What is Powder Coating?
Simply put, powder coating refers to an electrostatic process of applying fine particles of pigment and resin to a metal surface. The powder coated pieces are then placed in oversized ovens to “cure”, resulting in a smooth and resilient coating. The process is quite a bit more involved, but you get the picture.
How is Powder Coating different than Wet Coating Systems?
Unlike wet coating applications, powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler parts in a liquid suspension form. As such, there are no drying times needed and millage-buildup (thickness) is easier and exponentially quicker to achieve. And it gets even better. Due to the absence of these solvents, powder coating is environmentally friendlier than wet coatings systems.
The other main difference is the use of large ovens. Since powder coating is applied electrostatically, it needs a heating element for the powder to “flow” and form an anchored shell around the metal substrate. With Houston Powder Coaters’ largest oven stretching 45 feet, truck-load size pieces can easily be accommodated.
Is Powder Coating better than Wet Painting?
100% Better! Although we may be a little subjective here, the powder coating process results in a more durable, more chip-resistant, and gosh darn-it, a better-looking finish than its wet coating counterpart.
The durability of powder coating is mainly attributed to the creation of a solid “anchor pattern” and the integration of its fusion-bonded properties. After abrasive blasting, the powder will integrate into the metal during the curing process, thereby interlocking the coating and the substrate. The resulting bond handles, bumps, abrasions, and impacts significantly better than wet coating applications.
Because Houston Powder Coaters’ typical powder coating system consists of a strong epoxy primer and high quality polyester topcoat, the finish is also more resilient to UV degradation, corrosion, and chemical erosion than wet paint. This weatherability allows powder coating to withstand extreme conditions much better than paint, thereby extending the substrate’s protected life.
Finally, since the powder is sprayed and cured in an oven, the resulting product has an even-finish across its horizontal and vertical surfaces with no signs of drips, runs, sags, or any other application traces. This protective finish is available in a wide variety of glosses, textures, and colors.
What items can be Powder Coated?
Any electrically conductive metal or material that can withstand 400° Fahrenheit without losing its integrity. This includes wrought iron, aluminum, and steel. Be aware that warping is a concern on very thin pieces. Contact Houston Powder Coaters with any of your questions or concerns.
As “anything metal” is nice way of describing what can be powder coated, it is also important to point out that seals, bushings, or accessory pieces made of plastic or rubber need to be removed prior to the powder coating process.
How do you prepare parts for Powder Coating?
Since the surface of the metal must be clean and free of contaminants, Houston Powder Coaters will typically media blast / abrasive blast items to remove oils, dirt, and other coatings. Due to environmental and health concerns, HPC does not “sand blast”, but instead uses a variety of steel grit or crushed glass, depending upon the specification. For certain circumstances, Houston Powder Coaters will prebake items to remove oils residing within seams and welds.
Not only does this abrasive blasting technique remove grease, rust, and dirt contaminate, it also creates a solid “anchor-pattern” from which the powder adheres to when curing. This is part of the reason why powder coating has such a resilient and tough shell.
What is the benefit of media blasting / abrasive blasting?
The removal of all surface contaminants (rust, paint, grease) is one of the most crucial elements to providing a coating that will protect the substrate and prevent corrosion. If the surface area is not free of all contaminants and does not have a proper anchor profile for coatings to adhere to, then the surface is at the mercy of “what lies below”. Once the bottom coating begins to fail, everything on top will deteriorate as well.
Can you powder coat pieces that have already been painted/powder coated?
Houston Powder Coaters will remove previous coatings by various blasting, baking, and stripping techniques. In certain circumstances, the original coating does not need to be fully removed as the anchor pattern is strong and intact. HPC will be happy to elaborate on the processes and procedures of your specific items.
What about nut and bolt threads, or areas that need to be kept free of coating?
To keep powder away from threaded components or low-tolerance areas, high-temperature masking tape and silicon plugs are used. Any project requirements or masking concerns should be addressed prior to the onset of any job.
What colors and textures are available?
With over 130 stock colors to choose from, Houston Powder Coaters keeps a large inventory designed for quick operational turnaround and reduced price points (which are passed down to our customers). In addition to a large spectrum of colors, HPC also offers a wide variety of textures and glosses. If you cannot find the color you are looking for, HPC will happily reach out to find the RAL or custom color. Lead times and cost will vary accordingly.
Does Houston Powder Coaters offer High Temperature Resistant Coatings?
Houston Powder Coaters offers high temperature silicone powder coating to protect surfaces with prolonged exposure to temps up to 1200°. This coating is resistant to delamination and cracking when exposed to these high temperatures. Applications for this type coating include outdoor BBQ grills and furnaces, agricultural and construction equipment (ACE), and certain auto parts.
What imperfections will Powder Coating cover up?
Powder coating can cover up minor scratches and small imperfections. However, as with most coatings, the end-result is only as good as the surface it is applied to. Weld splatter, grind marks, tack welds, and poor craftsmanship will still show through.
How large are your ovens?
Houston Powder Coaters’ largest oven is 45 feet long (45’ x 10’ x 10’ – L x H x W). In fact, HPC, with its oven extensions, is pleased to handle jobs in excess of 60 feet in length! Also, maneuvering fence gates 12 feet tall is quite standard in HPC’s operation.
To accommodate a wide variety of products that have different shapes and sizes, Houston Powder Coaters has engineered a series of custom-made oven racks that increase utilization within the confined area. These as well as other pass-through process improvements increase efficiencies in HPC’s batch operations.
Do you handle small jobs?
Of course, Houston Powder Coaters handles big and small pieces as well as large and small quantities. Be assured, each order is given the same care and attention regardless of the size or quantity.
What are your turnaround times?
Typically, Houston Powder Coaters can turn industrial items in 4-5 days depending upon arrival time, stock versus special order colors, and masking requirements. Faster turnarounds are available with prior approval. HPC will be clear and upfront on turnaround times at the beginning of each job.
Can HPC provide COCs (Certificates of Compliance / Certificates of Conformance)?
Yes, for an additional fee, Houston Powder Coaters will provide COCs assuring millage requirements, blasting requirements, and/or other noted specifications. These will be drawn up and agreed to before the start of any project.
RAL – What does it stand for?
The RAL color systems is a system of standardization developed in 1927 by a German Reichs-AusschußfürLieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung. Yes, “RAL” is much easier to say. To this date, there are over 2,300 RAL colors including 213 RAL “Classic” colors.
Still have more questions?
Please feel free to call Houston Powder Coaters directly at 281-676-3888. We are powder coating nerds and love to share our knowledge and experience. There is lot more to talk about, but we had to cap it off somewhere.
Offered in a wide variety of colors, glosses, textures, and effects, powder coating keeps its luster and vibrancy longer than wet coating systems.
Thicker coatings can be applied in a single pass compared to wet coating systems. Also, powder coated parts are cured as soon as they exit the oven.
Powder coatings are more resistant to chipping, scratching, weather damage and corrosion due to its advanced thermal bonding process.
Because powder coatings contain no solvents and negligible VOCs, they are a cleaner and more environmentally friendly option.
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14024 E. Hardy Road – Houston, TX 77039
Located on the north side of Houston near the intersection of Beltway 8 and the Hardy Toll Road with easy access for 18-wheelers and delivery trucks