seem as though there’s little to the debate of “electroplating vs. electrocoating.” After all, both of these metal finishing processes provide a second “skin” – a new exterior finish. When executed correctly, both methods also leave an attractive and durable finish. Those “in the know” are conscious of the differences between the two processes, as they lead to far different results. Minnesota Industrial Coatings (MIC) provides consistently high-quality industrial coatings, including powder coating and electrocoating (e-coating). MIC professionals carefully guide each project through design to delivery, using our eco-sensitive, quality-driven processes. Contact MIC about your project today!

An Overview Of Electroplating

electroplating-vs-electrocoating-02 “Electroplating” aptly describes the process by which it’s performed: an electrical current passes through a solution containing a metal object. The electrolyte splits, depositing some of its atoms on the metal object – leaving it electroplated. For example, if gold-plating is in order, then the electrolyte must be gold-based. Before electroplating, parts must be cleaned and follow a chemical bath process to prepare or activate a strong bond and strong adhesion. The electroplating bath involves many variables and components. A power supply provides a direct current flow to the parts and the plating bath’s electrical connections. This current flow initiates the attraction of ions in the solution to the metallic component’s surface. For every mole of electrons transferred to the part, one mole of metallic ions in the solution will adhere. Also, a chemical reaction occurs at the surface, involving the reduction and oxidation of ions. Since electroplating involves both an electrical and a chemical reaction at the surface, exposure to the plating chemistry is critical to the finished product’s overall performance. Nesting of components will result in a lack of adhesion or coverage on the finished surface.

Why Is Electroplating Performed?

Electroplating adds properties to metal making it desirable for a wide range of industries, including:
  • Aerospace and defense,
  • Automotive,
  • Medical and dental,
  • Oil and gas, and
  • Telecommunications.

Benefits Of Electroplating

Electroplating enhances or modifies the properties of a metallic part. Depending on the use of the part, a manufacturer may be looking for:
  • better wear and abrasion resistance,
  • better corrosion protection,
  • more excellent lubricity,
  • resistance to friction and abrasion,
  • improved EMI/RFI shielding,
  • temperature and impact resistance,
  • improved electrical conductivity,
  • improved solderability,
  • reduced porosity,
  • added hardness or strength,
  • or to build up thickness on small or undersized parts.
All of these are benefits electroplating offers. In addition to the mechanical or functional properties altered during the electroplating process, the overall aesthetics are also important.

Types Of Plating

Gold plating

Gold plating provides excellent electrical conductivity, making it one of the best choices for electrodes, current-carrying pins, and circuit board components. Gold is ideal for protection against intense heat and corrosion in a wide range of environments.

Silver plating

Silver plating is often used during the manufacturing of electronics (over a copper “flash”) and preferred due to its lower electrical resistance.

Nickel plating

Nickel plating is standard because it offers superior chemical and corrosion resistance and excellent wear resistance, increasing product life cycles. Nickel also provides a bright surface finish that can be adjusted according to customer specifications.

Copper plating

Copper plating is beneficial before the final layer of metal is deposited. Automotive parts, circuit boards, and the defense industry regularly use copper plating. The addition of copper before the final metal deposit can also improve the finished piece’s overall aesthetics.

Combinations

If a single metal does not provide the properties needed, it is also possible to co-deposit two or more metals for an electroplated alloy deposit.

An Overview Of Electrocoating

electroplating-vs-electrocoating-03 Electrocoating, also known as “electrodeposition coating” or “e-coating,” is a painting method that uses electrical current to deposit paint on a surface.

How Is Electrocoating Performed?

Electrocoating is when electrically charged particles are deposited out of a water suspension to coat a conductive part. During the electrocoating process, paint is applied to a piece at a particular film thickness regulated by the voltage used. The deposition of e-coating is self-limiting. It slows down as the coating application electrically insulates the part. It can produce uniform finishes with excellent coverage and outstanding corrosion resistance. Electrocoat is available in decorative colors.

