Known for its durability and superior protective qualities compared to traditional liquid paints, powder coating has become a popular finish in a variety of industries. Manufacturers that need to guard equipment and components from the elements have found it delivers a more effective solution than other types of coatings. The process has become standard procedure in the automotive, defense and power generation sectors.
Everything from bicycle frames to engine parts to patio furniture can be coated with this method. It has become so prevalent that the average person is sure to use something powder coated at least once a day. However, that same individual most likely knows next to nothing about where the process came from or how it’s done. When did powder coating start? How was it developed? Read on to learn more about its history and how it became so widely used.
The Basics of Powder Coating
Before delving into the powder coating timeline, it’s important to understand how it works and what makes it so valuable. Although powder coating is used for much the same reason as paint — to coat and seal metal surfaces — it differs in some key ways. Rather than a liquid, it starts as a dry powdered mixture of polymers, pigments and other additives, depending on the application. It is transferred onto a surface via specialized spray gun. Before each particle leaves the nozzle, it is given an electrostatic charge that enables it to adhere to the substrate. This ensures total coverage.
Once the surface is thoroughly covered, the part or product to be finished is transferred to a curing oven. The intense heat causes the polymers to melt and form long molecular strings that create a complete coating over the entire surface area. Combined with its ability to provide significant protection from environmental and chemical factors, the aesthetic of powder coating makes it popular with manufacturers.
How It Was Developed
Before the 1940s, liquid paint was the sole option for applying a finish to metal parts. That began to change when flame-spraying — a procedure for covering a metallic surface with organic polymers — was developed. Although flame-spraying was used occasionally, it was generally considered an ineffective option.
A breakthrough occurred in the early 1950s when a German scientist named Erwin Gemmer developed a new technique. This involved using a fluidized-bed procedure to apply thermostatic resins. Faster and more efficient than the previous method, it became prominent throughout multiple industries. By the 1960s, the introduction of electrostatic application made powder coating more affordable as well as more successful. Charging the particles electrostatically allowed technicians to control the thickness of the coat as well as to achieve an even application over the entire surface. Today, the basic premise behind this technique remains the same, although new advances in materials and equipment are made all the time.
Turn to Rhinehart Finishing
Powder coating has come a long way since its inception, and Rhinehart Finishing continues to help guide it into the future. As a recognized leader in the industry, we have more capabilities and expertise than just about anyone else. We are up-to-date with all the latest developments and have the experience to provide the best results for your needs. We are also one of the few powder coating providers certified as a TACOM-approved applicator of military-grade coatings. This means we deliver finishes that stand up to the most challenging conditions and uses.
To learn more about everything we can do, get in touch today. Our representatives will be happy to answer any questions.