Available in an array of colours and textures, powder coating is used in various applications due to its durability compared to conventional paint finishes. It is used as a functional, protective coating and as a decorative finish.
According to the Australasian Institute of Surface Finishing
(AISF), powder coating is a dry process by which selected items are coated with ground up paint particles in powder consistency, then cured by heat to form a skin. A high quality finish, powder coating is found on literally thousands of products such as:
Powder coating and its advantages
- household appliances
- playground equipment
- industrial applications
Creating a hard finish that is tougher than conventional paint, powder coating proves to be durable enough for the rigours of industrial applications. Key advantages include:
- protects the toughest machinery and household items
- provides an attractive finish
- extremely resistant to moisture and heat
- can withstand a large range of temperatures and extreme weather conditions
- powder coated aluminium parts won't rust and carry a lifetime warranty
- UV protected and resistant
- powder coating process is pollution-free and contains no solvent, therefore environmentally compliant
- cost effective, maximise production and improve efficiencies
- produces less hazardous waste than liquid paints
According to the AISF, this type of coating is shown to possess significant durability and resistance to abrasion, corrosion, scratching, and chemicals when compared to liquid coatings.
Safe Work Australia
has highlighted the potential risks associated with powder coating and its processes, as well as safety measures to ensure that workers exercise a high level of OH&S. According to its Spray Painting and Powder Coating Code of Practice
(October 2012) publication
, it is important to identify the associated hazards and manage the risks with spray painting and powder coating activities.
According to Safe Work Australia, it is through the powder coating process that workers are more likely to encounter hazards and risks associated with the use of electrical equipment, and being exposed to hazardous chemicals.
Classified as a hazardous chemical, triglycidylisocyanurate (TGIC) is used in such processes and workers may come into direct contact with it via:
- filling hoppers
- manually spraying powder paint, including ‘touch-up’ spraying
- reclaiming powder
- emptying or cleaning industrial vacuum cleaners
- cleaning powder coating booths, filters and other equipment, and
- cleaning up major spills of powder coating
Surface preparation and cleaning chemicals are also commonly used in the powder coating industry as it contains active ingredients such as:
- potassium or sodium hydroxide (may cause severe burns)
- hydrofluoric acid or hydrogen difluoride salts (may cause severe burns with toxic systemic effects. Skin contact with concentrate may be fatal. Special first aid requirements apply (eg. calcium gluconate)
- chromic acid, chromate or dichromate solutions (may cause cancer, burns and skin sensation), and
- other acids (eg. sulphuric acid which may cause severe burns)
Fortunately, there are TGIC-free powder coatings that are readily available in the market including:
- Duratec X15 and Duralloy XT from Dulux Powder Coatings are thermosetting TGIC-free powder coating formulated specifically for architectural applications
- Interpon (AkzoNobel Powder Coatings) provide TGIC-free coatings technology that is environmentally friendly
- PE50 polyester coating powders from OXYTECH Powder Coatings for exterior applications
Generally, powder coating is a clean process that provides environmental and safety advantages such as energy efficiency, pollution-free, recyclable and produce less hazardous waste.