PCI Certification Emphasizes Powder Coating Done Right
Posted on Monday, January 6, 2020
Representing the North American powder coating industry, the Powder Coating Institute (PCI) operates under the mantra of “powder coating done right,” providing information, education and training to advance the utilization of powder coating as a high quality, durable finish for industrial and consumer products. A major component of this effort is the PCI Certification program.
Powder coating is an exceptionally high-quality product finish. The performance of powder coating depends on the quality of the substrate, preparation, powder material selected, application process and curing method. To realize the best possible performance, the correct procedures must be followed within each process. These procedures are developed based on the end-user’s desired aesthetics and the end-use performance requirements of the finish.
The PCI Certification program focuses specifically on powder coating operations and is designed to acknowledge coaters who understand the correct procedures and processes needed to achieve required product performance. PCI Certification is an extensive audit program, conducted by a PCI-authorized inspector, who evaluates an applicant’s powder coating processes and procedures, equipment, maintenance practices and quality control to ensure they have the capability of producing a high-quality powder coated product and meet the high-performance standards necessary to achieve PCI Certification.
The program offers two certification types; PCI 3000 Certification applies to custom coaters and PCI 4000 Certification is for original equipment manufacturers that apply powder coatings in-house.
PCI Certification benefits both certified coaters and manufacturers that outsource their powder coating needs. Among the many benefits for certified coaters are having a qualified, third-party evaluation and assessment of their powder coating capabilities, a tool to serve as a basis to create a continuous improvement process for enhancing powder coating operations; differentiation from other coaters; access to the PCI Certified logo to promote their certified status; and the image elevation associated with the high standards of certification. Manufacturers who utilize a PCI Certified coater benefit from the added assurance that the selected coater takes their powder coating needs seriously and has demonstrated they have the competency and processes in place to deliver a quality powder coated product.
“Process measurement and repeatability are key to giving customers confidence that a certified finishing operation has the processes in place to do the job well,” notes PCI’s Interim Executive Director Sheila LaMothe. “By successfully completing the certification process, coaters demonstrate that they understand that powder coating is a high-performance painting process that must be maintained and controlled to optimize the performance of the finish. This is a crucial component of powder coating done right,” she adds.
In order to maintain PCI certified status, annual audit procedures are required. The certification cycle consists of an intensive on-site audit, followed by two years of maintenance audits which require documentation that ensures processes and procedures evaluated during the on-site audit have been sustained to the level required for PCI Certification. In year four, the intensive on-site audit is repeated.
For more information on PCI Certification, how to become certified or to locate a PCI Certified coater, visit www.powdercoating.org/certification.