Shortcuts and work-arounds are lifesavers for busy powder coating job shops. Anytime I can cap threads instead of painstakingly masking them with tape, for instance, I consider that a victory – it’s a time-saver that does not negatively impact the end product. There are no downsides.
Lest we become too addicted to efficiency, it’s important to remember that certain outcomes require us to take the long, meticulous route.
Smooth powder coating is one of those outcomes. Put simply, there is no shortcut to achieving smooth powder coating.
It starts in the blasting booth. You will never achieve smooth powder coating on a surface that has not been appropriately prepped. Corrosion, mill scale, oil, and old coating remnants will all come back to haunt you after the coating has cured. Your best chance at smoothness starts with near-white metal and a solid surface profile.
A critical component of your surface preparation routine, pretreatment banishes any lingering oils. It also lays the groundwork for long-term corrosion protection, giving any coating you apply the best possible shot at durability.
The next step is making sure your technician knows their powders. A good operator has read the data sheets, knows what film thickness to aim for, and maintains steady, consistent passes for the duration of the spraying process. Experience is priceless.
Finally, make sure you’re not being sabotaged by poor powder choices. If you’ve beefed up your surface preparation and your experienced technicians still aren’t seeing good coating results, it might be time to shop around for a new powder coating material vendor. You’ll be amazed what an impact powder chemistry can have – what works well for one application (or shop), may not work well for another. Experiment until you find your glass slipper.
In short, the pursuit of smoothness is a slow one. No part of the process can be shortchanged without sacrificing quality.