Powder coating is a type of coating service that is applied to a substrate as a free-flowing, dry powder. Thermoplastic powders and thermosetting powders are the two main types of powder found in powder coatings. Thermoplastic powders will re-melt when heated while thermosetting powders will not. Powder coatings can be made of many different materials including acrylic, fluorocarbon and polymers including polyester, polyethylene and epoxy. Acrylic powder coatings provide excellent chemical, corrosion and scratch resistance and have superior hardness and overall durability. In a fully cured state, fluorocarbon is very hard and resistant to chemicals, solvents and sunlight. Powder polyester coatings are highly flexible, durable and resistant to UV radiation and have good weatherability. Polyethylene powder coatings are easily-cleaned thermoplastic powder coatings that are used for thicker coatings and to provide resistance to acids, alkalies, salts, alcohols and solvents. Each material is available in a number of different colors and finishes. Powder coatings are mainly used for coating metals like aluminum extrusions, automobile parts and bicycle parts.
Advantages to powder coatings over other coatings include: zero or near zero emissions of volatile organic compounds, it produces less hazardous waste, thicker coatings without running or sagging, its overspray can be 100% recycled, lower cost of production for big jobs and offers a wide range of specialty effects that are impossible with other processes. Its disadvantages include its inability to apply smooth, thin layers, five to ten years after exposure to ultraviolet rays the powder coating can start to break down and it has a higher production cost for smaller jobs. The powder coating uses three main actions: part preparation or pre-treatment, the powder coating application and curing. Industries that utilize powder coatings include automotive, furniture, appliance, information technology, telecommunications and other industrial uses. Powder coating is just one type of several coating services that are available. Coatings can be made of liquids, solids or gases. Their main function is normally to provide corrosion and water resistance to many different objects to improve their durability and lifespan.