Benefits of E-Coat

There are numerous benefits to e-coating, including cost, line productivity, and environmental advantages. Electrocoating offers higher transfer efficiency, precise film-build control, and low workforce requirements. Increased line productivity occurs due to faster line speeds, the ability to densely rack parts, non-uniform line loading, and reduction in human fatigue or human error. The environmental advantages include: no- or low-VOC products, heavy metal-free products, reduced exposure of workers to hazardous materials, reduced fire hazards, and minimal waste discharge. Generally, e-coats are either used as a primer or as a topcoat. Electrocoats lend themselves to topcoat applications because they feature excellent UV resistance. Electrocoats also perform well on their own in single-coat applications. Why? They are generally superior to popular “liquid primer plus topcoat” paint systems because they deliver overall adhesion and corrosion resistance properties.

The Clash Of The Titans – Electroplating vs. Electrocoating

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The Application

Electrocoating differs from electroplating as it’s performed by applying a free-flowing powder to a surface, then curing it under heat. Like electroplating, the coating is applied to metal surfaces for protective purposes. But unlike electroplated surfaces, powder-coated surfaces are essentially covered in paint – not metal.

The Finish

Electrocoating leaves a finish stronger than paint, making it desirable in applications where a hard finish is required. Electroplating applies metallic particles to the surface of the objects. It can be used on metal, plastic, even glass; the metallic particles can be silver, gold, copper, chrome, nickel, etc. Electrocoating applies organic resin particles on the surface and converts them to an insulating layer on the objects like paint coating. The items must, of course, be metal. Electroplating has many color options. The surface of the plating is shiny and smooth with a metallic texture. Electroplating offers corrosion resistance; it can increase the object’s hardness to withstand friction. You will also find heat & humidity resistance and lubricity. Electrocoating has fewer color options, and the surface is matte. Electrocoating does insulate well, providing good heat & humidity resistance. Compared to electroplating, the coating layer is thinner and evenly deposited, applied on every corner of the object. It offers less resistance than electroplating, and it’s cost-effective and environmentally-friendly.

Working On Complex Shapes Or Large Sizes

Let’s face it; manufactured parts come in all sizes and shapes. Electrocoat excels over other technologies because all surfaces receive a consistent film thickness.

The Waste Factor

E-coating is an extremely efficient process. On average, 95 percent (or more) of the process’s components (resin, pigment, and other additives) will eventually be applied and used on the product. Except in the rare cases of catastrophic tank contamination, the amount of paint solids requiring waste treatment on a regular operating basis is minimal.

Talking To The Electrocoating Experts

Now we understand the benefits of electroplating vs. electrocoating. The deciding factor between the two processes is the finished product’s intended use. The more critical the component is in the hi-tech industry, the more likely metal plating services are in order. MIC provides consistently high-quality industrial coatings, including powder coating and electrocoating (e-coating). MIC professionals carefully guide each project through design to delivery, using our eco-sensitive, quality-driven processes. Contact MIC about your project today!
Categories
E-Coating Powder Coating

E-Coating vs. Powder Coating

Among the many types of industrial coatings are electrocoating and powder coating. These two processes are similar, as they both involve applying a coating to a metal product for purposes such as enhancing corrosion protection and wear resistance. But which is superior – electrocoating (e-coating) or powder coating?

Minnesota Industrial Coatings (MIC) provides consistently high-quality industrial coatings, including powder coating and electrocoating (e-coating). MIC professionals carefully guide each project through design to delivery, using our eco-sensitive, quality-driven processes. Contact MIC about your project today!

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Different Types Of Industrial Coatings

Industrial coatings are fundamentally paint applied to various metals like steel or aluminum. They are “caked on” in a way designed to be both aesthetic and protective. There are different industrial coatings to choose from for industrial applications. Some examples of these include epoxies, film lubricants, fluoropolymer, plating, polymers, polyurethane, resins, urethane, and xylene. 

The list of uses for different types of industrial coatings is nearly endless. The main reason for applying virtually any coating is to protect the parts underneath it in some way. 

Specifically, industrial coatings’ most common use is to prevent aluminum, concrete, steel, or other metals from corroding. A common secondary use is to make these materials more resistant to fire or other problems. 

You may think that e-coating and powder coating are similar finishing processes with similar results, but that isn’t entirely true. Both have a uniform, baked-on completed finish. How the finishes are applied, however, differ. The application of both e-coating and powder coating involves an electrical charge, but how the charge is employed also differs, leading to specific results. 

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E-Coating

Also known as electrophoretic deposition or electrocoating, e-coating is a type of industrial coating, considered a “wet process.” It’s more similar to electroplating than powder coating.

