A quick guide to powder coating essentials in Australia
Powder coating has grown into a multi-billion dollar business, not only in Australia, but worldwide. It is a part of our lives every day, coating everything from household items and vehicles to heavy duty machinery. It even protects and beautifies countless artworks in the annual Sculptures By The Sea competition in Sydney. Its popularity comes down to two things: protection and style. As a coating method it is flexible, durable, highly protective, and its strengths are not at the cost of its looks. The range of colours and finishes is wide, which ensures your project looks and performs exactly as you need.
This article will outline the advantages, uses, and process of applying powder coatings, as well as where you will find powder coating supplies and services across Australia.
5 reasons to specify powder coating for your project
Powder coating is suitable for a wide range of materials and purposes including metals, glass, MDF, and even wood and plastics. Powder coating has many features and advantages which make it the coating of choice. Just a few of these are:
- Durability: It is more resistant to chipping, scratching, fading, and wearing than other finishes and provides a strong finish.
- Flexibility: Suitable for a wide range of materials and purposes including metals, glass, MDF, and even wood and plastics.
- Appearance: Unlimited colour and finish choice (including smooth, textured, gloss, matt, iridescent, glitter, and candy) with thicker applications than liquid coatings and no running or sagging (most international manufacturers use the RAL colour chart).
- Cost efficiency: It is cheaper than liquid paint, and is a one coat application with low operation costs.
- Environmentally friendly: Solvent-free, very low/zero VOC, and excess powder can be recovered and reused, so minimal waste and under 1% material loss.
A quick look at the powder coating process
Powder coating, as the name suggests, is paint in powder form. Usually a paint is a binder and a pigment suspended in a liquid solvent, but a powder coat is solvent free; the binder and pigment are blended into a fine powder and applied through the combination of static electricity and heat. The application process can be broken into 3 steps: substrate preparation/pre-treatment, powder application, and curing.
1. Substrate preparation and pre-treatment
Appropriate preparation of the substrate is of high importance in any coating application. Firstly, all oil, grease, dirt, and grime is removed and any previous coating is stripped or sandblasted to ensure that the part is completely clean. Sandblasting cleans the part down to bare metal and creates a texture on the substrate, allowing the powder coat to adhere to it. After a final clean the part is ready. This step is slightly different depending on the substrate.
2. Powder application in two ways
The dry powder is applied through one of two broad methods: electrostatic spraying or fluidised bed. In the electrostatic spray process, powder is electrostatically charged through the action of a specialised spray gun. The charged powder is attracted, and sticks to, the grounded substrate.
In the fluidised bed process, the part is preheated and dipped into a hopper filled with fluidised powder. The heat melts the powder onto the part immediately, though a post cure may still be needed.
3. Curing depending on the powder type
The final step is to bake the powder coating. This causes it to melt, flow, and form a continuous liquid film. This ensures an even coverage over the part. Depending on the type of powder, there is either a further step for curing, or the process stops here. Thermosetting powders undergo chemical crosslinking when heated and will not melt again, where thermoplastics do not crosslink and will melt again if heated enough.
The wide range of powder coating applications
The attractive properties and easy application of powder coating has made is a coating of choice across a range of industries. In the automotive powder industry, powder coating is used for the protective underbody coating, OEM primer and clear coat, refinish coatings and more. In the world of homewares, powder coating is used to make furniture colourful, hard-wearing, and touchable, as well as protecting appliances from the knocks of daily life.
Powder coating is also a vital part of the industrial sector, with fusion bonded epoxy making up a vital part of the pipe protection system. Powder coating is used for architectural aluminium cladding, for protecting rebar from corrosion, for offshore metal protection, to strengthen wind turbines against erosion, and many many more applications.
Powder coating equipment for sale in Australia
There are numerous pieces of powder coating equipment required for a complete line. These range from sandblasting boxes or booths and curing ovens at the large scale end to hanging racks and guns at the smaller. If you wish to buy powder coating supplies, there are many suppliers operating across Australia. The cost varies by scale and quality. A complete powder coating kit including hooks, air line, gun, tapes and powder cups can cost $650. A gun system with a powder fluidising drum can cost $5,000.
The cost of powder is calculated by the pound based on coverage, with greater quantities charged at lower rates per pound. The less common or more specialised a colour, the more expensive it is. An average powder might cost $25-40 per kilogram, but can be anywhere up to $100 a kilogram. If you are interested in more detailed pricing of equipment and powder coating paint supplies, take a look at our pricing article.
Whether a hobbyist or a professional business, the powder coating industry is growing. Given that powder coat is long lasting, easy to apply, durable, protective, and attractive, it is no wonder. To find out how your project can benefit from powder coatings, or if you would like to find powder coating supplies, contact us!
Powder coating supplies and services across Australia
Australia has numerous powder coating supplies companies and services, and prices from east coast to west coast may vary. The services include industrial and commercial powder coating as well as services for consumers in terms of coating smaller objects in smaller volumes. Take a look at the Australia-wide map on our pricing page to see your nearest powder coater, or we have dedicated local pages as listed below.
The links below will take you to our area specific lists of powder coating companies.
- Services & facilities in the Sydney area (NSW)
- Services & facilities in the Melbourne area (VIC)
- Services & facilities in the Perth area (WA)
- Services & facilities in the Brisbane area (QLD)
- Services & facilities in the Adelaide area (SA)
- Services & facilities in the Gold Coast area (QLD)
For smaller jobs, such as rims or garden furniture, we recommend you contact your local powder coater. If you want more information on powder coatings for a large-scale industrial project, or need a contractor, contact us! Our experts are here to help. Just click on the “Request a quote” button at the bottom of this article and take advantage of 100% free quoting service.