Application of Powder Coatings

At IFS we manufacture powder, we don’t actually apply it. There are thousands of powder coaters all over the USA who do a great, high quality job of applying powder coating to metal substrates. There are a few different ways of applying powder, but the most common is electrostatic application.

The parts to be coated are hung on a moving conveyor and they are grounded.

In this method, the powder is placed in a hopper, which often looks like a big drum that sits on the floor of the powder spray booth. The powder is then fluidized, which essentially means we push air through the powder which makes it behave like a liquid. This means that the fluidized powder can be pumped from the hopper, through lines or hoses which connect the hopper to a powder spray gun.

At the end of the spray gun there are some electrodes. When you fire the powder gun, the powder is discharged from the gun and picks up the electrostatic charge from the electrodes at the end of the gun.

The parts to be coated are hung on a moving conveyor and they are grounded.

The electrostatically charged powder is then attracted towards the grounded parts. The electrostatic bod keeps the powder on the part. Once the part is covered in powder, the conveyor then carries the parts to an oven.

Each powder comes with its own cure schedule, which tells us how hot the oven should be and how long should the powder coated part stay in the oven for. The coated parts stay in the oven for the required amount of time.

The powder heats up, then it melts, flows and then gels. As it gels and cools a whole new chemistry is created on the part. That is what makes powder so tough, hard and scratch resistant. A whole new chemistry is created that can’t be broken.

Tribostatic application

In tribostatic application, the powder particles are charged by rubbing along a specially designed tube on the inside of the powder gun. The particles become charged using friction and are then attracted to the grounded parts. Using a tribo gun requires a different formulation of powder than a corona gun.

Fluidized bed application

Another way of applying powder is to use a fluid bed. In this method the a fluidized powder bed is created and the parts are “dipped” into it.