ACC specialise in the application of high-performance powder coating services, helping customers meet specific engineering performance and visual appearance specifications.
First developed in the 1950s, powder coat finish can be used on an increasing variety of products in almost every major manufacturing industry today.
As demand for greater environmental compliance grows, powder coating is increasingly the preferred finishing process over traditional solvent-based wet paints, as they contain no solvents and emit negligible, if any, polluting VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere.
ACC are one of the leading powder coating companies providing specialist powder coating services to components in the automotive, defence, marine, offshore, rail sectors and general industrial sectors.
The powder coating process includes surface pre-treatment, powder application (automatic and manual) and high-temperature oven curing
Powder coatings are available in a range of differing chemistries to suit specific product application requirements
Benefits provided by powder coatings include corrosion resistance, cosmetic enhancement and enhanced functional performance
Applications include high temperature, noise reduction, vibration damping, anti-graffiti and anti-bacterial
Available in a wide range of colours, texture, gloss levels and can also be manufactured to custom colour matches
Powder coating is the electrostatic application of organic powder to metal parts requiring protective or decorative coating. The powder is cured by heating or baking, resulting in a hard, continuous coating. To understand why powder coating is more advantageous than wet paint, it’s important to first understand the process.
The powder coat process includes pre-treatment, powder application and high-temperature powder curing. The process begins with pre-treatment/surface preparation of the substrate. Each part is cleaned, removing grease, dirt and anything else that might interfere with the painting process.
This may include abrasive/mechanical or chemical cleaning, though it usually consists simply of cleaning the metal surface and pre-treating it in some fashion (e.g. phosphating) to prepare the surface to bond well with the powder during the curing process that follows as well as providing a degree of corrosion resistance. Without proper pre-treatment, the powder on a part will chip and corrode easily.
Following pre-treatment, the object must be completely dried before powder is applied. This can be accomplished using oven drying or air drying. If an oven is used for the drying process, the part usually must be cooled before the application of powder coating. Once completely dry, the part is ready to have powder applied using either spray techniques. The powder is electrically charged as it is applied to the part, giving each particle of the powder a negative charge.
The part being powder coated is electrically grounded as a means of attracting and attaching the powder to the part’s surface. This electrostatic attraction is a key requirement of the process, aiding the coating evenness and the speed of applying the coating.
The result is a uniform coating of dry powder clinging to the part. After the part is coated with powder, it is moved into a conveyorised curing oven. There the powder gels, flows and cures to produce a smooth, durable powder coat finish.
Wet painting is a traditional treatment method by which a pigment in any water-based or solvent-based paint is sprayed onto the surface of a part. Common applications of wet paint include automotive exteriors and extremely large or heavy items. When superior performance is required, powder coating as a finishing process can replace traditional wet painting.
Many concerns or issues associated with wet paint finishing are eliminated or minimised with the powder coating process. The advantages of powder coating over wet paint are many, and they generally fall under four categories.
Powder coatings are more durable and more resistant to corrosion, chemicals and weather than liquid coatings. Powder-coated surfaces are more resistant to chipping, scratching and other such wear due to the thermal bonding process during curing. Unlike wet paint, powders also don’t run or drip, providing a more uniform coating than liquid paint.
The result of using powder coating is that the product will have the most attractive, durable, high-quality finish available.
Powder coatings are cheaper and can cover more area than most other organic finishes, translating to lower material costs than wet painting processes. Because they lend themselves well to automation, powder coatings can also reduce costs related to operational labour, as reduced operator training and supervision are required for a powder line.
Compared to wet paint processes, operational cost savings using powder coatings can also be realised in greater throughput, less waste produced, lower energy costs, reduced disposal costs and less rework due to lower reject rates.
Wet paints can be flammable, carcinogenic and full of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals can be hazardous to plant/shop personnel if not handled properly. Powder coatings, on the other hand, are generally VOC-free materials and contain no solvents, meaning they do not involve the potentially harmful chemicals typically found in a wet spray project.
Although powder coating materials can combust in a very narrow concentration of powder and air, their lack of solvents or VOCs means almost none of the short-term and long-term health or fire workplace threats associated with wet painting.
