Epoxy Powder Coating Explained: Is it Different?

Epoxy Powder Coating Explained: Is it Different?

Epoxy Powder Coating Explained: Is it Different?

Epoxy powder coatings consist of a resin and a hardener that provide excellent durability, high-temperature resistance, corrosion resistance, adhesion properties, and aesthetics. Hence they are used in automotive, industrial, and marine applications. In addition, the coatings provide a smooth and aesthetically appealing appearance to the product.

If you want to improve the overall aesthetics of the workpiece while providing excellent abrasion resistance, epoxy powder coating is the way to go.

This article provides a detailed guide on epoxy powder coating by going through its benefits, applications, and cost.

In the end, the article also compares epoxy powder coating with polyester powder coating to help you select the best suitable option for your application.

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What is Epoxy Powder Coating?

Epoxy powder coating textures
Epoxy powder coating textures

Epoxy powder coating is an industrial coating created by mixing epoxy resin and a curing agent, which is then ground into a fine powder. 

This powder is applied to the surface of the workpiece by using electrostatic spraying, which is then heated to cure and create a rigid, durable, and chemical-resistant finish. 

Some key characteristic features of epoxy powder coating include high corrosion resistance, impact and abrasion resistance, good electrical insulation, and good adhesion to the substrate surface. 

Epoxy powder coating is a popular choice in industrial and commercial settings due to its ability to protect metal surfaces from wear and tear.

Apart from that, it provides the ability to select from a wide range of colors with a glossy or textured finish.

It is also known for its excellent adhesion properties, which allow it to bond well to the substrate surface, preventing the coating from flaking or chipping. 

This feature makes it an excellent choice for applications where a long lasting and durable finish is required. 

It is used on many metal surfaces, including machinery, automotive parts, marine equipment, etc. 

It can withstand harsh environmental conditions and provide long-term protection against corrosion, making it an ideal solution for outdoor applications.

Epoxy Powder Coating Offers Excellent Abrasion and Chemical Resistance

Epoxy powder coatings are abrasion-resistant, chemical-resistant, and highly durable coatings. The coatings give a glossy finish making the workpiece aesthetically attractive.

The curing process forms cross-linked polymer chains that render the epoxy coatings highly resistant to hydrochloric acid, sulphuric acids, and other chemicals.

This makes these coatings an ideal choice in pipelines, valves of chemical processing plants, conveyors, mixing tanks of food processing units, automobile suspensions, and airplane fuselages.

Epoxy coatings consist of resins that contain hard particles like silica, zirconia, alumina, and other ceramics, which provide excellent abrasion resistance.

As a result, these coatings are best suited for applications such as mining equipment, tractors, and plows, that are prone to harsh environments.

Epoxy Powder Coating is Resistant to Cracking and Peeling

Cross cut test to display non-chipping characteristic of powder coating
Cross-cut test to display non-chipping characteristic of powder coating

The chemical reaction between the resin and the hardener creates strong adhesion between the surface of the workpiece and the coating.

As a result, it increases the resistance of the coating to cracking and peeling, thereby improving the overall life of the equipment.

The epoxy resin penetrates the surface cracks and voids, further increasing the adhesion with the surface making them ideal for high-stress applications, such as airplane wings, alloy wheels, and marine structures.

Epoxy Powder Coating is Electrically Insulating

Epoxy coatings are electrically insulating, making them useful in electrical transformers, stator and rotor insulation, motor winding insulation, bus bars, and electrical panels.

These coatings can withstand high levels of electric stress, which is particularly useful in high-voltage electrical equipment, power generation equipment, and defense application.

The insulating property of epoxy coating helps avoid electric hazards and reduce electrical accidents like electrocution or electric shocks.

Epoxy Powder Coating is Environment Friendly and Easy to Apply

Epoxy powder coatings are easy to apply and can be sprayed on the surface, followed by curing.

These make the coatings the best choice for decorative coatings to enhance the aesthetics of products such as alloy wheels, furniture, and water tanks.

