Powder Coating Makes It Possible
Over the last 30+ years, powder coating has revolutionized the finishing industry by providing a superior
, durable, environ
mentally friendly finish — particularly for metal products such as appliances, automotive parts, sporting goods and count
less other products. Powder coating is now the fastest growing finishing method in North
Now, a second powder coating revolution is underway.
Technological advancements in powder
coating materials and application
curing methods have brought the advantages of powder
coating to heat sensitive substrates. Powder coating is now used on a variety of products that
were thought impossible just a few years ago.
One of the biggest breakthroughs for powder in the heat sensit
ve substrate market is on medium
density fiberboard, or MDF, a combination panel bonding particles of wood with a synthetic resin.
MDF is very
for powder coating application because of its low porosity and homogeneous
surface. MDF products include office furniture, kitchen and bath cabinets, doors, store fixtures
and displays, barbecue trays and ready-to-assemble furniture for the office and home.
Powder Coating Fills a Need for MDF Products
Many office furniture makers are moving away from standard shapes such as squares and
to more rounded corners a
contoured edges, with interior circles and ellipses to allow
cords to drop through. They are also offering seamless desktop coatings and a variety
of colors and effects. Powder coating can
these shapes, while current lamination
techniques, which rely on edge-banding methods, cannot. And powder application is a one-step
finishing process, not requiring successive coats or
long drying times
Powder coating is revolutionizing the MDF market because it offers design freedoms other finishing methods and lami
nating processes just can’t provide. Powder coating provides a beautiful, du
able, seamless finish in every color of the
rainbow. And, powder coating protects MDF products from chips, stains, spills, and scratches.
What Is Powder Coating?
Powder coating is a dry finishing process, using finely ground particles of pigment and resin, which are
electrostatically charged and sprayed onto a part to be coated.
The charged particles adhere to the
until melted and fused into a
tough, even coating through the
of heat and energy.
Powder Coating on Wood — An Impeccable Finish
Lower Costs and Higher Efficiency
Powder coating is an economical and efficient operation.
Lower heating costs for curing oven —
The exhaust require
ments for a powder coating oven are lower than solvent-based
coatings, resulting in energy savings.
Greater operating efficiency/lower unit costs —
No drying or
flash-off time is required. Parts can be racked closer together
on conveyors and pass more quickly through the production
Lower reject rates —
More parts can be coated
automatically with fewer rejects because pow
der coating does not run, drip or sag.
High utilization efficiency —
application equipment, powder materials and
efficient recovery methods, one-coat applica
tion and 95-98% powder utilization efficiency
are readily available. If more than one color is
Meeting the Challenges of Heat Sensitive
Some woods and wood products such as MDF have suffi
and consistent moisture content to provide conductivity and
can be coated directly
. Wood parts that require sanding can be
cleaned with compressed air to remove any surface contami-
To enhance electrostatic attraction, wood can be pre
treated with a spray solution that provides a conductive surface.
The part is then preheated to a desired coating temperature,
which softens or partially melts the powder when it is applied
and helps the powder adhere to the part where
it melts a little on impact. A uniform board
surface temperature allows for high transfer ef-
ciency and consistent appearance.
For powder application, an electrostatic charge
is applied from the spray gun to deposit pow-
der on the MDF surface. Powder materials for
MDF can be either thermal cure powders or
UV-cured powders. Thermal cure powders rely
on infrared ovens, convection ovens or hybrid ovens that com
bine infrared and convection heating. The thermal energy melts
the powder so it will fl
ow into a level film and eventually cure, or
crosslink, into a finished fi
With specially formulated UV-curable powders, the melt and
flow can be separated from the curing process and requires
minimal heat to cure the powder
. After the parts enter an infra
red or convection oven where the coating melts and fl
two to ten minutes, the board is exposed to ultraviolet light for
just a few seconds for final curing and hardening of the fi
Then the parts cool naturally or in a cooling tunnel before they
are unloaded from the coating line.
Negligible VOCs —
Powder coatings contain no solvents and
therefore emit negligible, if any, polluting VOCs into the atmo
Less exhaust —
Powder coating is a clean process, allowing
exhaust air from the coating booth to be returned to the plant,
and less oven air is exhausted to the outside.
Reusable overspray —
Overspray can be retrieved and reused
for greater product utilization
No costly waste disposal equipment —
Unused powder can
be reclaimed and returned to a hopper for recirculating through
the system, with negligible waste.
Versatility and Durability
Most importantly, powder coating provides a durable and high-
quality finish, with a wide range of performance properties
including excellent resistance to impact, abrasion, heat, stains,
extreme weather and fading from sunlight.
range from smooth surfaces to a wrinkled or matte finish.
Rough textures are also available, designed specifically for
hiding any surface imperfections. And color selection is virtually
unlimited, including clear
desired, color changes can be made quickly.
Lower personnel costs —
Minimal operator training and super
vision are required for a powder line. Employees prefer worki
with dry powder because of lack of fumes, reduced housekeep
ing problems and minimum clothing contamination.
Simplified permit process —
The permitting process for a pow
der coating operation is simpler. Compliance with federal and
state regulations is also easier, saving both time and mone
Powder Coating Beyond MDF
In addition to successfully penetrating the MDF market, powder
has proven to be an effective fi
nishing choice for other heat
sensitive substrates such as plastic parts made of nylon and
polycarbonate and assembled products such as appliances,
electric motors or automotive radiators. Because of advance
ments in low temperature cure powders, plastic parts and wires
and rubber seals and gaskets are not damaged in the powder
And the revolution has just begun. Successful testing has
occurred on hardwoods such as beech, oak, ash and walnut.
Research engineers are studying the use of powder on paper-
laminated MDF, laminated flooring and particleboard. Research
is also being conducted on countertops, wood moulding and
trim, all of which will increase demand for
, and use of, powder
coatings in more new markets.
YOUR PRODUCT LINE TOD
To fi nd out more about powder coating and its applications, visit
the Powder Coating Institute: www.powdercoating.org
Learn how the “Powder Coated Tough”
trademark program can help promote and
expand your company’s powder coated product
line here: www.powdercoating.org/thestamp
Powder Coating Makes It Possible