A lot of people can benefit from powder coating their metal parts. In almost every industry, there are plenty of applications where powder coating makes sense. It can save you money, boost the performance of your parts, and leave your parts with a smooth and even finish.
We’ll explain all of these points and more in this guide.
What Is Powder Coating?
Powder coating is a type of finishing step that is commonly applied to different types of metals. It’s applied as a dry powder that coats the part (hence the name). An electrical charge and pressure are both used to force the molecules to bond to the metal part.
That’s right, powder coating creates a chemical bond between the powder and the part.
The powder base that’s used will determine the final look, feel, and performance of the coating. The base could be acrylic, polyester, polyurethane, an epoxy, or a blend of any of these bases.
Once the base is applied, the part will go into an oven that bakes it at around 400°F. The part will then cure and cool, and it will be ready for use.
After a powder coat is applied, the part can’t be machined without removing the coating in certain areas. For that reason, we almost always apply the powder coating after the part is completely machined and manufactured.
Since the powder coating process is so versatile, we can handle parts of various sizes, shapes, and geometries.
Why Metal Finishing Matters
The finish of your metal parts can play into a variety of factors. A finished part is more aesthetically pleasing, can have different material properties, and can define the life of your part.
There are plenty of applications where a rough finish simply doesn’t work. Namely, if you have to leak-tight seal an assembly, you can’t have a rough finish on your metal parts.
There are plenty of finishing options on the market, and we handle a lot of them. A finish occurs after the part is machined and before it gets assembled and sent to you.
The Advantages of Powder Coating for Metal Fabrication Projects
Now, let’s jump into some of the advantages of powder coating for metal fabrication projects.
The biggest reason why you would powder coat a part is to boost the durability of the part. The powder coating is a protective layer around your part, and it’s incredibly strong, corrosion-proof, wear-resistant, and scratch-proof.
When a part gets powder coated, it can handle much more aggressive environments. You might powder coat a metal bracket that’s used in an abrasive or corrosive chemical line, and the powder coating will keep the bracket safe.
Extends the Life of Your Parts
Since the powder-coated part is so much more durable, your metal part will last longer. Since the powder coating will resist rust, that means that corrosion won’t damage your part and force it to be replaced.
This can save you money and downtime in the future. You won’t have to worry about replacing powder-coated parts as often, thanks to the great material properties of these coatings.
It Can Be a Less Expensive Alternative
A lot of our customers use powder coating as an inexpensive alternative. Instead of machining something with titanium or stainless steel, you can powder coat the finished part.
The result? A corrosion-proof, durable part at a fraction of the cost.
Instead of buying and machining a more expensive material like stainless, you can buy a much cheaper carbon steel, machine it for cheaper, and powder coat it. The final part will act a lot like stainless steel, but there’s a good chance that you save money.
Creates an Even Finish
When the finish quality matters, powder coating can help. Trying to machine a piece to be perfectly flat is really tough. Typically, we have to do a finishing step to get a nice polish or an even finish. This could entail polishing, buffing, and/or sand-blasting a part.
Still, there’s a lot of room for error if you’re looking for a consistent, even finish. This is where powder coating starts to shine.
The process of powder coating almost always results in a really smooth finish. Your final parts will look great without the extra polishing.
The best part? The smooth finish typically lasts for the lifetime of your part, since powder coating is so long-lasting. You won’t have to re-polish the part to get its shine back.
More Environmentally Friendly
It might not matter to the customer, but machine shops like to use powder coating because it’s typically a more environmentally friendly alternative. Other coating options involve the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which is a four-letter word today.
It means that powder coating is safer to work with and apply, and it’s easier to dispose of at the end of the product’s life.
Now that you know how powder coating works and how great it is, you might be considering it for your next project. If you want to discuss how powder-coated parts fit into your operation, reach out to our experts at Rapid Axis. We can handle all of your powder coating needs, plus a lot more. Reach out for a free quote today, or email us to learn more.