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Powder coating is quite a vast subject, so if you are a beginner, a simple summarized definition of terms won't suffice. You need a comprehensive guide precisely when it comes to powder coating equipment. Fortunately, this detailed guide is intended to help you understand everything you need to know about powder coating equipment.
Whether you want to quench your thirst for knowledge on this topic or are merely fascinated by commercial powder coating, this comprehensive guide has all you need to know. Besides, if you’re researching for business, you'll be ready to launch when you are done reading this piece!
Powder coating is a final production step whereby refined, free-flowing, dry powder is used to establish an even coating on an object's surface.
This process uses primary coating materials; thermoset & thermoplastic. These materials can be applied on multiple surfaces, including glass, metal and plastic. The versatility, coupled with other numerous advantages, makes this process ideal for all equipment for residential, automotive, and even industrial use.
Powder coating involves three main steps, they are as follows:
For best results when powder coating, the product has to be clean. This means no oil, rust, dust, old paint, and debris. If there is anything on the surface of the material before coating, it will negatively impact the durability and adhesion of the powder. This is why pretreatment is vital.
Pretreatment gear should be used before powder coating. This equipment is engineered to ensure your product is completely clean before applying the powder.
In case the product that needs powder coating has plenty of debris, then there are high chances you'll require a blast room. This is an enclosed space where compressed air impels abrasive material against your product's surface.
Depending on the product's condition, you can either use a steel shot or grit to scrap out the unwanted dust or debris. Once the debris is removed, your product is ready for powder coating.
These rooms are particularly convenient for businesses with less-than-ideal raw materials, like tube stock or plate steel with welding or oxidation residue sections.
If the surface of your product is covered with chemical residue, solvents and oils, it would be an excellent idea to use a wash station. This is where the product is sprayed with a chemical pretreatment compound or detergent. Also, using steam or hot water to clean the product is common, though this is often followed by chemical prep for best results.
This station is handy in surging powder adhesion and promoting the final quality, even when the product has been blasted. Wash stations come in different types, with some requiring you to apply the chemical pretreatment compound manually with a spray wand, and others are automated, so the products pass through the washing, rinsing and preparation phases on a conveyor.
In some setups, pretreatment calls for a dry-off oven, a machine that works the same way as a curing oven. However, a dry-off oven heats the washed products to evaporate the liquid that could have been left behind after cleaning. This phase can help the product attain optimal temperature for powder application.
Clearly, pretreatment equipment is highly beneficial for the powder coating process and can be the difference between poor and good quality work. It's essential to have a clean product surface before powder coating, and it is imperative to have top-quality pretreatment gear for your coating venture where proactive cleaning can be used as often as possible.
After pretreatment, you should consider how you will apply the powder to your product.
Powder coating is usually done with a spray gun explicitly engineered for this purpose. The powder needs to be electrostatically charged for the coating to last. You can only employ this charge using the above-mentioned spray gun.
Compressed air is passed through the powder via the gun from the section where the powder is stored or the hopper. This air blows the powder from the gun in the form of a cloud; as it gets out, it gains an electrostatic charge.
When the powder is charged, it covers the product's part and affixes onto the surface. This is among the reasons powder coating gear is easy to use, even for beginners.
There are multiple kinds of powder spray guns, though the best option would be buying a professional-grade model since they are more dependable. However, they are more expensive.
Something else to remember is space; the moment you have a powder spray gun, you will need a separate place to use it. Typically, when powder spraying, some will spill on the floor or the surrounding areas. This is what’s called overspray, and it is critical to keep it off your work area. This is where a powder spray booth comes in handy.
A powder spray booth is constructed to keep your entire workspace clean and simultaneously deliver a properly-lit space for applying the powder. Generally, powder spray booths have an exhaust fan or more.
The exhausts employ filters to nab most overspray for a tidy workspace. If the filters are properly maintained and the exhaust functional, the air circulation should keep the overspray within the booth and allow you to see what you're doing.
If the workspace has blasting and welding sections, ensure the spray booth you invest in can keep off airborne impurities from your powder-coated product.
There are many booth designs on the market, and investing in the perfect one depends mainly on the material you're coating, space and workflow needs. Spray booths either have doors on one side or are open-faced.
What’s more, they can come in tunnel-style designs with in-built filtration. So, if you have a small space, the best option will be a powder spray wall since it will offer you the necessary filtration and airflow without taking up too much space. This spacious filtration setup is a spray booth with no roof or walls.
For those who want to recycle the powder, ensure your spray booth design includes a reclamation system; which uses pleated cartridge filters. These are useful in recovering the overspray, which you can recycle later. This is significantly affordable if you intend to only use one type and color of powder for the coating. The filters capture the overspray and then transfer it to the recovery bin for recycling.
