Every once in awhile, a new development transforms an industry. Pretty soon, we’re wondering how we ever got by before the technology shifted the rules. Remember trying to meet up with your friends for dinner back before we had cell phones?
Well, here at Full Blown Coatings we get to be on the forefront of another game-changer. Powder coatings have revolutionized the way that we look at paints and finishes. We no longer have to be content with the inevitable cracks and chips that are just part of the deal with traditional liquid paint coats. Instead, powder coatings approach the problem in a completely different way, creating a solid, long-lasting finish that holds up to time, weather, and corrosion.
History of Powder Coatings
The development of powder coatings was driven by pressure to develop more environmentally friendly solutions in the manufacturing industry. The early days of powdered paint applications took place in the 1950’s in Germany, wherein powdered paint was applied through spraying flames on the surface in question. It was later found that a more efficient method was fluidized bed application. However, even though it was more efficient, it still didn’t offer the availability and easy application to answer industry needs.
The ESP Method of Application
Between 1962 and 1964, the electrostatic spray process of application for powder coatings was developed by Pieter de Lange. By mixing paint and grinding it into a powder form with the properly sized particles, it was possible to make the paint behave like a liquid, without necessitating environmentally-harmful liquid solvents. This liquidized powder was able to be electrostatically applied to a grounded metal object.
Although this method was put into practice in the 60’s, development and application progressed slowly, as chemical engineering gradually found various powder mixtures that allowed for more fusion and strong pigmentation throughout the curative process.
Today, powder coatings are used everywhere, from engineering equipment to your backyard barbeque. They provide the finish inside of freezers, on lighting fixtures, playground equipment, and ornamental fencing.
Advantages of Powder Coatings
- Environmentally Friendly: Because it’s free of chemical solvents, it doesn’t have the harmful impact that most liquid paints do, both while curing, and after it dries.
- Immediately Ready: Unlike traditional paints, it doesn’t require time to dry and set fully. It’s ready to go as soon as it’s out of the curing oven.
- Durable: Because it doesn’t create a brittle film over the object in question, it isn’t susceptible to the cracks and chips that occur as a result of expansion and retraction in the heat. It can actually coat materials like springs that are highly flexible, without cracking. Specially configured materials like ceramic coatings can withstand extreme temperatures like the heat of an engine, or the freezing temperatures of a fire extinguisher’s pressurized air.
- Variety of Options: Powder coatings started out with limited options, but modern materials give us a huge variety of options to choose from. You can choose different textures, vivid colors, and patterns.