Powder Coat: What is it and how does it work?

For well-crafted metalwork, we know here at Liberty Machine that the actual fabrication of a piece is only the beginning. The rest is the beautiful finish. This is where metalwork can sometimes get tricky. As anyone who’s ever painted their outside stair railings knows, paint can crack and peel and ultimately trap metal-corroding moisture underneath, leading to a chippy, rusty nightmare. However, what about powder coating?

What is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is like a magical mix of art and chemistry. With a traditional paint, we have a wet liquid suspension that binds to the object we’re painting and takes awhile to dry. By contrast, powder coating is a dry powder that’s sprayed directly onto an object. You’d think it would just fall off, but instead, the powder sticks to the metal object because they’ve both been electrostatically charged.

How Does Powder Coating Work?

Anyone who’s ever peeled off a dryer sheet from their pants knows that electrostatic charges make things stick to each other. The basic idea is that “opposites attract.” When we’re ready to powder-coat an object, we hook up the metal to a machine that gives the metalwork a slightly negative charge. The powder gun we use has a rod inside it that gives the powder a slight positive charge. When it’s “painted” on the metal object, the powder sticks even though it’s dry, just like iron filings clinging to a magnet.

When the metalwork is fully coated with the powder, it’s then put into a special oven or baked under a heat lamp until the powder warms up, melts around the object, and forms a durable shell, almost like the candy coating on an M&M but much tougher. That’s why powder is used to coat items such as auto and bike parts, household appliances, and computers.

Advantages of Powder Coating

If you’ve ever painted a wall or any other vertical surface, it probably didn’t take long to figure out that you hated drips. When paint is applied too thickly, it’ll goop up and sag. Even though it forms a tough layer, powder coating won’t goop — and it doesn’t require coat after coat to give it durability.

At Liberty Machine and Custom Fabrication, Inc., we care about the quality of our metalwork. We want you to love our work for a long time. Powder coating can form a smooth, heavy-duty seal that preserves your metal for years. Moreover, powder coating offers a variety of colors and textures that allow you to design a piece with visual detail and variety. In short, powder coating is, well, pretty cool. Take a look at our gallery of custom work to see what Liberty Machine can put together for you.