Powder Coating

Powder Coating

5th February 2024 · Cathy

Powder Coating

Metal fabrication involves numerous processes to achieve the final desired product, and one of these processes is finishing.

Finishing is the final stage of the metal fabrication process and is one of our most popular sheet metal services.

This is because finishing allows you to add colour to the metal, texture, layers of protection against certain elements, and more.

Powder coating is one of the most popular finishes in metal fabrication due to its numerous benefits, and in this post, we take a look at some of these in more detail, as well as when powder coating may not be the most suitable option for you.

What is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is a colour-finishing technique that uses dry finishing and an electrical charge to spray dry powder onto a metal surface. The metal is then exposed to heat (baked) using a sheet metal fabrication curing technique to achieve the finished smooth, coloured outcome.

The surface of the metal must be thoroughly cleaned before applying the powder with the spray and moving on to the curing process.

Powder coating is tougher than standard paint and can achieve thicker coatings than traditional liquid coatings without the fear of the coating running or sagging. This makes it a popular choice for industrial equipment but can also be used on internal applications.

There are two types of powder coating:

Thermoplastic powder coating – when heated, the powder melts into a soft liquid, eliminating chemical bonding, and ultimately making powder coating reversible and revisable. Creating a thicker layer, thermoplastic powder coating is more durable, making it great for auto parts and large household items such as refrigerators, as well as suitable for products that require recolouring, recycling, or reusing.

Thermoset powder coating involves forming chemical bonds upon curing, rendering it non-recyclable. This method is ideal for high-heat environments as it remains intact without melting or bubbling. Moreover, it exhibits enhanced resistance to chipping and cracking.

With both powder coating methods, you can continue spraying the metal until you reach the thickness you desire. Of course, the higher the level of thickness, the longer the colour will last, and the higher the level of protection offered to the metal.

With the right powder coating, this type of finish can last up to 20 years!

For sheet metal fabricators, powder coating is a much simpler process than painting and can be coated by spraying horizontally or vertically with minimal differences created in the final appearance. The same cannot be said when applying paint coatings!

Powder Coating Advantages

There are numerous advantages to powder coating, and you can maximise these benefits on your metal products when you work with a professional and experienced team in this area – this is vital to ensure you receive a high-quality end product.

Some of the most popular advantages of powder coating include:

  • You have the opportunity to achieve a wide range of finishes – great if you want to achieve a specific colour match and a high-quality appearance.
  • Powder coating is water and heat-resistant, weather-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and impact-resistant.
  • Powder coating provides a layer of protection, protecting the metal against corrosion, scratches, chipping, and even fading (depending on the chemical makeup of the powder).
  • It is an economical choice as colours are durable, sturdy, and flexible, making it long-lasting.
  • Suitable for both internal and external use. Providing you with a polished look that repels chemicals, moisture, and other elements. It is also easy to clean and maintain.
  • Environmentally friendly – powder coating is non-toxic as it doesn’t release any volatile organic compounds that may harm the environment. It is less flammable than wet spray paint finishes, making it safer to use. It is also reusable and recyclable with less than 5% wastage.
  • It suits all metal types, including steel, copper, and aluminium. (In our next post on ‘anodizing metal‘, find out how this finish is only suitable for aluminium but comes with many great benefits).
  • You can achieve a consistent colour finish with powdered coated metal.

Some of the slight disadvantages of powder coating include:

  • It can leave an orange peel-like texture on the metal in some small cases, as the levels of thickness can affect the overall texture.
  • The initial set-up costs are high due to the machinery involved, but the long-term cost savings can outweigh this.
  • Powders can’t be mixed to achieve different colours like paint. In addition, colours may not always come out as intended.

Powder Coated Paint

Some of the metal powder coating finishes you can achieve include:

  • Gloss finish
  • High gloss finish
  • Matte finish
  • Sand texture finish
  • Wrinkle texture finish
  • Hammered texture finish

To learn more about each of these finishes and the best one for your sheet metal, speak to a member of our team today.

Sheet Metal Services

At Morfabrication, we pride ourselves on providing a full-rounded solution to your metal fabrication needs, with finishing included as part of this service.

We can help advise you on the best finishing method suitable to your application to ensure a high-quality finish every time.

Call us today at 0191 816 2718 or email your metal fabrication requirements to info@morfabrication.com.