Which is more expensive: powder coating one large part, or powder coating the same part that’s been broken down into several smaller pieces?
I get this question all the time. Often, it’s about something like a ladder rack for a truck: ladder racks can either be welded into a single part, or bolted together from several smaller components. Even though they’re the same part (and the same size), a welded ladder rack and a bolted ladder rack will be priced differently for blasting and coating.
Despite what many customers think, the size and weight of a part doesn’t matter much to us. We have a large work space, and we have forklifts; no matter how big and heavy the part is, we have the equipment needed to transport and powder coat almost anything you throw at us.
In fact, we prefer dealing with a single large, heavy part than with several smaller ones, simply because it saves us (and the customer) time and money.
Imagine a customer pulling in to Kaser Blasting & Coatings with a ladder rack that’s been disassembled into ten individual pieces. We have to unload each piece from the truck, one at a time, and put them on a pallet for transport. In the blast room, each piece is pulled off the pallet, blasted individually, and put back on the pallet. Each piece is powder coated one at a time, then packaged one at a time. If the pieces are the right size, we can put them all on a pallet and shrink wrap the whole thing; if not, each one gets wrapped individually with foam.
The extra handling, transport, and packaging is time consuming. It’ll add hours to the job, which adds expense for the customer.
That’s why a welded ladder rack will be quoted cheaper than a bolted one that’s been taken apart.
If the bolted ladder rack can stay bolted together (meaning we don’t have to blast and powder coat behind the cracks and crevices), we may be able to powder coat the whole thing as a unit, which will save the customer some money. This ultimately depends on the condition of the part, and the customer’s needs.
The ladder rack is a common and convenient example, but it’s by no means the only one that falls under the category of Large Parts That Could Be Disassembled, But May Not Have To. And of course, there are always exceptions – some parts will need to be taken apart no matter what. But if we’re given the choice, we’re in the business of saving you time and money. So keep it together, man.