Your Powder Coating Questions Answered

Posted: May 10, 2019

The Basics of Powder Coating

What is powder coating?

Powder coating is a fine powder made of epoxy, polyester, polyurethane, or nylon that is electrostatically applied to a metal or other material. Upon heating, the material crosslinks, and forms a durable, hard coating. Epoxy and polyester coatings offer a good, uniform appearance. Polyurethane powders provide a decorative and protective coating suitable for exterior use. Nylon is primarily used as a protective coating.


How does powder coating work?

Powder coating starts with a variety of substances being melted, mixed, cooled, and ground into a uniform powder, similar to the consistency of baking flour. Electrostatic Spray Deposition (ESD) is used to apply the powder coat to the metal. In this process, a spray gun applies an electrostatic charge to the powder particles, attracting them to the grounded metal. After the powder coating is applied, the parts are placed in a curing oven, where the coating chemically reacts to the heat, resulting in high cross-link density.


What is a powder coating oven?

Powder coating ovens heat up powder coated parts to bake the powder on them. They can be electric heated or gas fired, and are most commonly batch style ovens, where one load of parts at a time is placed into the oven and heated. For high volume part baking, powder coating ovens can be continuous, where the parts are carried through the oven on a conveyor.


What are the benefits of powder coating?

Powder coating offers a very durable and attractive coating. It is also environmentally friendly, as no solvent fumes are released, and overspray is kept to a minimum due to the electrostatic attraction of the powder to the substrate.


What is a curing oven?

Paint cure ovens heat up painted parts to cure the paint on them. They can be electric heated or gas fired, and are most commonly batch style ovens, where one load of parts at a time is placed into the oven and heated. For high volume paint curing, these ovens can be continuous, and the parts are carried through the oven on a conveyor.


How does a curing oven work?

A curing oven is a type of industrial oven that causes a chemical reaction between the powder coating using heat, which results in a high cross-link density.


What can be powder coated?

Metals such as steel and aluminum are the materials most often powder coated. Medium density fiberboard (MDF) can also be powder coated.


Temperature Settings for your Powder Coating Process

What temperature does powder coating cure at?

Powder coating generally cures at 350°F to 450°F (184°F to 240°C). Higher temperatures reduce the time required in the oven, so both time and temperature have to be considered.


What temperature does paint cure at?

Industrial enamels typically require 10 to 30 minutes to cure at 250°F to 400°F (121°C to 204°C). Some improvement in curing time occurs at lower temperatures, even as low at 100°F. 


How hot does a powder coating oven get?

The maximum temperature rating for a powder coating oven is 500°F.


What temp do you bake Cerakote?

Cerakote is baked at 250°F for two hours. Baking at 300°F reduces the time to one hour.


How long does powder coat take to cure?

How long a powder coat takes to cure depends on the metal thickness. At an average temperature of 400°F, a typical time to cure an item is approximately 30 minutes. The exact time varies depending on the manufacturer's powder specifications.


About the Coating

Is powder coating toxic?

One of the benefits of powder coating is that it is non-toxic and harmless to the environment.


Is powder coat durable?

Powder coating is very durable, since it is a solid plastic coating bonded to the material during the baking process in the oven. Different powder formulations have varying resistance to weathering, UV rays, chemical attack, and physical abrasion. It is important to select the correct powder for your specific application.


The Cost of Powder Coating

How much does it cost to powder coat?

As with anything, pricing can vary significantly with each person you ask. There are also many considerations that go into calculating the cost of powder coating. A few considerations include the kind of powder coating, the size of the product, the number of components being treated, whether the products need to be cleaned, degreased, sand blasted, etc., before being coated, and more. Since there are so many variables, giving a specific price range can be difficult. A wide range that should be taken as very loose guidelines is close to something between $0.40 and $4 as pricing per square foot to powder coat.