The metal is immersed in a bath consisting of paint, epoxy, or other water-based solution. 

The colored particles suspended in the solution are then attached to the substrate with an electrostatic charge, attracting the particles in the solution to the metal surface. 

The electrodeposition process continues until the desired level of coating thickness is achieved. The different thicknesses can be regulated by increasing or decreasing the voltage level of the electrical charge. Once reaching the desired coating thickness, the substrate is removed from the solution. 

The coated substrate is then oven-cured to promote cross-linking and finish “baking” the finish.

E-coating is a popular metal finishing method in the automotive industry. It is often used as a primer coat before paint application to provide better corrosion resistance. 

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Powder Coating

Unlike e-coating, powder coating is a type of industrial coating known as a “dry” process. 

The powder coating process uses an exact, precise combination of curing agents and epoxy resins. 

A coating shop uses a specially-designed spray gun to apply the dry powder particles onto the substrate’s surface. The fact that the powder particles are electrostatically charged is what allows the adhesion to the substrate. 

Just as with e-coating, curing is the finishing step in the powder coating process. Curing causes the particles to melt and catalyzes a chemical reaction that produces the desired finish.

Powder coatings are among the most extensively used finishing methods for materials and products that will directly contact the outdoor environment. They offer excellent weather-resistance, color-retention, and humidity resistance. 

When Does E-Coating Make the Most Sense?

Because of how e-coating is applied, it is typically the better option when coating any pieces that contain hard-to-reach areas. Immersing an object into a liquid solution promotes a more thorough and even distribution of the coating than can usually be achieved with a powder coating spray gun. The application process for powder coating also tends to produce a thicker coating than e-coating.

In contrast, the e-coating process provides exceptional regulation of the thickness level. It’s much easier to produce a thin coating with e-coating than with powder coating. 

The benefits of these two types of industrial coatings are significant in many industries, including the auto industry, where an e-coating is typically applied as a primer before painting for increased corrosion protection.

The Best Of Both Worlds – Combining E-Coat & Powder Coat

A powder coating topcoat placed over an e-coating layer is not a new development. This collaborative process has been employed successfully in many industrial applications. The powder coat and e-coat have no problem adhering to each other as long as adequately cured for the correct amount of time.

Powder coating combined with e-coating provides exceptional protective advantages to your industrial metal products. These advantages include:

Durability: When you add an e-coating to your powder-coated products, you’ll ensure they last longer and stand up better to harsh, outdoor environmental conditions. E-coating is renowned for its exceptional resistance and durability. 

It stands up to both the outdoor elements and indoor factors such as household chemicals. This outstanding performance factor makes it an increasingly popular choice to add a layer of protection in powder-coated manufacturing applications.

Coverage: As we already touched on, e-coating is the better choice of the two for accessing hard-to-reach parts. That said, you might still desire to add the decorative touch that powder coating offers. 

For a combination of great looks and all-encompassing coverage, you can have your manufactured product e-coated, oven-cured, and then powder coated for a stylish finish.

Corrosion & UV Protection: Electrocoating is known for its superior corrosion resistance, which is one reason why so many companies choose this process for their industrial applications. They are often used only as primers or finishes, however, since most aren’t considered UV-stable. Pairing your e-coat with a finishing layer of UV-resistant powder coating ensures both the superior corrosion protection of e-coating and the UV protection of powder coating.

You must check with a qualified industrial coating professional for your manufacturing applications. Certain types of industrial coatings may be better for your industrial project than another. Contact MIC about your industrial coating applications today!

Categories
Powder Coating

An Introduction to Powder Coating

When customers ask us how to help the corrosion and breakdown of metals on their projects, we get excited. We get to tell them all about coatings. 

And, well, we may go on while answering common questions: What is powder coating? Can you powder coat aluminum or only certain metals? Can you paint over a powder coat? Today, we wanted to share some of those answers with you.

At MIC, we provide consistent, high-quality industrial coatings, including powder coating and electrocoating (e-coating). We specialize in handling large parts on quick turnaround and can affordably coat tiny components or low-quantity orders. We also perform custom-masking.

MIC carefully guides each customer’s project through planning, coating, testing, packaging, and shipping. Our coating experts work closely with each customer, using leading coatings technologies and eco-sensitive, quality-driven processes. Contact MIC about your project today!