Epoxy powder coatings are environment-friendly as they do not contain volatile organic compounds which harm human health and the environment.

The coatings cure quickly at a lower temperature making the process energy efficient.

Apart from that, these coatings are recyclable as the resin and hardener can be separated and recycled, reducing waste.

Advantages of Epoxy Powder Coating

Clear Epoxy powder coated rim
Clear Epoxy powder-coated rim

Enhanced Product Life

Epoxy coatings can withstand exposure to chemicals and harsh working conditions such as high moisture, UV radiation, and salty environment.

Enhanced Aesthetics

The powder coatings are pore free and provide a smooth, uniform surface, making them suitable for enhancing the appearance of furniture, automotive, drones, and aircraft.

A smooth and uniform finish increases the product's overall value by improving its aesthetics.

It also provides the ability to select from a wide range of colors, which makes it ideal for applications where good durability along with color selection is of utmost importance.

Higher Efficiency

The epoxy powder coatings can be applied more quickly than the liquid coatings, which results in lower production time and an attractive option for manufacturers.

The lack of liquid solvents in the process of epoxy powder coating equipment does not require time-consuming cleanup procedures, and the equipment can be reused immediately.

Cost of Epoxy Powder Coating

Cost of Epoxy powder coating
Cost of Epoxy powder coating

The cost of epoxy powder coating depends on various factors, such as the product's size and complexity, the project's specific requirements, and the quantity produced.

The typical cost of epoxy powder coating is $50 to $150 per square meter, depending on the size and complexity of the component.

However, there are various factors, such as the product's size and complexity, the project's specific requirements, and the quantity produced, that determine the actual cost of epoxy powder coating.

WorkpieceEstimated Cost Range
Small metal parts (screws, nuts)$0.50 - $1.50 per piece
Medium-sized metal parts (frames, chairs, brackets, fittings)$5 to $15 per piece
Household Items (furniture, etc.)$50 to $150 per piece
Large items (Industrial Machinery, car parts)$100 to $500 per piece
Estimated Cost of Epoxy Powder Coating

If you are planning to set up an epoxy powder coating business, you will have to spend an estimated amount of $10,000 to $80,000 for different tools and equipment.

It involves various tools and equipment such as a powder coating gun, furnace, powder booth, air compressor, etc.

EquipmentPurposeEstimated Cost
Powder coating gunApplying the powder onto the surface$300
Pre-treatment equipmentCleaning and surface preparation $2,000
OvenCuring and fusing with surface$5,000
Powder boothContaining the overspray and ensuring a clean work environment$3,000
Compressed air systemFor powering the powder gun$1,000
HopperHolding the powder$300
Powder coating recycling systemCapturing and reusing overspray$1000
Personal protective equipment like masks, gloves, and protective clothingSafety$60
Cost of different tools and equipment required for epoxy powder coating

Although epoxy powder coating is comparatively more costly than other coating methods, the enhanced performance and durability justify the overall investment cost.

Application of Epoxy Powder Coating

Medical equipmentHospital beds, examination tables, X Rays, equipment stands, and MRI machines.
Military equipmentTanks, armored vehicles, firearms, and military communication devices.
Sporting equipmentBikes and bike frames, golf clubs, snowboards, and other equipment.
Home appliancesOvens, refrigerators, microwaves, toasters, dishwashers, and washing machines.
Automotive partsCar frames, wheels, rims, bumpers, and spoilers
FurnitureOutdoor chairs and tables
Applications of Epoxy powder coating

The epoxy powder coatings are versatile and can be used for numerous applications, including industrial and residential components.

Epoxy coatings are best suited for this application due to their durability, abrasion, and chemical resistance.

Automotive parts and components, such as suspension parts and body panels, are epoxy powder coated to provide durability and a long-lasting finish.

Epoxy powder coating electronics equipment protects them against electric discharge and provides electric insulation.

