Powder coating, the most modern and revolutionary finish for metal products, is a cost-effective, durable, UV-resistant process that creates an attractive and hard-wearing layer of paint on the surface.
While it’s not as complicated or expensive as other finishing processes like electroplating or plasma spraying (both of which are often used in industrial settings), there are specific steps one must take before starting a powder coating system.
Thoroughly Clean the Item to Powder Coat
The first step before beginning anything is to ensure that the item is thoroughly clean. Remove any grease or oil on the item’s surface with a degreaser, and then wipe it dry. Mask the areas that will not be coated, such as bolt heads.
For smooth surfaces, this is usually an easy process. However, rough surfaces, such as welds, may require sanding or grinding to get rid of rust and clean the area thoroughly. The cleaner the item is before you begin, the better the powder coating job will look in the end. Once it is clean, let the item completely dry. Allowing it to dry out completely will prevent mold growth when you apply the powder coating process.
Check the surface for damage
The second step is to check the surface of the metal part. It means checking which parts of your object will be receiving a coating and which parts will be left bare. In some cases, it may be necessary to sand, file, or even drill holes into certain surfaces to expose a clean surface or make certain areas more attractive in a finished product, for instance, where a stamping process is applied.
Inspect for corrosion and damage
The third step is to inspect the parts for any rust or corrosion. It also serves as an opportunity to note any areas you may want to touch up or sand down. Corrosion can cause your parts to look blemished and leave them less than ideal for powder coating. If corrosion has occurred, sand down the metal until you have a smooth surface free of blemishes and other damage.
Remove any paint from the item
While there are a variety of chemical solutions that will attempt to remove paint from metal, these usually leave the surface looking matte and dull. In this step, you want to remove any paint from underneath the coating. You can do this with fine-grit sandpaper to get a smooth surface for powder coating or even by using a wire brush to expose bare metal that will then have a good finish applied over it.
Perform a final inspection before beginning the powder coating process
The final step is to inspect the metal parts to ensure there are no flaws or blemishes. Look for any signs of corrosion, damage, or other faults. If you find faults during this step, it is much easier to fix them now.
If there are any minor issues, you can address them at this time before applying the powder coating. The last thing you want is a herculean size flaw to appear after having applied the powder coating. If it is something that you can fix with sanding or grinding, then fix it now before moving forward in the process.
These five steps are all that is required to prepare an object for powder coating. It may seem a little overwhelming, but with a bit of research and practice, the process will become smoother and more manageable with time.