VOCs in the wet painting process are also among industrial pollution concerns. Because powder coatings contain no solvents and emit negligible, if any, polluting VOCs into the atmosphere, they are more environmentally friendly than their wet paint counterparts.
Moreover, powder coating is a clean process: powder overspray can be retrieved and reused, and unused powder can be reclaimed and returned to a hopper for recirculation through the system, with negligible waste. Plus, most powder coating materials are considered landfill/non-hazardous materials.
Powder coatings meet all Environmental Protection Agency requirements for air and water pollution control.
ACC provide a variety of high performance powder coating finishes tailored to the unique technical and environmental requirements of different components and industries. Our experience has helped develop bespoke treatments in order to deliver long lasting functional coatings. At the request of our customers, components can also be finished in a wide range of colours in order to help them stand out or blend in with their surroundings.
Powder coating is a fast and cost efficient method of protecting and colouring metals. It generally provides a tougher and longer lasting finish than traditional liquid paint coatings. Powdercoating can be used for individual products that require specified levels of corrosion protection in service along with specified colours and gloss levels. It also works well for mass produced items due to its cost effective nature. As such ACC coat product in significantly high volumes destined for the automotive sector.
Metals can be powdercoated in almost any colour or shade. The uniform finish provided by powdercoating delivers a more professional look. While traditional liquid paints can leave an uneven surface and slightly different shades due to brush strokes, streaks and colour running. The lack of solvents in powdercoating also helps significantly from an environmental perspective by reducing emissions to air of evaporating solvents.
Powder coating utilises high voltage (kV) low ampage electricity in order to deliver the best protection and finish. The chosen powder to be coated on to the metal is given an electrostatic charge through specialist powder coating equipment. The positively charged powder particles are attracted to the earthed metal providing an even and comprehensive finish.
Prior to the application of powder coating, the metal substrate must be thoroughly cleaned with chemical pretreatment methods, and sandblasted to ensure the removal of any grease or dirt. This helps the powder particles adhere to the surface and ensures an even smooth finish.
Once the coating has been applied, the metal is then cured in an industrial oven. This process encourages coating adhesions and the formation of a protective skin.
The broad advantages and versatility of powder coating means that it is used across a wide range of industries and sectors from automotive to medical and agricultural. Since its introduction in the 1940s, powder coating has become the popular form of protective coating for a diverse range of automotive parts including interior, exterior and underbody components. Various forms of powder coating have also been adopted by the aerospace industry thanks to its ability to withstand extremely challenging operating conditions in both the commercial and military sector.
The protective and decorative finishes that powdercoating provides has made it a popular form of coating across many sectors and industries due to its fast cycle times, minimal handling and ease of application.
Powder coating is very durable compared to other types of coatings. Unlike some liquid painted coatings, the tight chemical bonds formed during the powder coating process provide a high level of protection against environmental factors such as weather and UV exposure. Powder coated metals are also more resistant to everyday damage such as scratches, chips and abrasion.
Powder coating is also very versatile. Different coatings chemistries can be applied in order to meet the demands of different environments. For example special marine powder coatings provide protection against seawater salinity and bacterial corrosion helping increase the lifespan of marine vessels and components. Polyester powdercoatings offer excellent UV resistance whilst epoxy powdercoatings offer excellent chemical resistance. There are also hybrid powdercoatings such as epoxy-polyester blends which offer the benefits of both chemistries. There also super durable powders available in polyurethane and polyester chemistries.
When compared to other forms of coating, powder coating is a more environmentally friendly way of protecting assets. Not only does it increase the lifespan of a product, powder coating contains no solvents and emits negligible, if any, polluting VOCs into the atmosphere.
The powder coating process is clean and efficient. Unused powder can be retrieved and reused.
Most powder coating materials are considered landfill/non-hazardous materials. Powder coatings meet all Environmental Protection Agency requirements for air and water pollution control.
Powder coating is cheaper than other forms of coatings such as wet paint. The coating process can be easily automated helping to reduce labour costs. This effective and thorough form of coating means that there is less waste due to a lower rejection rate, while the powder that is not used can also be recycled for later use. This increased life expectancy that powder coating adds to a given product also means that it will need replacing less often.