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Powder Coating vs Painting: Which Finishing Process Is Best?

  • January 10, 2020

Powder coating and painting are two common finishing processes used in the manufacturing industry. They both involve the deposition of particulate matter onto the surface of an object or workpiece. Either powder or painting can be used to protect the underlying object or workpiece from rust, corrosion and degradation while also creating a colorful and attractive appearance in the process. Powder coating and painting aren’t the same, however. They are two unique finishing processes with their own advantages and disadvantages.

What Is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is a finishing process in which colored particulate matter is applied to the surface of an object or workpiece. The particulate matter, known simply as powder, is sprayed on the object or workpiece, thus forming a protective outer layer in the same color and material as the powder.

There are two primary types of powder used in powder coating: thermoplastics or thermosets. With thermoplastics, the powder is heated until it melts and fuses with the surface of the object or workpiece. With thermoplastics, the powder is mixed with a proprietary blend of chemicals during application to trigger setting. Although there are several types of powder coating, most require either the use of thermoplastics or thermosets.

What Is Painting?

Painting, on the other hand, is a finishing process in which liquid paint is applied to the surface of an object or workpiece. Liquid paint can be applied manually by brushing or spraying, or it can be applied automatically using a spray machine. Regardless, painting is an age-old finishing process that’s characterized by the use of liquid paint. The liquid paint is evenly applied to the object’s or workpiece’s surface.

In some painting applications, heat and pressure is used to help the paint set. Exposing the newly painted surface of an object or workpiece to heat and pressure encourages the paint to fuse. As the paint fuses with the object or workpiece it creates a strong and long-lasting shell that’s able to withstand the hands of time.

Powder Coating vs Painting

Liquid paint offers an easy and inexpensive way to finish an object or workpiece with a protective coating. Painting also supports a wider range of colors than powder coating. There are powders in nearly all colors, allowing manufacturing to customize the colors of their products using this finishing process.

Powder coating is able to create an even thicker, and therefore stronger, protective barrier than painting. Furthermore, powder coating typically only requires a single coat, whereas painting may require three or more coats. It’s also worth mentioning that powder coating is environmentally friendly.

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