Working with Plastic Powder Coating: A Users Guide

When it becomes necessary to apply color and/or protection to a surface, plastic powder coating should be one of the options to be considered. This is especially beneficial for covering metals, because it creates a tough coating that will protect the surface beneath. The steps necessary for working with this type of coating differ from that for liquid paints, which makes it beneficial to peruse a user’s guide.


Plastic powder coating come in 2 main forms, which are thermoplastic and thermoset. However, these will take on the same finish, and can be used in the same way. This type of coating is especially beneficial for use on metals, but can also be used on wood. After the powder is applied and cured, it forms a layer atop the surface, that acts as a protective coating.


There are a number of different preparatory steps that must be undertaken before plastic powder coating can be used. In the first instance, it is necessary to protect yourself with the help of protective goggles, face mask and clothing. If it is not possible to work outside, it will also be necessary to protect the area in which you are working, and to ventilate it. The surface that you intend to apply the paint to also has to be cleaned and prepared. This can be undertaken with a chemical cleaner, or by the sand blasting it.  


The manner in which powder plastic coating is applied is different from other types of paint, which is often applied with a brush. However, both paints and powder coat can also be sprayed on, though using different equipment. Applying the powder using an electrostatic gun will be the easiest method, as it will attach a positive charge to each particle of coating, which causes it to attach to the surface. In some situations, heating the metal surface to be coated will also be beneficial. The tribo gun method results in the powder being charged by friction, in order to make it attach to the required surface. Different nozzles are available for the guns, to enable the coating to be applied efficiently, according to the surface. Where the item is of the right size, it is also possible to preheat it, before dipping it into the powder to coat it.  


The plastic powder coat is designed to melt, so that it blends together into a single strong plastic coating layer, which makes curing an essential part of the application process. Where curing is not undertaken, and the coating is exposed to high temperatures, it will run and create an uneven result. Curing the coating will enable it to be fixed in place, which means that it effectively needs to be cooked. The instructions of the particular coating used must be followed, but you will find that the coated item needs to cure at a temperature of at least 390 degrees F, for 10 minutes. Both standard convection ovens and the infrared variety can be used for this purpose.