A Comprehensive Guide To Architectural Powder Coating

Punched aluminium test panels coated in multiple metallic finish for client approval

Introduction

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to architectural powder coating, a transformative finishing process that has significantly impacted the architectural industry. This technique has introduced a new dimension of durability and aesthetic appeal, surpassing other available finishing methods.

mill finished on the left, finished coated metal off on the right a comprehensive guide to architectural powder coating

Unravelling The Coating Process

At its core, the coating process involves applying a protective and decorative layer of dry, free-flowing powder. This process is distinguished by its application method – electrostatically, which imparts a charge to the powder, followed by heat curing. This results in a hard, uniform, and resilient finish that resists wear and tear. Its enhanced durability and aesthetic versatility make it ideal for architectural projects.

The Different Types of Powder Coatings

  • Epoxy Powder Coatings: Known for their excellent chemical resistance and great mechanical properties.
  • Polyester Powder Coatings: Popular for their good chemical resistance and excellent weathering properties.
  • Polyurethane Powder Coatings: Valued for their excellent flow, good mechanical properties, and superior weathering resistance.
  • Acrylic Powder Coatings: Chosen for their excellent clarity, gloss, and UV resistance.

The Importance of Powdering Coating in Architecture

In the architectural industry, durability is crucial. Structures must endure various environmental factors, including weather conditions, UV rays, and corrosion. The high-performance coating features an inherent ability to resist these environmental challenges better than traditional painting methods, making it a go-to option for architects and builders. Additionally, its wide range of colours and finishes allows architects to realise their creative visions while ensuring their designs’ longevity.

The Process

The architectural powder coating process begins with pre-treatment, which involves thorough cleaning and preparation of the surface. Following this, the dry powder is applied using a powder applicator. The powder particles adhere to the surface through an electrostatic charge, providing full, even coverage. The final step is heat curing, which forms a hard, durable finish.

Advantages of Powder Coating Aluminium

  1. Durability: Powder coating provides a more durable finish than paint, resisting chipping, scratching, and fading.
  2. Aesthetic Flexibility: Available in a wide range of finishes, allowing for greater design flexibility.
  3. Environmental Impact: Powder coating is more environmentally friendly than traditional paint as it doesn’t require a solvent, reducing the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  4. Cost Effective: Powder coating often requires fewer coat’s than traditional paint, reducing labour and material costs.
  5. Maintenance: Coated surfaces are easy to clean and require less maintenance than other finishes.
curved louvers being hand flashed before auto gun coating on horizontal line

What is TGIC?

TGIC (triglycidyl Isocyanurate) is a cross-linking element used in polyester powder coating. It plays a significant role in enhancing the durability and quality of the finish. However, there’s an alternative cross-linking chemistry known as HAA (beta hydroxyalkyl amide), also referred to as TGIC Free, Non-TGIC, or Primid.

TGIC Powder Coatings vs. Non-TGIC Powder Coatings

While both TGIC and Non-TGIC (HAA) powder coatings offer excellent performance, there are some differences between them. TGIC coatings are known for their excellent outdoor durability and chemical resistance. On the other hand, HAA coatings, while also durable, are recognized for their superior overbake resistance, which can be beneficial in applications where a higher cure temperature is required.

Applications of Powder Coating In Architecture

The versatility of coating makes it suitable for various applications, including cladding, balustrades, signage, and public buildings. Its broad range of ral colours and finishes allows architects to match any design or style, making it a preferred choice for both interior and exterior applications.

Comparison: Architectural Powder Coating vs Other Finishes

Compared to other finishes like liquid coatings or anodizing, powder coating offers several advantages. It’s more environmentally friendly as it doesn’t require a solvent, offers higher gloss retention, and is more resistant to chipping, corrosion, and fading. This makes it particularly suitable for architectural applications that require a high aesthetic appeal and longevity.

Kermit green panels being coated on horizontal line

Overcoming Challenges

Despite its numerous advantages, like any process, architectural powder coating does present some challenges. These can include issues with adhesion, colour consistency, and overspray. However, these challenges can be efficiently managed and mitigated with proper surface preparation, careful application, and comprehensive curing, ensuring a high-quality finish.

Looking forward, the coating industry is set to witness exciting developments. From new, innovative powder technologies to enhanced environmental and economic efficiencies, the industry is poised for significant advancement.

Qualicoat: A Global Quality Label for the Coating Industry

Qualicoat is a globally recognized quality label for the coating industry. It operates a product certification scheme and grants licences to national and international associations to issue these certificates and inspect licensed plants. Qualicoat ensures assured quality in powder coating and the finishing of aluminium. It provides a directory of national or international associations that have entered into a general licence agreement, a list of licensed applicators (coaters), approved and cancelled coating materials, and approved and cancelled chemical pre-treatment systems.

Shaping The Future

Powder coating is shaping the future of architectural designs, providing a unique blend of aesthetic flexibility, superior durability, and environmental benefits. It’s no wonder why it has become an industry standard in finishing processes. As we look to the future, the potential for coating continues to grow. With advancements in technology and a continued commitment to sustainability, we anticipate even more exciting trends and applications for this dynamic, high-performance finish. As architectural designs continue to evolve, so too will the capabilities and applications of powder coating.

Additional Resources

We hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with a deeper understanding of architectural powder coating and its numerous benefits. From its enhanced durability and aesthetic appeal to its environmental benefits and wide range of applications, it’s clear why this finishing process has become a go-to option in the architectural industry.

If you’re interested in learning more about our powder coating services or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Whether you’re working on architectural projects or need coating for the architectural industry, we’re here to help. Our team is committed to providing high-quality, durable, and aesthetically pleasing solutions to meet your specific needs.

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