A lot of people approach shopping for industrial coatings as though they were buying their metal parts a makeover. While there’s nothing wrong with prioritizing aesthetics, there’s so much more to be gained from the coating process if you know how to ask for it.
I’m talking about long term corrosion protection.
Let’s assume that any shop worth its salt will put out an attractive coating. How do you find one that also plans for your part’s future? How do you know whether your part – and its shiny new coating – will survive the long haul?
Start with the quote.
Don’t be surprised if the best shop in town quotes you nearly double what their cheapest competitor charges. Proper pretreatment takes time, manpower, and materials, all of which cost money. The good news, though, is that you get what you pay for: proper pretreatment creates a conversion coating on your part’s surface, delivering added protection from corrosion in the event of scratches, pinholes, and powder coating failure.
Ask about the process.
Wondering what pretreatment processes your shop has put in place? Ask them. While pretreatment formulas tend to be highly proprietary, the shop should at least be able to tell you how many stages of pretreatment your part will undergo (spoiler alert: 3-5 stages is a good range).
Be specific on the spec.
If you’re truly committed to long-term coating durability, consider asking your shop to spray a zinc-rich primer before applying the top coat. Yes, this will mean a longer lead time and greater expense; but it’ll also mean a thicker coating, an added layer of protection, and your part’s best possible shot at a long, healthy life.
Use your eyes.
I started this blog with the assumption that every shop puts out a seamless coating…but of course, that’s not the case. When you pick up, take a good look at your part. Every pinhole, fish eye, crack, or scratch in the powder’s surface invites corrosion.
Aesthetics are the bare minimum. They’re easy to achieve, but without the proper protections in place, they won’t last. Do your research. Find the shop that cares about your part’s longevity. It’s worth the wait.