Powder coating provides a ton of benefits over wet paint: it lasts longer, has greater color retention, is more weather resistant, and can be used in all sorts of harsh environments. Yet very few powder coating operations produce all these different finishes for their customers. It can be cost prohibitive to offer all these different applications, which is why most coaters focus on one or two things when starting their line. So one of the first question you should ask yourself is: what type of finish do you need?
Powder Coating: General vs Specialized
When you are first deciding what you want to powder coat, decide whether you will be powder coating a variety of different objects for everyday use or whether you will be powder coating one thing for a very specific use.
If you are planning on starting a job shop, your clientele is probably more generalized –
rims, handrails, frames, etc – and all you need is to make sure the coating looks good and your customers are happy. In comparison, if you are providing wheels to an auto manufacturer that require a five-year warranty against chipping and corrosion, you need equipment, chemistry and powder that can provide exactly what your client wants.
If you have a potential client who has a specific end-result in mind, ask to see their powder specifications. This will tell you how durable the powder coated finish needs to be, what powder should be used to achieve it, and how long the powder should be cured.
Getting the Right Equipment For the Job
A good rule of thumb is that the more specialized your process is, the more equipment and time you’ll require – but the jobs that need that specialization generally pay much more.
Take the time to go over the powder specifications with potential clients; this information will help when planning for new equipment. If the products are coming straight from an assembly line at another factory, you may need to add sandblasting or an iron phosphate pretreatment to get the metal ready for powder adhesion. If your client requires multiple coats, you’ll need to determine if your current gun and application setup can provide it. Different finishes can be dependent on different temperatures and very different curing times, so make sure your curing oven can produce the required temperature. Knowing these things before you start installing equipment is critical for long term success.
For more on choosing the right equipment, start with What Finish Do You Need? Follow the links in that article for much more information on pretreatment, powder specification, cure testing and much more.
If you have any questions, please contact us or call one of our system specialists today!