Category Archive: Powder Coating

Powder Coating vs. Painting

While powder coating and painting may seem like purely aesthetic practices at first glance, surface finishing is a critical component of building robust products. Materials like ductile iron, carbon steel, and other reactive metals will corrode if left uncovered in the elements, so an exterior coating provides an essential added layer of protection. 

Powder coating and painting are two strategies for achieving this protection against the elements, each with its own unique benefits and downfalls. Although both processes share many common features, including pigments, resins, and additives, wet paint contains solvent while powder coating does not. This one difference is what makes paint a liquid and powder coating a solid, a distinction that leads to unique application styles, textures, durability, and personnel requirements.

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What is the Difference Between Powder Coating and Paint?

Yellow powder coating

Powder coating is a powder that contains pigments and resins which a skilled technician can apply to any surface using electrostatic spray. This deposition system attracts the particles to the object’s surface, then seals in the coating with heat. Although this process tends to be more expensive and requires more specialized training than paint, it offers a few key benefits.

The excess powder can be reused, making the process more sustainable and efficient than painting, and only one coat is required. Additionally, applying a powder coating is generally regarded as safer than paint—it omits any potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that painting tends to release into the air, some of which have been known to cause headaches, nervous system damage, and even cancer. Unlike paint, powder coating is not flammable, which makes storage simpler and safer.

Should You Choose Powder Coating or Painting?

Like any manufacturing consideration, choosing between powder coating and painting will depend heavily on your intended use. There are, however, a few key positives and negatives to keep in mind when choosing between powder coating and painting. 

Powder coating of metal parts. A man in a protective suit sprays powder paint from a gun on metal products.

In addition to being safer and more efficient, powder coating is also more uniform than painting. The electrostatic deposition process, which negatively charges the powder to attract it to the application surface, ensures even distribution of the powder coating across the product, and the subsequent curing process allows the coat to set into a hard, uniform exterior. Painting requires much more time and effort to reach the same level of uniformity, and successful industrial painting often requires enlisting a highly trained professional to combat drips and sags. You can also create textured surfaces with powder coating much more easily than with paint.

Finally, a powder coat is more resistant to scratches, chips, and other common sources of wear and tear.  When crafting outdoor products or components that will undergo chemical or material stress, mitigating chipping and scratching is key to preventing rust and decay. Even for low-stress applications, the powder coating’s thicker layers and strong thermal bonds help preserve the color and texture of your product over time. Sunlight, moisture, and other environmental exposures will break down both paint layers and powder coating over time, a process known as “chalking,” but powder coating’s tough material properties slow down the rate of decay.

Powder Coating Services from Pyramid Fab & Finish

Powder coating is a powerful alternative to traditional painting for many industrial applications, especially those that need high protection from the elements, a smooth and hard finish, an efficient application process, or safe exposure and storage. While there is no universal answer to the powder coating vs painting debate, powder coating’s electrostatic deposition application process provides a host of benefits that will enhance your product’s lifespan, durability, color, and more. If these advantages sound like they might benefit your product, get in touch with our team at Pyramid Fab & Finish to discuss custom powder coating solutions today.  

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How Much Does Powder Coating Cost?

Manufacturers and machine shops rely on powder coating daily to enhance the properties of the metal goods they create. Powder coating is a dry finishing process used throughout many industries to add a durable, high-quality finish that protects metals from environmental conditions and prolongs product life.

Powder coatings consist of resins combined with additives such as pigments, leveling agents, curatives, and flow modifiers processed into a flour-like consistency, then applied to a metal substrate by electrostatic spray deposition. This blog post will discuss the powder coating process and its associated costs.

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Powder Coating Cost Considerations

Quoting the cost of powder coating has more variables than other finishing processes, such as painting. It isn’t just the square footage that impacts cost, though it is fair to say that a larger surface area will drive up the price of the job. Some other factors that will affect the overall estimate include:

  • Color. Special colors, metallics, and color matching to an existing tint can be more expensive than some standard colors.
  • Specific gravity. The specific gravity impacts the coverage per pound. Industry standards assume a solid-to-liquid density ratio of one, though that density may vary between colors.
  • Thermoset vs. thermoplastic. As more durable and more heat-resistant materials, thermoset plastics cost more to powder coat than thermoplastics.
  • Thickness of the powder coating. Thicker coatings require additional material, which drives up costs.
  • Prep time. Previous coatings or the size, cleanliness, and geometric complexities of the part will all impact preparation time. Longer preparation times will result in higher costs.
  • Number of items. Higher volumes gain economies of scale on setup and material costs, which helps to lower the cost per coated item.

An infographic explaining the cost considerations of powder coating

Is Powder Coating Worth the Cost?

Powder coating has a higher upfront cost than wet painting, which might make the process intimidating for some projects. If you’re considering an investment in powder coating, here are some of the benefits powder coating has to offer over standard wet paint:

  • Corrosion protection. Most metals are prone to oxidation. Applying a powder coating protects the metal from oxidation and corrosion by creating a tough, virtually impenetrable barrier.
  • Sustainability. Powder coating is more environmentally friendly than most paints. It has negligible levels of VOCs and no waste to affect groundwater or runoff. Preventing corrosion also reduces long-term waste from rusted products that can no longer be used.
  • Longer lasting. Paint or metal sealants must be reapplied periodically to maintain coverage and preserve the look of the metal. In contrast, powder coating requires only a single, long-lasting application.
  • No fading or color change. The color in paint fades and changes over time and exposure to the elements. Powder coating will remain the same color without fading, preserving aesthetics and resale value.

Quality Powder Coating is Worth the Investment

Industrial powder coating

Powder coating is a widely used process for a reason. It provides a virtually impenetrable coating to prevent rust and oxidation while providing appealing color and finish. Not only does it resist fading and color change, but this long-lasting protective coating is more environmentally safe than paint. Powder coating applied by a qualified expert means you only have to do it once.

For the highest-quality powder coating services, turn to the experts at Pyramid Fab & Finish. Our powder coating capabilities extend to a variety of metal components, including metal enclosures, brackets, boxes, and frames in many colors, finishes, and textures. We also offer cost-saving services, including in-house design and manufacture of custom racking systems for optimal line density and custom masking fixtures to meet complex masking requirements.

To see how we can help with your project, please contact us today.

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