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What Is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is a dry finishing process. It has become increasingly popular as a metal finishing process since its introduction in the 1960s in North America. 

Powder coating represents over 15% of the total industrial finishing market. Thus, chosen for a wide array of products from household appliances to automobile parts to heavy-duty equipment. 

We’ve found that more customers specify powder coatings for a high-quality, durable finish. Powder coating is well known for providing high-quality finishes in terms of both functionality and overall look. Powder coating is available in a practically limitless range of colors and textures. 

The protective powder coating layer offers a resilient coating to materials that need corrosion protection. 

The powder coating finishes are not only durable, but their use is extremely flexible. Professionals use these coating finishes on different surfaces, including metal, concrete, steel, and plastic, for indoor and outdoor applications. 

The powder itself can be any number of products: acrylics, polyester, polyester-epoxy, polyurethane, and straight epoxy. This finishing process yields a thick, hard finish that is tougher than conventional paints. 

While all are applied (somewhat) similarly, powder coating can come in a wide variety of colors, chemical compounds, and thicknesses.

What Is The Powder Coating Process

Powder coatings are very similar to polymer resin systems, combined with pigments, curatives, flow modifiers, leveling agents, and other additives. These ingredients are melt-mixed, cooled, and ground into a uniform powder, similar to baking flour. 

Electrostatic spray deposition (ESD) applies the powder coating to a base or substrate. EST utilizes a spray gun, which uses an electrostatic charge to the powder particles, causing an attraction between the particles and the grounded part. 

The electrostatic stage of powder coating greatly increases the coating process’s productivity and efficiency by nearly 95% over wet painting. This process wastes less paint, and the metal object becomes fully coated.

After application of the powder, the parts go into a curing oven. With the added heat (as high as 400 degrees), the coating chemically reacts to produce long molecular chains, resulting in high cross-link density. These molecular chains are very breakdown-resistant.  

UV light may be used in addition to or replacing curing ovens. Powder coating finishes can be applied to non-metallic substrates, such as plastics and medium-density fiberboard (MDF).

No matter which application process, powder coatings are tough, easy to use, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly!

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Can You Powder Coat Aluminum?

Virtually all metals can be powder coated because metals can hold an electrostatic charge. That electrostatic charge is necessary for the powder coating material to adhere. 

Additionally, any high temperatures used during the curing portion of the coating process aren’t high enough to be detrimental to most metals.

Some other materials, such as plastics and other materials, may not be powder coated because of the electrostatics. Also, plastics may not be able to withstand the heat of the curing process via the oven. In these cases, special powder coatings are used and cured with UV light to avoid the high temperatures.

Can You Paint Over Powder Coat?

We don’t recommend painting over powder coat. But you can combine powder coating with our e-coating for even more finishing options.

Used together (e-coat base with powder topcoat), you get the best of both worlds! We’re talking quality, beautiful finishes, with almost unlimited color options and unmatched corrosion resistance, even under some of the harshest conditions!

When your product needs the absolute best protection, we utilize both processes. This combination ensures the best corrosion resistance, chemical resistance, scratch resistance, chip resistance, and overall-wearing surface available!

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The Benefits Of Powder Coating

You’ll find powder coating applied to products you come into contact with every day. Powder coating protects the toughest machinery, as well as household items. It has several benefits, which makes it an excellent choice for metal fabrication and finishing. 

Here are points you may want to consider when choosing a finish:

Corrosion Resistance

Coating a metal is a popular method of improving corrosion resistance. Powder coating results in a thick finish on metal products, which can be more durable and longer-lasting than conventional painting.

Cost-Effective

Applying a coating is often more cost-effective when compared to alternatives, such as using a corrosion-resistant alloy. For this reason, these coatings have become very common, with one of the most popular methods being powder coating.

With these finishes, the upfront investment may seem significant. Over time, however, the cost is much lower compared to other different types of finishes.

Durability

Powder coatings offer a more durable finish than paint while still providing a very attractive finish. Powder-coated products are more resistant to diminished coating quality due to any impact, moisture, chemicals, ultraviolet (UV) light, and other weather extremes. In turn, powder coatings reduce the risk of scratches, chipping, abrasions, corrosion, fading, and other wear issues.

