While there are many different types of finishing options available for aluminum products that can be used after post extrusion operations, one of the most long-lasting, durable and popular options is powder coating. When applied properly, custom aluminum coating solutions can extend the life of the parts or finished product, protecting it from cold, heat, scratching, corrosion, damage from sun, wind and weather. This is true of products that are made for use by both residential or commercial consumers.
Compared to other methods of coating aluminum, such as painting or the process of anodizing aluminum, powder coating is considered to be much more technologically advanced. It is extremely popular in North America and is used within many different industries, including automotive, aerospace, furniture, decorative pieces, appliances and even exercise equipment. It creates a great-looking finish that really performs. The process that is involved in adding powder coating finishes to post extrusion operations is just one of the reasons why so many people choose it and it reveals yet another of the many benefits of aluminum products.
Understanding the Process: Powder Coating Aluminum
A systematic process is used to add powder coating to aluminum products. A pre-process inspection is conducted first to ensure that there are no damages or anomalies in the surface of the materials that will receive the custom aluminum coating solutions. Once the inspection is complete, a pre-treatment is done to help increase the durability and long-lasting nature of the finished product.
This part of the process works to remove any type of foreign particles, grease, dirt or debris that may have been collected during the extrusion and post extrusion operations. Both chemical and mechanical methods are used to achieve a clean, smooth surface to prevent issues that can occur, such as flaking or problems with the powder coating sticking to the part or product. Some say that the pre-process inspection and pre-treatment part of the process are the most important steps in powder coating the aluminum because the success of the finished product relies on these actions so heavily.
The next phase is to actually apply the powder. The powder that is used also plays to the benefits of aluminum products, allowing the use of colored pigment and resin to be used together to create the actual coating. This powder is usually applied with an electrostatic spray gun, which gives the powder a positive charge that helps it to bond to the electrically grounded surface of the product. Other methods that can be used to apply custom aluminum coating solutions include the use of an electrostatic magnetic brush or electrostatic discs.
The final process involved in applying powder coating to post extrusion operations aluminum involves curing the piece or product. The item is heated at a fixed temperature for a set period of time in an industrial oven. This causes the powder to melt to the aluminum evenly to form a hard coating once it cools. Curing is very important to the overall process because it is what seals the powder coating to the surface once and for all.
Powder Coating vs. Anodizing Aluminum
Depending on who you talk to, you might hear that of all the custom aluminum coating solutions, anodizing aluminum or powder coating are the best methods available. However, there are many benefits of aluminum products that have been powder coated that make many believe it to be the superior method. The first is the cost. Compared to anodizing and other types of coatings, powder coating is less costly and produces a thicker coating, which allows the product a longer life. The investment made into this type of coating really pays off in the long run, providing a solid return on investment that manufacturers can trust.
Powder coating is more friendly to the environment than other solutions, such as liquid finishings. No solvents are used at any stage of the process, which means that no volatile organic compounds are released during the post extrusion operations. The powder coating also does not contain any harmful carcinogens and the wastes that are produced during the process can be disposed of safely or recycled to be used again. Combine that with the recyclable nature of aluminum itself and you’ve got even more benefits of aluminum products as the choice material for your next project or build.
To find out more about all of the custom aluminum coating solutions available through Silver City Aluminum, please contact our office direct by calling our Taunton, MA office at 508-542-7200 or use our online contact form to reach one of our design technicians. Silver City Aluminum provides an unlimited opportunity for manufacturers to create truly custom aluminum extrusions, post extrusion operations and to even add custom aluminum coating solutions, such as powder coating, painting and anodizing aluminum all within our single-location shop. That results in faster processing, faster delivery and more consistent, higher quality results. Give us a call today to learn why Silver City Aluminum is the best choice for your custom aluminum extrusions.