Buying a car or truck is a major investment. Whether vehicle owners need something reliable to get them to work or just plan to enjoy the thrill of zipping down the highway, they want to maximize the value of their vehicles. Therefore, it behooves manufacturers throughout the industry to make their products as durable as possible. It is vital that they choose the best materials, but coatings are also a key contributor to durability. Automakers and after-market auto part companies turn to powder coating as their preferred finishing method for many vehicle components. What does this process entail, and why does powder coating auto parts make sense in many applications? Read on to learn some of the basics.
What Is Powder Coating?
To understand why this type of finish is such a good choice for automotive components, it helps to know how it works. In contrast to liquid paint, powder coating starts as a dry mixture of polymers, pigments and other additives. Its uniform consistency allows it to be sprayed out of a nozzle onto the surfaces of car parts. Before each particle leaves the spray gun, it is given an electrostatic charge that causes it to be attracted to the substrate. This ensures a thorough, even coat over every square inch of the item.
After the part is completely coated, it is moved to a curing oven. There, intense heat causes a reaction in the powder that melts it and creates the final coat. This process can be used to provide a protective layer or a decorative finish.
What Makes It Right for Auto Parts?
Although its cost and extra weight make powder coating less than practical for body panels, it is a great option for other components found on most mass-produced cars and trucks. Some of the most common places that benefit from powder coating include engine parts, wheels, frames and the undercarriage.
When properly applied, powder coating provides numerous benefits, such as:
- Protection from the elements: The exceptional durability and ruggedness of this type of finish means whatever it covers becomes more resistant to environmental hazards. It decreases the risk of corrosion and contamination, leading to longer vehicle lifespans and fewer maintenance requirements. If you are worried about damages caused by moisture, dust, UV light or bumps along the road, powder coating can form a protective shield against them.
- Lower risk of wear and tear: Traditional paint applications have a tendency to fade, scratch and chip the longer they are subjected to moderate use. This can leave certain parts of the car exposed to the environment and hurt its overall appearance. Powder coating can withstand a greater amount of abuse and help protect vehicle components for a longer period of time.
- Eco-friendliness: As manufacturers throughout the industry look for ways to reduce their environmental footprint, powder coating is an attractive option. That’s because compared to paints, these coatings contain fewer solvents and other potentially harmful chemicals. When manufacturers choose powder coating, they do not need to invest in complicated disposal techniques required by federal regulations.
Look to Rhinehart Finishing
As a leader in the industrial coating space, Rhinehart Finishing offers full powder coating capabilities. We use the most advanced equipment and techniques found anywhere in the marketplace. We are also one of the few providers certified as a TACOM-approved combat-grade powder coat applicator.
If you’d like to learn more about everything we can do for the automotive sector and beyond, get in touch with one of our representatives today.