The reasons that a product designer recommends a powder-coat finish are numerous. This dry finishing process is proven after being used in North American industry since the 1960s. If applied correctly, the finish is very durable, much more so than a typical liquid coating. The finishing process is considered to be environmentally friendly because the powder coatings contain no solvents and the application process releases negligible, if any, volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. Also, any powder coating overspray can be retrieved and reused.
That’s a pretty impressive resume, but there’s even more to powder-coat finishes, which now account for 15% of all industrial finishes, according to the Powder Coating Institute. When polymer resin systems are combined with the right curatives, pigments, leveling agents, flow modifiers, and other additives that make up the powder, these coatings can deliver special looks and performance attributes that expand upon powder coating’s reputation for durability and environmental friendliness. Are metal fabricators aware of some of these special attributes? Those that already powder coat in their own facilities might know of some of them, but this discussion might prove to be enlightening for those metal fabricators that are more focused on cutting, bending, and welding metal. There’s a lot to learn about powder coatings.
A Coating to Fight Virus Transfer
Antimicrobial powder coatings are nothing new, but a pandemic might make them more interesting to manufacturers looking for another layer of protection from the coronavirus and other contagious viruses. G.R. Kearney, president, Acme Finishing, Elk Grove Village, Ill., said that a new customer approached the company recently with a request for this type of coating for a new sanitization product, and another longtime customer asked that its home fixtures start receiving the antimicrobial coatings. So some interest is there even if it only represents “a small uptick” of Acme Finishing’s overall business.
How does it work? Silver ions are the important ingredient in the powder coating formula, according to Marty Korecky, AkzoNobel Coatings. You might not realize it, but silver ions also are used in activewear fabric to stop stink-causing bacteria from reproducing when you sweat. The same thing happens in the powder coating: The silver ions prevent the bacteria that land on the surface from reproducing.