How a Powder-Spray Paint Booth Compares to a Wet-Paint Booth
Powder coating is used for a wide range of modern industrial products and applications, including appliances, metal furniture, computer cases, and certain automotive parts. Its popularity is derived from its relative ease of use and undeniably more lasting, consistent finish than wet paint.
Let's look at a few of the quick reasons why:
Benefits of Powder Coatings
Powder coatings are a type of paint that is applied dry inside a powder spray paint booth. For the powder to stick to metal, the surface must be first cleaned and sandblasted or dipped in acid and attached to a mild positive electric charge. The dry-powdered pigment is then sprayed from an air gun that is similar to a paint gun, giving the particles a negative electrical charge as they leave the gun. The opposite charges attract, attaching the powder to the metal surface and providing an even dispersal of the powder itself. Then the powder is cured onto the surface using a high-heat oven.
Other benefits include:
- No drip. For oddly-shaped metal parts, powder coating is an excellent application as it adheres to all surfaces without dripping or marring the surface like wet paint.
- Scratch-resistant. Powder coatings stand up better than wet paint.
Comparing Powder Coating to Wet Paint
Although powder is considered to be a tougher coating than most paints, some industries still prefer the use of wet paint. To achieve the high-gloss look that is desirable on vehicles and a wide range of other materials, painters must use clear-coat applications in wet-paint form. The clear coats allow painters to buff the surface to a high gloss that is just not possible in powder coating.
The paint can be solvent-based, as in oils or thinners, or water-based. This latter option is quickly becoming the preferred choice in areas with fragile ecosystems or other environmental concerns as it helps to reduce the amount of air-borne volatile organic compounds (VOC's) released into the atmosphere during the spraying process.
Also, because powder-painted products must be cured in a high-temperature oven, powder sprays may not be an option for many large products. Large vehicles, planes, and boats would need giant, cumbersome ovens for curing, making wet paint a better option.
But that's not to say that powder is easily outdone by its wet counterpart. Powder coating is much easier to perform and is popular for its reliable results. Gloss, surface texture, and color are designed into the powder and remain consistent from one spray operator to another. Its thickness is estimated to be 4 to 10 times that of liquid spray paint, accounting for its extreme durability. Plus, curing is as easy as raising the temperature of the coating to 300 to 350 degrees for 15 to 30 minutes, dramatically cutting down on production time.
In terms of environmental impact, powder coating is environmentally-friendly by nature, posing little risk to health and minimal potential for fire or environmental hazard.
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