My life would be a lot simpler if the quality of the powder I purchased correlated directly with the quality of the coatings I produced. But alas.
To be clear, investing in high-quality powder is helpful. However, the best powder on the market can easily look terrible if I’m not thorough in the processes leading up to its application.
Here are three steps to laying a good foundation for flawless powder coating.
Evaluate the part.
Standardizing your processes is a good idea, but don’t forget to be flexible, too. Take a good look at the part when it arrives. Is it oilier than you were expecting? It might need an alkaline cleaner. Is it scratched? It could benefit from some dual action sanding. It may be fresh from the fabricator, but do you spot mill scale? Consider blasting it first.
Customers won’t always tell you these things when they’re requesting quotes, so take the time to diagnose each part, and alter your plan accordingly.
Prepare (and protect) the surface.
Blasting parts before coating them is beneficial for a number of reasons I won’t reiterate here, but did you know that blasted parts are vulnerable to rapid corrosion? Store your blasted parts indoors, and don’t let them sit too long before pretreating and powder coating them. At Kaser, we can get away with letting them sit for a week or two in the winter. In the summer, when the weather is more humid, we have to move faster than that.
Note: parts that are extremely rusty to begin with will re-corrode much faster after blasting, so plan accordingly.
Beware of debris.
Dust is everywhere, even in a clean shop. Blow your parts off before coating them, especially if they’ve been sitting a while after pretreatment. Those specks won’t be visible to the naked eye until the powder is cured, at which point it’s too late.
From the moment the part is dropped off at our shop, everything that happens – or doesn’t happen – to it impacts the quality of the final product.