As one of the most effective forms of metal finishing, powder coating is used to treat a variety of products and items across multiple industries. Of course, the benefits are dependent on the skill of the technicians performing the work and their knowledge of powder coating thickness, in particular, is crucial to the outcome.
To understand a little more about how we use state-of-the-art techniques to deliver precision and quality when powder coating, keep reading.
As with many things, there isn’t one exact answer to how thick powder coating needs to be. It all depends on manufacturer specifications. Before we dive too deep into that, let’s talk about why thickness is so important
Regular and consistent measurement helps control cost, application efficiency, and maintain quality of the coating.
Powder film thickness is one of the single most important measurements made during the application and inspection phases of the process.
The performance and appearance of the finished product that you get back are directly affected by dry film thickness (DFT).
DFT can affect the color, finish (matte or gloss), texture, adhesion, flexibility, resistance to corrosion, and hardness of the coating. How the parts and pieces fit and move together can also be directly affected by DFT.
Thickness must meet specs from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) or customer and industry-specific standards. Powder coaters need to verify coating quality to avoid wasting time and money.
As we said, powder coating manufacturers recommend film thickness ranges to achieve the best performance of the item or items being powder coated, and those can range anywhere on average from 2 to 8 mils or more.
In the electrostatic powder coating process, the coating application is achieved by spraying powder through an electrostatic field and charging the particles which are then deposited on a grounded part. The item being powder coated is then cured and the particles fuse into a continuous film before the item is cooled. Thickness measurements of powder can be taken before or after the curing process is complete.
Ultrasonic instruments can be used on uncured powder, and do so without touching the surface so they do not disrupt the coating. These instruments automatically display a predicted cured thickness result.
For after-cure measurement, a variety of tools are available. These are generally non-destructive instruments that use either magnetic, eddy current or ultrasonic principles depending on the material.
Different industries have different requirements when they get their equipment or products powder coated. We have laid out a few examples below.
Architectural powder coating must meet AAMA 2604 or 2605 standards because, for items like metal railing, fencing, window frames, doors, grills and facades, durability and weather-resistance are critical to both durability and safety. AAMA 2605 powder coating also offers resistance to UV radiation, as well as moisture, humidity, and weather for up to 10 years.
For firearms and military equipment, powder coating to military standards offers the best protection. Both MIL-DTL-53072 and MIL-PRF-32348 standards are applicable to military-grade weapons and are favored by individual gun owners because of the high level of corrosion-resistance they require.
As you can see, thickness requirements are essential to the planning process. Prior to starting a multi-stage cleaning and pre-treatment process, skilled technicians will discuss the potential uses and functionality of your goods to determine the appropriate requirements. The quality and functionality of your end-product could be negatively impacted if thickness measuring and quality control protocols aren’t implemented. However, with these requirements and regulations in place, it’s guaranteed that a professional company will ensure that powder coating thickness is always pre-defined and precisely measured.
If you want to find out more about powder coating, get in touch with our team today? Call PowderTech now at 316-832-9210.
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