Wet painting is a traditional treatment method by which a pigment in any water-based or solvent-based paint is sprayed onto the surface of a part. Common applications of wet paint include automotive exteriors and extremely large or heavy items.
When superior performance is required, powder coating as a finishing process can replace traditional wet painting.
Many concerns or issues associated with wet-paint finishing are eliminated or minimized with the powder-coating process. The advantages of powder coating versus wet paint are many, and they generally fall under four categories:
Powder coatings are more durable and more resistant to corrosion, chemicals and weather than liquid coatings. Powder-coated surfaces are more resistant to chipping, scratching and other such wear due to the thermal bonding process during curing. Unlike wet paint, powders also don’t run or drip, providing a more uniform coating than liquid paint. Moreover, the vibrancy of the color of a powder-coated part tends to stay bright and fresh longer than its wet-painted counterpart. The result of using powder coating is that the product will have the most attractive, durable, high-quality finish available.
Powder coatings are cheaper and can cover more area than most other organic finishes, translating to lower material costs than wet-painting processes. Because they lend themselves well to automation, powder coatings can also reduce costs related to operational labor, as minimal operator training and supervision are required for a powder line. Compared to wet-paint processes, operational cost savings using powder coatings can also be realized in less waste produced, lower energy costs, reduced disposal costs and less rework due to lower reject rates.
Wet paint is flammable, carcinogenic and full of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals can be hazardous to plant and shop personnel if not handled properly. Powder coatings, on the other hand, are generally VOC-free materials and contain no solvents, meaning they do not involve the potentially harmful chemicals typically found in a wet-spray project. Although powder-coating materials can combust in a very narrow concentration of powder and air, their lack of solvents or VOCs means there are almost none of the short-term and long-term health or fire threats that are associated with wet paint.
VOCs in the wet-painting process are also among industrial pollution concerns. Because powder coatings contain no solvents and emit negligible, if any, polluting VOCs into the atmosphere, they are more environmentally friendly than their wet paint counterparts. Moreover, powder coating is a clean process: powder overspray can be retrieved and reused, and unused powder can be reclaimed and returned to a hopper for recirculation through the system, with negligible waste. Plus, most powder-coating materials are considered landfill non-hazardous materials. Powder coatings meet all Environmental Protection Agency requirements for air and water pollution control.
The combination of performance, cost, safety and environmental benefits make powder coating an ideal finishing option for many parts. Additionally, powder coating has a wide selection of colors and textures to improve any part. Contact us to learn more about advanced finishes with powder coating.