Medical equipment such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, and examination tables are epoxy powder coated to provide a smooth, easy-to-clean, and bacterial-resistant surface.

Sporting goods are coated to provide an excellent surface finish.

Epoxy Powder Coating vs Polyester Powder Coating

Coating FeatureEpoxy Powder CoatingPolyester Powder Coating
Chemical ResistanceExcellentGood
Impact ResistanceExcellentGood
UV ResistancePoorGood
Heat ResistanceGoodFair
Epoxy powder coating vs Polyester powder coating

Epoxy powder coatings are more chemically resistant than polyester powder coating.

The cross-linked polymer chains in epoxy powder coatings make it harder than the polyester powder coating with a linear arrangement.

Hence, epoxy powder coatings are preferred over polyester powder coatings in harsh working environments, such as chemical plants and oil refineries, and polyester coatings.

The cross-linked structure of epoxy powder coatings helps maintain strength and hardness even at elevated temperatures.

The curing temperature of epoxy coatings is higher than that of polyester coatings, making them compatible with high-temperature applications. 

Hence these coatings are preferred in high-temperature applications such as furnace liners, exhaust systems, and catalytic converters compared to polyester coatings. 

Epoxy powder coatings have better gloss, color stability, and smoothness, making them more aesthetically appealing than polyester powder coatings.

Hence they are used in consumer electronics, furniture, architectural metalwork, and sports equipment. 

However, this coating has poor UV resistance, and it can chalk, fade and deteriorate quickly when directly exposed to sunlight compared to the polyester powder coating.

These properties make epoxy powder coating suitable for indoor applications. For outdoor applications, they are applied as undercoats and other paint to protect against direct exposure to sunlight.

Epoxy powder coatings cure at a higher temperature when compared to polyester powder coating. Hence these coatings are not suitable for temperature-sensitive substrates.

As polyester coatings cure at a lower temperature, they are resistant to yellowing when overbaked. They also exhibit higher flexibility as compared to epoxy powder coatings.

Polyester powder coatings can provide excellent protection against UV and direct sunlight for three years without any noticeable damage.

Polyester powder coatings have a wider variety in color selection than epoxy powder coating.

For applications where cost is not a constraint and appealing aesthetics is a priority, epoxy powder coating is preferred over polyester powder coatings.

Polyester powder coatings are generally less expensive than epoxy powder coatings, as the raw material cost is significantly less than epoxy powder coatings.

However, over the longer run, epoxy powder coatings are more economical than polyester powder coatings.

Final Thoughts

The cross-linking polymers in epoxy powder coating provide excellent durability and surface finish and are used in various applications.

Epoxy powder coatings are preferred over polyester powder coatings because of their enhanced high temperature, impact, and high wear resistance.

The initial investment and equipment cost might seem on the higher side, but considering the maintenance and repair costs, the overall cost seems to be far lower than other coating options. 

Epoxy powder coatings have their advantages as well as shortcomings. Hence selection should be based on the specific requirements of a project.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the curing process for epoxy powder coating?

The curing process involves heating the coated surface to a temperature of 250-450 °F. During this process, the resin and the hardener react to form cross-linked polymers that provide strength and hardness to the coating.

How much time does it take to cure epoxy powder coating?

Epoxy powder coatings cure at a temperature between 375°F and 400°F, which takes 10 to 20 minutes to cure. The curing time varies with the thickness of the layer deposited.

How can one prepare the surface for epoxy powder coating?

The surface preparation can be done by grit blasting, sandblasting, or acid pickling and a rough surface gives better adhesion than a smoother one. However, epoxy powder coating can also be deposited on a comparatively smoother surface.

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Hey I'm John. I write about Manufacturing, Metalworking, CNCs and Lasers at Mellowpine. If you have any questions related to CNCs or Lasers, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at mail@mellowpine.com

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Hey I'm John. I write about Manufacturing, Metalworking, CNCs and Lasers at Mellowpine. If you have any questions related to CNCs or Lasers, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at mail@mellowpine.com

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