Cracking Open the Can of Worms: Choices We Face When Shopping for Powder

Powder coating is not a monolith.

Instead, it’s a can of worms. A rabbit-hole. A never-ending smorgasbord of colors, textures, gloss levels, chemistries, additives, and applications. When you start to dig into the options, you’ll find that they’re (almost literally) never ending. How on earth are we supposed to pick the right one out of millions?

It’s too much for one blog, so consider this the first installment of a series aimed at demystifying the myriad of choices we face when shopping for powder coating materials.

Thermosetting vs Thermoplastic

All of the powder that Kaser sprays is thermosetting. This means that once the powder has cured, it’s done (or “set”) – it will retain its cured form even if it’s reheated. Thermoplastic coatings, on the other hand, will gel and flow if reheated, making it easier to repair scrapes. Thermoplastic coatings tend to be thicker and gummier than thermosetting coatings, like what you might see on playground equipment or your dishwasher rack.

Regular Durable vs Super Durable

Powder coating is essentially pigment and resin. But not all pigments and resins are created equal. If your part is going outdoors, always choose super durable powder coating. Yes, it will cost more; but its color and gloss will hold up for five years, whereas regular durable powder coating starts to chalk and fade after one.

Vein vs Hammertone

While these textures have a similar aesthetic, veins involve two colors (one of which is typically black), and hammertones do not. Both textures are useful for hiding scratches on old parts. However, veins are tougher to spray, and typically also require a clear coat. If you’re looking to save time and money, stick with the hammertone.

Bonded vs Unbonded Metallics

Bonded metallics are almost always preferable – though more expensive – than unbonded metallics. We typically spray bonded metallics straight out of the box with no issues. When the powder is unbonded (meaning the metallic flake was added to the powder after extrusion), however, we have to fluidize the powder before spraying. Otherwise, the metallic flake falls to the bottom of the box or concentrates in certain areas on the part, resulting in uneven application.

What are some of the other choices you face when shopping for powders? Put them in the comments, and I’ll tackle them in the next blog.



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