LoctekMotion offers a variety of attractive color options for lifting columns and standing desk kits. Most people probably don’t put much thought into how the paint was applied. But our chosen method, electrostatic powder coating, is worth investigating further. This modern, efficient application method offers numerous advantages over traditional, liquid paint – impacting everything from economics to the environment. Let’s explore those advantages as well as the origin and process of powder coat paint.
Origins of Electrostatic Powder Coating
Traditional, liquid paint relies on water or solvents to dissolve and distribute the pigment or resin –the components that provide the color coating – and to create the optimal consistency for application. After the paint is applied, the solvent evaporates, leaving a dry coat. Some solvents are derived from oil or natural gas, which can cause pollution and environmental impacts. Many liquid paints emit gases into the air known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Some VOCs are harmful, with effects ranging from eye, nose and throat irritation to ozone pollution.
Electrostatic powder coating originated in the 1960s with the purpose of coating pipes to increase their durability and to insulate electrical components. Electrostatic coating was first used as a finish after traditional paint. Soon after, color was integrated into powder coating, and the process was simplified since solvents were no longer needed for application. Use of powder coating in paint application grew quickly and is now used for everything from household items to heavy duty machinery. The benefits were twofold: economic, because of the efficient process and quality, lasting results; and environmental, with the elimination of VOCs polluting the atmosphere and causing health risks by inhalation.
Powder Coating: How it Works
All the necessary components of each powder coating are melted and mixed together, cooled and ground into powder – about the consistency of flour. The process by which the powder is applied is called electrostatic spray deposition (or ESD). ESD uses a spray gun that applies an electrostatic charge to the powder particles. As the particles are released, the charge attracts them to the metal piece to be coated, adhering them to the surface. Once the powder is applied, the metal parts are sent to a curing oven, where the heat chemically reacts with the coating to strengthen the molecular bonds – creating the signature durability of electrostatic powder coating.
Advantages of Electrostatic Powder Coating
Quality. A powder coat doesn’t run and drip like conventional paints. The finish is always smooth and consistent.
Durability. The finish of powder coating is more durable than other more traditional coatings. Compared to liquid paints, powder coating offers better resistance to impacts, moisture and fading.
Versatility. Powder coatings can be easily tailored as needed for different colors, gloss levels, coat thickness and textures.
Cost savings. The powder coating process practically runs itself through the automated conveyor belt and spray coating station, saving on staffing costs. Also, because a powder coating has more color density than liquid paint due to its solid state, fewer coats are needed.
Efficiency. Any overspray can be collected and reused – recycled right back into the coating process. In fact, the material efficiency rate can come close to 100%. This is an economic as well as environmental benefit. Additionally, since powder coatings have a faster curing time than liquid coatings, production speed is maximized.
Environmental friendliness. Powder coating makes it simpler for manufacturers to comply with environmental regulations. Because there is no carrier fluid to evaporate, the powder coating process emits no VOCs, and there is no need to install expensive pollution control equipment (also an economic benefit!).
LoctekMotion’s Electrostatic Powder Coating Process
A variety of LoctekMotion lifting column components are sent through the powder coating process. They start on the automatic powder coating lines, where employees attach each part to a hook on the conveyor belt – a separate belt for each color – so the parts can hang freely and be accessible to the spray guns from every angle. The conveyor belt carries parts down the line, winding throughout the facility, through the spray painting station and finally to the curing oven to set.
Strict measures are taken to protect the safety of workers and equipment. Because of the electrostatic charge of the paint particles, nearby areas must be grounded to prevent static buildup and arcing. All hangers and conveyors must be cleaned often for safety, keeping LoctekMotion’s manufacturing facility pristine.
Choosing powder coating to color our components is yet another way that LoctekMotion demonstrates our commitment to quality, efficiency, and manufacturing our products with the consumer’s best interests in mind.