Easy To Clean

It’s easy for professionals to achieve a smooth, polished look when powder coating metals. This smooth finish repels chemicals, moisture, and other elements that make it easy to clean.

Environmentally-Friendly

Powder coating is an environmentally-safe finishing process because it produces few volatile organic compounds, plus it is recyclable and reusable. 

Thermoplastic coatings can be reshaped very easily, unlike thermoset coatings. The powder is precise, resulting in minimal wastage. This precision is different from painting, where you can experience a lot of overspray and wastage.

The fact that powder coatings don’t need solvents is also a major benefit for the environment. Powder coating processes do not release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may harm the environment. 

No VOCs means that it’s safer to use, and even though wearing protective gear is still recommended, it does not pose as much of a health threat as other finishing processes.

Faster Finishing

Powder coating is typically a one-coat finish. Because of this one-coat finish, the process can be quite quick and easy. 

Professional Finishing

Powder coatings create the most even, finished surfaces (horizontal and vertical surfaces) because the powder is sprayed and heated across without any drips.

Variety

Powder coatings can include multiple, custom finishing colors and textures. The powders sprayed onto the item can be expertly manipulated. 

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How Long Does Powder Coating Last?

The powder coating’s lifespan will depend on several factors, including:

  • the quality of preparation, 
  • the type of powder coating used, 
  • and the environment in which the product lives. 

Powder coating finishes can last up to twenty years. However, consistent use, exposure to UV light, and weather may break down finishes faster.

Different powder coatings also have varying lifespans. Layers that have fluoropolymers and urethanes last longer. Designed to withstand extreme conditions, they are better suited for outdoor products. 

On the other hand, epoxy coatings last very long indoors. Once exposed to the outdoors, however, epoxies break down faster.

Additional Alternatives To Powder Coating

We’ve already discussed electrocoating, so we’ll skip that one here. But, to recap, it is an alternative to powder coating or in addition to powder coating.

Paint is the traditional coating approach, but it comes with multiple limitations. Powder coating is more advanced than wet painting. It pays off with improved durability, a reduced environmental impact, and a high-quality appearance.

The wet painting process is accomplished by thoroughly cleaning an object before wet-blasting liquid paint to an even thickness of approximately 15-20 micrometers. The wet paint is applied until the product is evenly coated with the desired thickness of the paint. 

There are two major disadvantages to using wet paint. First, painting is not as durable. Wet paint can require maintenance and even refinishing or repainting. Second, wet painting can require multiple applications to get an even, unmarred finish. Because wet paint begins with a liquid, it can be tricky to guarantee the perfect finish. 

What Is DIY Powder Coating? 

You can accomplish a DIY powder coating project, but it takes a LOT of equipment and expertise to make it happen. Even more to make it happen perfectly and precisely! You need the right spray gun applicator and the correct baking oven, not to mention experimenting with all of the finishes to make sure your colors come outright.

Or, you can cut out all of that work – and trust the professionals!

Powder coating looks great. And it lasts a long, long time. In addition to its durability, powder coating is an attractive choice due to its environmental advantages. Contact MIC about your powder coating project today!

Categories
E-Coating

An Introduction To E-Coating

From automobiles to everyday hardware, customers today demand higher quality and durability from the products they buy. They expect these products to perform well. They also want the finish to look good and resist corrosion for much longer.

What’s the answer to these demands? E-Coating from Minnesota Industrial Coatings.

What is E-Coating?

E-Coating goes by many names, such as:

E-coating is a high-tech process that was only recently developed in the past fifty years or so. 

Electrocoating is an organic finishing method that uses electrical current to deposit paint onto a single component or assembled product. Electrocoating is used across many industries.

When industry professionals discuss electrocoating, they talk about the complete process of surface preparation, coating application, and paint curing. The electrocoating material is a coating applied to the surface with the aid of an electric current. This current will cause the layer to cover recessed areas and edges completely. It is then baked or heat-cured to convert the material to a hard and durable film. This hard and durable film protects the equipment from the elements. The electrocoating forms a physical and chemical barrier, protecting the covered material.

What Materials Can Be Electrocoated?

