Metal fabricators are a pillar that supports the nation’s infrastructure and economy. Countless aspects of our day-to-day life depends on some form of product fabricated from metal, whether its household appliances or critical medical technology. In short, fabricated metal products are invaluable in society, if they’ve been properly finished by a trained professional.
Why is Metal Finishing Important?
Taken on its own, raw metal has some distinct problems; without proper finishing, exposed metals can eventually corrode and tarnish. Depending on the intended use, unfinished metal-fabricated parts can be eroded by salts, weakened by ultraviolet light or rusted by rain. However, the metal fabrication industry realized many years ago that properly finishing components is essential for enhancing durability and the product’s life span.
Beyond that, correctly finishing metal-fabricated products greatly enhances aesthetics, which in turn, makes the products more valuable and pleasing to the end-user. In other words, metal finishing done right is a win for both the metal fabricator and the customer.
Powder Coating’s Impact on Fabrication
Metal fabricators didn’t always have powder coating as an option, though. In the past, fabricators opted for liquid paint; yet, this process took time, required proper conditions and performed poorly unless professionally applied.
In the 1960s, scientists perfected powder-coating, which was a new finishing process that revolutionized the metal product industry. Powder coating provided immediate advantages over previous finishing methods, giving metal fabricators and product manufacturers a leading edge.
Powder coating improves durability, while offering a premium appearance and lowering environmental impact. Over the years, powder coating has allowed metal fabricators to improve production time while increasing functional protective product properties.
How Does Powder Coating Work?
It’s crucial to understand exactly how powder coating works to fully appreciate its unique advantages. While conventional liquid paint has color pigments suspended in liquid, powder coating operates in a completely dry environment— this is an important aspect in finishing custom fabrication and coatings done through powder coating.
Here’s a brief overview of how powder coating works: dry powder receives a positive electric charge and gets sprayed under pressure to the unfinished metal object that’s grounded with a negative charge. This, in turn, creates an electrochemical change allowing molecules from the powder to attach to the metal. There’s a wide variety of powder bases including acrylic, polyester, epoxy, polyurethane or a blend of the aforementioned. The electric polarization inherent to the process allows entirely uniform coating without runs or sags.
After the fabricated metal parts have a uniform powder coating, they’re then placed in a high-temperature environment— the duration will ultimately depend on powder materials, and temperatures can range up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Powder-coated products are fully cured when they’re removed from the oven and can be used immediately.
Powder coating allows for complex geometric shapes to be easily coated with uniform coverage. Upon completion, powder-coated pieces have a solid, molecularly-dense, protective outer layer.
Unique Benefits of Powder Coating
Powder coating finish has a multitude of benefits over other available finishing options. Powder coating, performed by a professional, makes finished surfaces resistant to scratching, fading, wearing, and chipping. Beyond that, powder-coated metal products won’t corrode or rust, maintaining a new appearance throughout the product lifecycle. Powder coating also helps to make products nearly maintenance-free under normal usage, as there isn’t a need for repainting.
Powder-coated metal finishes stack up well when compared to other finish techniques. Since powder coating uses less equipment, requires less application time and takes up fewer raw materials, it’s a less expensive process than alternatives like plating and conventional painting. Powder coating is indeed a reliable process, reducing the amount of rejected work. It’s a cleaner, smoother and superior process than other finishing methods. Powder coating is environmentally-friendly, safe and cost-effective finishing. It’s no surprise that powder coating has such a superior advantage in the metal finishing industry.
It’s crucial to do your research when choosing a metal fabrication expert, as not all companies are capable of completing the same quality of work. Yarbrough Industries has years of experience here in Springfield, honing our skills across the board to deliver a quality product and measurable bottom-line value to our customers.