Myth: powder coating, once cured, is indestructible.
Fact: while powder coating can be designed to effectively resist weather damage, sunlight, fading, industrial solvents, and moisture, it is not bulletproof. It is not even scratch-proof. If you throw a smooth, glossy, perfectly powder coated part in the back of your pickup truck and let it bounce around while you drive down Highway 2, we promise that you’ll be disappointed with your coating by the time you get home.
We’ve seen plenty of powder coated parts come back to the shop after getting damaged during shipping, and we’ve adapted our packaging methods accordingly. Whether we’re packaging a hundred steel beams or a single lawn chair, we need to know that the part is protected as it drives off the lot.
Our packaging philosophy can be boiled down to three cardinal rules:
Cardboard and powder coating do not mix. If cardboard is allowed to rub against a powder coated surface for any amount of time, it will at minimum scratch the coating, and at worst rub all the way through it. If you’re picking up parts at Kaser, please leave all cardboard boxes at home.
Foam is your friend. We always make sure that stacked parts have a layer of foam between them. Foam is gentle on the coating, and helps keep parts from rubbing against one another in transit. The heavier the part, the less effective the foam, however – in extreme cases, we use a combination of foam and dunnage as a buffer between heavy, stacked parts.
Motion means damage. It may seem obvious, but bears repeating: while you experience a smooth ride in the cab of your luxury pickup, the trailer riding behind you is a much bumpier world. Left unsecured, parts will bounce around, jostling one another and ruining your coating. This is true no matter how carefully you drive, and the same rules apply to semis. The more the parts move, the more likely they are to scratch.
When we’re packaging large orders for industrial customers, we almost always put them on pallets. Lighter parts will be stacked with foam between them and shrink-wrapped til they’re immobile. Heavier parts will be stacked (in smaller quantities) with foam and dunnage between them, and steel-banded to the pallet. Steel banding is also effective for sharp parts that might cut through the shrink wrap.
Best case scenario, if parts are leaving our lot on a trailer, we’ll strap the pallet to the trailer to minimize motion even more. We do all we can to keep the parts from bouncing around, and we recommend you do the same.
Once you’re aware of the damage that can occur during shipping, it’s pretty easy to mitigate. We consider proper packaging an important part of our process, and we’ll do all we can to get your parts home safely.