For the more advanced spray booths, the powder is reconditioned, blended with fresh powder and then transferred to the hopper, which begins disbursing once you switch on the spray gun. Also, if you intend to use different colors, you should get a detachable filter module set. Regrettably, purchasing reclaim modules can be expensive since you can’t reclaim more than one color in each module.
Regardless of the booth you buy, choose one that will uphold decent throughput for your coating works. Nonetheless, if you have strict finish needs, you might require a clean room, also called an environment room. This is a climate-controlled space constructed around where you apply the powder.
Its role is to get rid of airborne pollutants and regulate the humidity and temperature when applying the powder to prevent contamination, inconsistency and clumping. Often, these rooms are suitable if your workspace is dirty or your products need stringent salt or adhesive spray tolerance specifications.
The final step is curing, which requires powder-curing ovens.
Once you coat your product, only one step is left; putting it in an exclusively built powder curing oven. These usually run from 3250 to 4500 F. Once it heats up, the temperature steadies and the coated material is exposed to air heated to a specific temperature for a precise amount of time. When the curing process is finished, the material is removed and left to cool before being used for other purposes.
Some curing ovens utilize infrared radiators to heat the surface of the coated material. However, these kinds of gas-catalytic and electric powder ovens can be expensive to purchase and maintain. Most of the time, ovens depend on natural gas, LP-fueled heat setup or electric heating elements. They are more orthodox, usually relying on heated air, which moves through the material for convectional heating and curing.
How long the material takes to cure differs substantially based on the product's shape, size and thickness. A small, slim product can take 5 to 10 minutes, while a bigger heavy-walled product can take over an hour to cure correctly.
What happens to the powder-coated parts after curing? If you want a professional-grade powder coat, the type of curing oven you buy is vital. Brand-name curing ovens are explicitly engineered to produce supreme coating results and efficiency regarding energy expenses and fuel usage.
You may utilize your curing oven a few hours weekly, so buying an inefficient oven can swiftly drain your profits.
Like spray booths, curing ovens have different designs and sizes, so invest in one that perfectly suits your needs.
Professional powder coating setups come in two primary configurations:
This powder coating line is a setup which prepares, coats and cures products in batches, allowing the machine operator to handle dozens, or not hundreds, of products within a short while. Usually, the products are suspended on metallic rolling holders, which move with the products during the entire coating process.
With this system, the products are shifted from one stage to the other, and the phrase “batch coating system” is often used to define works where huge objects are coated independently after being moved by machine or hand.
This automated option generally utilizes similar appliances as the batch system. Still, it combines most or all
of the phases through a motorized conveyor, which hauls the parts at a consistent rate. The materials are
placed on the conveyor at a specific location and go through every phase, where there are either automatic
devices or manual operators that clean and prepare the materials and then apply the powder to them.
When the materials are coated, they are passed through the curing oven and left to cool as they move
along on the conveyor belt until they can be unloaded.
Powder coating equipment is prevalently expensive and takes some time to learn how to use. So, why go through all this trouble to have a powder-coated final product? Here's why:
Powder coatings are more resilient and resistant to damage and degradation from moisture, impact, chemicals, abrasion and other elements. For this reason, it is more preferred than liquid coating.
The material used for powder coating is available in numerous finishes and colors. This allows you to customize the coating for variety and to meet client requirements.
Powder coating doesn't involve possibly dangerous materials and byproducts found in conventional coating processes, which significantly lessens the environmental risk it presents.
You can collect and reuse overspray in your other powder coating works. This reduces the material wasted and reduces the cost of material over time.
You can gather, package and ship the coated products once they have gone through the curing oven and cooled. This reduces the time these products will sit in the facility.
Are you searching for a powder coating solution provider for your projects? Then you have come to the right place! With our 30+ years of experience in this industry and professional-grade design products offering ultimate stability and supreme performance, you can be sure that we understand what you need.
Here are some of the benefits of trusting us as your powder coating service provider:
Powder coating is only possible with great equipment, which is what we have to offer. Our top-of-the-line powder coating product line has everything from pretreatment and application equipment to curing ovens for the final step.
The main feature of our curing oven is infrared, which allows faster production and needs less energy usage. Conventional curing ovens need the whole part to be heated, making the process less manageable and taking longer.
We also have several automatic spraying systems, manual spray systems for applying the powder coating,
and MPC-5 Micro Powder Center ultimate quality swift color change for DDF pump and injector systems.
We deliver your machines on time for custom and standard coatings to ensure your business runs without a glitch or delay.
Contact us today to learn more about powder coating equipment or our services!