  • Aluminum extrusions and castings
  • Brass
  • Chrome plate
  • Cold rolled / hot rolled steel
  • Conductive composites
  • Copper
  • Galvanized steel
  • Iron castings
  • Stainless steel
  • Zinc castings

The Industrial E-Coating Process

The industrial electrocoating process is comprised of four distinct steps:

1.) Pretreatment

The material is cleaned, and phosphate is applied to prepare the surface for the application of the e-coat. This process is essential to achieving the performance requirements desired by the customer. 

2.) Electrocoat Bath

Coatings are then applied to the pretreated metal in an electrocoat bath using precisely calibrated equipment. The e-coat bath consists of 80-90% deionized water and 10-20% paint solids. 

3.) Post-Rinsing

Post-rinsing, which occurs next, enhances the coating’s quality and enables the recovery of excess paint. During the e-coat process, paint is applied to a part using a fixed amount of voltage to achieve the desired film thickness. Once the coating reaches the prescribed thickness, the coating process slows down. As the part exits the bath, paint solids that cling to the surface are rinsed off to maintain application efficiency and aesthetics. This residue material, called “drag out” or “cream coat,” is returned to the tank, enabling the e-coat process to achieve application efficiency rates above 95%.

4.) Heat Curing

After the coated part exits the post-rinse phase, it is placed in a bake oven that cures the paint film to maximize its performance. The minimum bake time is 20 minutes at a temperature of 375°F for most e-coat technologies.

What makes electrocoating unique from other finishing methods is the heat curing in the final step. 

Benefits of E-Coating

1.) Superior Corrosion Resistance

E-coating makes products last longer, protecting the metal underneath the coating. Because of this corrosion resistance, e-coating is good on its own or as a base coat for other finishes.

2.) Better Coverage In Tight Or Hard-To-Reach Areas

Because of how the electrocoating is applied, it’s typically the better option when coating any parts that contain hard-to-reach areas. 

3.) Uniform, Even Coat

When the part being finished is immersed into the liquid, the coating is more evenly and thoroughly distributed than, say, a spray gun application. You can count on no dripping, no pooling, and no gaps.

4.) Better Control of Paint Thickness

This dipping process can also result in a thinner coating than powder coating.

5.) Efficiency

Virtually all unused paint is recovered, leaving almost no waste. Also, most e-coating systems are automated. This automation means that the amount of paint applied to a product can be precisely controlled. This precision results in minimal waste, unlike powder or paint overspray.

6.) Environmentally Friendly

Electrocoating is environmentally friendly. Many manufacturers choose electrocoating because it produces virtually no HAPs (hazardous air pollutants) or VOCs (volatile organic compounds). The process is also RoHS, OSHA, and EPA compliant.

Minnesota Industrial Coatings is unique because it makes extra efforts to ensure environmental friendliness. The waste systems we use for the waste products from the pretreatment process can keep the release of hazardous materials well below the regulatory requirements.

Does Electrocoat Need To Be Top-Coated?

No, not always. In many applications, electrocoat can be considered the “final finish” on a product.

However, electrocoat does not hold up well with UV rays. Thus, using a top coat on any parts that will have UV exposure is an excellent idea. When you pair electrocoating with a topcoat, such as powder coating, it’s an outstanding anti-corrosion primer. These topcoats also allow for a variety of color and gloss options that aren’t easy to create with only electrocoating.

Electrocoated Products

Electrocoated products first made their debut in most homes as parts of cars. Other industries quickly caught on to the revolution and how easy it was to make things last longer with electrocoating. 

Now, you are surrounded by electro-coated products in your home and business, and you may not even know it. Some of the most popular products surrounding you every day are:

  • Eyewear frames
  • Giftware 
  • Hardware 
  • Home Appliances
  • Household or business appliances
  • Jewelry 
  • Sporting equipment

Where Are E-Coated Products Used?

The process of e-coating is used for a wide variety of metallic products. Wherever there is a need for exceptional coating performance over a metal substrate, you may find electrocoating used as a primer or as a finished coating. 

But some industries that regularly use electrocoating include:

  • Aerospace manufacturers
  • Agriculture & agricultural equipment
  • Appliance manufacturers
  • Automobile and automotive parts
  • Fasteners 
  • Fixtures 
  • Lawn & garden equipment & furniture
  • Marine & marine components
  • Metal office furniture
  • Transformers 
  • Trim appliances
  • …& many more industries

Do you have a finishing project, and you are interested in learning more about e-coating? Contact Minnesota Industrial Coatings to submit an RFQ.