Plastic Coating

Plastics have many advantages in industry and consumer products. Plastic can be manufactured from polymers much more cheaply than glass can be made from silicates. Plastic can range in hardness from being nearly as hard as metal to a soft and flexible sheet. Plastic can be sterile and fairly resistant to chemical degradation. Plastic can substitute for aluminum and glass in many applications even though it is inferior to both. 

For all its flexibility as a material, plastic still needs special preparations for certain uses. One example is a powder coating. Most consumers are familiar with then when they buy latex gloves that seem strangely coated with a light powder on the interior. This coating serves to reduce friction with the glove and make removal easier. A powder coating also has special uses for the manufacturing process.

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One important use is for enduring unusual processing techniques. Sometimes a plastic part needs to survive exposure to intense ultra violet light or even more intense radiation. If plastic has one killer, it is radiation. Since plastic is made from long polymer strings, high energy particles can break down plastic and make it brittle. Coating plastic with a special layer that resists light allows it to be used repeatedly inside an industrial environment.

In fact, some UV-resistant layers are applied as a powder coating and then hardened with high energy particles. The resulting layer is not only clean and without remaining residue, but it retains its UV-resistant outer coating. What is interesting about Powder Coatings is that they not only provide a thick layer to a plastic core, but the curing process can further transform the layer and give it additional properties.

Once upon a time, everything that needed a polymer coating received it as a paint. It might have been coated with a brush or else a robotic arm sprayed the paint onto the product. Those days are gone because powder has so many more advantages. The powder avoids the added expense of binders, and clean powder can be swept and recycled. Curing the powder creates a stronger bond than simply a chemical binder.

Paint has the potential to crack and flake; cured powder coatings are practically welded to the core plastic and almost never cracks or flakes. They are highly stable and hardly ever emit volatile organic compounds onto skin or the environment. Since they bind much more thoroughly than paint, the result tends to be smooth. Again, they achieve thicker layers with one pass while a paint would require multiple passes.

Powders are much cheaper and healthier to use because special solvents are not needed to clean equipment. Loose powder can be swept away, as only the layer on the product is cured. Since no chemical transformation occurs outside the curing zone, cleanup and recycling is a breeze.

Perhaps the most persuasive argument is that a powder coating can achieve textures and visual effects that are much more attractive than paint. A metal component can receive a polymer coating, and powder can be cured to a uniform fine texture that blends well with metal. Plastics that mimic metal usually achieve this illusion with a cured plastic coating.