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