Powder Is Not A One-Trick Pony
Posted on Saturday, October 1, 2011
Powder, which has been around
for almost 50 years, typically
is thought of as a single-coat
coating for steel and aluminum surfaces.
Of course this is because powder
does work as a fantastic aesthetic
and protective coating for all kinds of
steel and aluminum applications. As
a matter of fact, where powder is
used in many of these applications,
there is nothing that can really compete
with it. However, did you know
powder is being used in many other
applications that you may not have
even thought about? The fact is,
powder has been developed for multiple
applications outside the typical
single-coat system on steel and/or
aluminum with great success. Check
out the list below and see how many
of these applications you knew about
or had heard of before you read this
1 Did you know powder has been
developed for applications on
glass? Yes, I said glass. Powder
has been used as an opaque color
coating to enhance the appearance of
perfume bottles as well as some
transparent powders for glass bottles.
2 Have you ever seen powder
applied to fiberglass? I have;
and with the right process it
works great. The attraction is there,
and with the proper cure schedule,
the out gassing you would expect
from fiberglass is manageable.
3 Surely you have heard about
powder on heat-sensitive substrates
such as medium density
fiberboard (MDF), which can be
used for cabinetry and shelving, and
on plastics that can be used for handles
and accessories for the appli-
ance and automotive markets. If you
have not heard of this, where have
you been? Under a rock?
4 Did you know powder has been
used on assembled parts? I am
talking about parts such as
electrical motors and hydraulic cylinders,
where the product is assembled
and many of the components have a
low tolerance for heat and with special
formulations and unique curing
system powders have worked very
5 Did you know you can cure
some powders with special
infrared (IR) curing in less
than 10 seconds? I am talking completely
cured, not just a gel stage.
6 How about this one: Have you
ever seen powder applied in a
dry-on-dry application? This is
where the first coat is applied to an
ambient temperature part utilizing a
zinc primer and without any post
thermo energy the part remains at
ambient temperature when the
weatherable top coat is applied. Then
the two are mono-cured together, creating
a fantastic intercoat adhesion
and a superior protective coating.
The trick is in marrying the two powders
together with the proper formulations
and cure process.
7 How about using powder for a
base coat for sublimation?
Through heat and pressure,
you add an emblem that penetrates
the coating for extended wear and
durability. In this application, the
sublimation process virtually can be
anything you want it to be. It can
simulate wood grain, water drops, or
even a picture of yourself.
8 Today powder is also being
used with a one-step coating
that has multiple dry colors
blended in. This gives a visual of a
multi-step process. Because powder
does not dissolve together during the
cure cycle, many multi-color looks
are achievable in a one-step process.
9 Did you know you can add
anti-microbial ingredients to
powder and/or formulate powder
with anti-graffiti properties?
10 Get this: Powder can be
applied in the field without
the need for a cure oven. I
have seen powder applied on pipe
with an induction coil on the pipe.
The coil is rolled over the area to be
coated and the functional coating is
applied on the hot surface and cured
using residual heat. There are even
application devices today that apply
the coating through a flame, causing
the powder to melt and fuse to the
surface without the need for a postbake
11 I love this one: I recall seeing
powder applied to class
rings and then the surface
being polished off leaving the background
12 How about powder used in
an in-mold application?
Yep, it has been done and it works.
13 Coil coating with powder is
being done every day and
with some very impressive
14 Did you know you can get
powder that can withstand
applications where they
are in excess of 1,000°F.
15 You can get peels, textures,
coatings and powder that have multiple
16 You can get powder to be
used as an insulator and
powder that can be formulated
as utilizing conductive
17 I have seen applications
using thermoset powders
where the average film
thickness is less than 1 mil and some
where the average is in excess of 60
18 Today, powder can exceed
AAMA 2605 performance
needs as well as some of
the most harsh chemical resistance
applications you can think of.
19 I recall powder being used
as a protective coating as
well as adhering two metals
surfaces together in the same
20 How about military applications,
and powder for porcelain
enamel applications? Let’s not forget
to mention these!
So, do you think I missed anything?
Well, of course I did. There
are so many unique uses for powder
coatings! But, how did you do with
this list? If you were aware of about
10 of these uses, you are average. If
you knew about 11-15, you are well
informed. If you knew 16 or more,
you must be as old as I am and
should probably keep that a secret.
When you need a coating for any
application, don’t rule out powder.
It has been developed for uses well
beyond what you might think it is
typically used for. You may not use
powder for every application, but
then again, maybe you can?
Steve Houston is vice president of TCI
Powder Coatings, Ellaville, Ga. He can
be reached via email at