Anodizing vs Powder Coating: Which is Right for You

Thursday, February 6 2020 6:23 PM

When it comes to protecting the quality of the equipment you use and products you create, choosing the right type of coating or protection method matters. This means knowing the difference between anodizing vs powder coating and making the right choice for your project. 

Using anodizing processes or adding powder coating can make all the difference in keeping your products or equipment fully functional for many years to come. 

However, there are differences in the methods and one might suit some applications better than others. 

Understanding the differences between powder coating and anodizing is essential so that you know which one to use for your equipment.

Whether you are looking at coating awnings, plant machinery, construction equipment, or simply exterior decorative elements in front of a retail store, you need to ensure that you have the exact long-lasting finish that you want. 

Let’s look at the differences between powder coating and anodizing metal surfaces.

What Is Anodizing?

Over 100 years ago, an electrochemical process was invented to give a protective coating of aluminum oxide to aluminum surfaces. This is known as anodizing. 

Depending on the thickness of the coating applied, the length of time it lasts varies. Aluminum oxide is weather-resistant and durable and is often used for exterior metals.

Advantages

There are plenty of advantages to choosing anodizing, so let’s explore those below:

  • Anodizing holds up well to physical abuse and abrasive cleaners.
  • It will take a very long time for the coating to peel off of the surface. 
  • You can guarantee a deep metallic appearance. 
  • When there are color variation issues, anodizing can control the amount of variation that can be seen.
  • It holds up well against UV rays. 
  • It does not emit any solvents that are ozone-producing.
  • No heavy metals are involved in the process of anodizing.


Disadvantages

  • There are limited color options.
  • Some common metals cannot be anodized.
  • Anodizing can be expensive.
  • Anodizing has poor chemical resistance without the proper sealing processes.
  • The strength of the materials to be coated can be affected by heating during the treatment.
  • Dirt and dust can accumulate, and the anodized surface can look like chalk paint - this can be removed with soap and water, but this can also remove a small amount of the coating itself. 

What Is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is an advanced method for applying protective and decorative finishes to any kind of metals used. 

The powders that are used in the process are a mix of both pigment and resin, and these are sprayed electrostatically onto the surface of your choice. The spray of charged powder easily sticks to the surfaces and is then heated into a smooth coating in a curing oven. 

Powder coating is used in both industry metals and by consumers. It’s able to cover a variety of common metals. 

Powder coating offers a uniform, high-quality finish that looks great and remains durable. 

Powder coating stands the test of time and is one of the fastest-growing technologies in North America when it comes to the industrial finishing application market.

Why are People Choosing to Powder Coat?

Many people believe that powder coating is superior and in the anodizing vs powder coating conversation, powder coating often wins. Let’s explore what it is and what the advantages are.


Advantages

The advantages of powder coating are many, and we’ve listed a handful for you below so that you can make a better decision for your metal finishing needs. Let’s take a look:

  • More cost-effective than anodizing
  • Can be used on a variety of common metal surfaces such as: 
    • Aluminum
    • Bronze 
    • Copper
    • Brass
    • Titanium
    • Steel
  • Powder coating is so much more resistant to chipping and fading than other finishes out there.
  • Large color selection with textured finishes including:
    • Flat
    • Satin
    • Gloss
    • Metallic
    • High gloss
    • Candies
    • Iridescent
    • Wrinkle (great for hiding surface imperfections)
    • Hammer tone
    • Glitter
  • Colors stay brighter and more vibrant with powder coating.
  • Powder coating has no solvents, and it releases negligible amounts of VOCs into the atmosphere. This makes it one of the most eco-friendly metal coating materials around.

Disadvantages

  • Hard to achieve thin coating layers
  • Tendency to break down if exposed to UV rays
  • Color changes can be difficult
  • It is difficult to touch up
  • Slightly less control over the speed and amount of powder coating applied

Where Is Powder Coating Used?

There are many industries where powder coating is used first before other coating methods for a variety of applications. 

The list below is a quick overview of some of these applications but there are many more!


Industrial Uses

  • Plant machinery
  • Machined electronic housings
  • Metal fabrication
  • Foundry castings
  • Instrumentation and electrical components
  • Industrial, agricultural and construction equipment
  • Military equipment

Other Uses

  • Aluminum & Steel Fencing
  • Awnings
  • Interior / Exterior Decorations

Many industries prefer powder coating to anodizing and it’s clear as to why the preference is there. For a cost-effective, durable, customizable option, choose powder coating. 

Have questions about the powder coating process? Click here to ask our experts. If you want to  learn more about powder coating services on your own click below!

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