With powder coating offering businesses one of the most long-lasting, hard-wearing and cost-effective finishes available on almost any type of metal, it’s no wonder that demand for powder coating services has risen dramatically over the past few years. Charles Corner, managing director of full service sheet metalwork manufacturer, Fresh Metal, discusses the advantages powder coating can provide, and how incorporating powder coating services into manufacturing processes can result in numerous benefits for businesses.
Long-lasting, hard-wearing finishes and coatings for metal surfaces not only make components look more aesthetically pleasing, but can also improve the structural integrity of the material. Powder coating – one of the most sought-after metal finishes on the market – is considered a strong, durable finishing option, and we at Fresh Metal believe that the advantages of using this metal finishing method far outweigh those of more traditional paints and coatings.
One of the main reasons we introduced powder coating services at Fresh Metal is the speed in which the method can be implemented. By immediately powder coating components that come through from our fabrication facility, we’re offering an elevated, full metalwork service to our clients. The powder can be used straight away, with no need to combine it with other materials, such as solvents or catalysts, meaning clients receive an efficient service that can be quickly and effectively implemented by the operator.
The safety of operators during the application of any metal finish is a major driving factor for businesses in the manufacturing industry. With wet paint finishing, any paint that the operator comes into contact with often needs to be removed first with a solvent before being rinsed with warm, soapy water. In some instances, specialist industrial cleaners will be used in order to remove paint from the skin. The powder used when powder coating doesn’t usually cause skin irritation and can be easily removed with water, limiting the health and safety risks for operators.
An additional benefit of powder coating is that no solvents are used throughout the process, reducing the risk of fire and safety concerns for the operator. By eliminating the need for solvent ingredients, powder coating is also less harmful to the environment. Solvents volatilise during application and stoving, usually deeming them unrecoverable. Due to strict legislation, these volatilised solvents cannot be released into the atmosphere, meaning businesses have to install after burners to effectively eradicate this problem, in addition to employing an attendant to operate the machinery, all of which results in increased costs to a business.
Powder coating can also reduce product waste and air pollution issues, as residual powder can be collected and reused without polluting the air.
Another consideration for businesses when thinking about what metal finishing method to implement is cost. Powder coating is one of the most economical methods available on the market for a number of reasons. The air extraction process required when powder coating is much less intensive than when using solvent-based materials, meaning ventilation costs are reduced considerably.
The safer nature of powder coating also minimises the costs on a business’ statutory safety features, as well as decreasing insurance premiums that are subject to flammable liquid regulations.
In addition, when using powder, material loss can be kept to less than five per cent. Any residual powder collected when implementing the process can be recovered and reused, removing the need for costly waste removal services. As well as cost considerations, the overall metal finish achieved following application is also of paramount importance for manufacturers – a poor finish can result in negative customer perception, which could have a detrimental effect on future business.
Unlike wet paint finishing, powder coated surfaces are less susceptible to chipping, scratching, fading and wearing. The durability of this finishing method minimises the need for re-coating and touch-up work, resulting in reduced costs for additional applications.
Many of our customers require metal finishes in a wide variation of colours, and powder coating offers a plethora of different colours to clients, that don’t dull or distort when applied to the metal. Varying texture options are also available when powder coating, which can be useful for clients looking to hide metal surface imperfections after fabrication.
At Fresh Metal we believe that powder coating should be a business’ go-to metal finishing method. The safety, performance and environmental benefits of utilising this technique all speak for themselves, while the cost savings that could potentially be achieved are reason enough to incorporate the method into various manufacturing processes.