Powder coating is a finishing process that’s becoming more and more popular as different industries realize its benefits. With its high-quality, durable finish, powder coating maximizes production, improves efficiency and simplifies environmental compliance.
Representing over 15 percent of the total industrial-finishing market, powder coating is used for everything from automotive applications to architecture, but one of the most groundbreaking developments is the use of powder coating in healthcare environments.
What is Powder Coating?
Powder coating is a dry finishing process that uses polymer resin systems combined with curatives, leveling agents, pigments, flow modifiers and other additives. These ingredients are then mixed, cooled and ground into a powder that’s the consistency of flour.
Electrostatic spray deposition is then used to disperse the powder onto a metal structure, using a spray gun that applies an electrostatic charge. After this coating is applied, the pieces enter a curing oven where the coating chemically reacts to produce long molecular chains. This results in a high cross-link density that’s resistant to breakdown.
Powder Coating in the Healthcare Industry
Antimicrobial powder coatings promote a safe and hygienic environment, as well as addressing some of the wasted resources in production that healthcare faces. Powder coating is often used by hospitals, surgical facilities and dental offices to create a protective coating on equipment.
Because powder coating can be applied to a variety of materials, including galvanized steel and aluminum, it is often used for hospital beds, wheelchairs, handrails lifts, trolleys and other metal equipment that comes in contact with patients and is susceptible to bacteria, viruses and parasites, as well as mold or mildew.
Benefits of Powder Coating for Patients and Facilities
Patient outcomes and the safety of staff are top priorities for hospitals and healthcare facilities. Because nearly every hospital surface is susceptible to communicable pathogens, however, it’s difficult for these facilities to reduce the risk of contamination effectively.
Patients recovering from surgery or illnesses are more vulnerable to hospital-borne infections, so it’s imperative that the equipment in a healthcare facility is hygienic. Due to the powder coating process, antimicrobial powder coat creates a solid barrier on a metal surface that inhibits the growth of pathogens, such as E. Coli, MRSA and staph, which are the biggest threat to hospitalized patients.
Powder coating is also easier to clean, so it’s better for keeping equipment as sterile as possible. This gives facilities another line of defense against harmful pathogens that may accumulate on hospital equipment that comes in contact with patients.
Rust and corrosion can be a risk to patient and staff safety as well, especially when combined with the risk of broken skin and possible contamination on the surface. Because powder coating is rust and corrosion resistant, it reduces the risk of injury to patients and staff.
In addition to reducing the risks to patient health from hospital-borne infections, powder coating also helps the healthcare industry save money. Powder coating is much thicker and more resistant than liquid paint, so it’s less likely to crack or chip with use. With how expensive medical equipment can be, the longevity provided by powder coating is highly beneficial for protecting equipment and reducing costs associated with replacement and repair.
Growing Demand for Powder Coating in Healthcare Facilities
While powder coating is growing in several sectors, including textile, air conditioning and ventilation, food, paints and coatings, architecture, construction and many more, the healthcare segment is rapidly dominating the market. This is due to the widespread use and applications for powder coating in healthcare facilities and environments.
The demand for powder coating is also increasing with the rising demand from governments focused on decreasing hospital-acquired infections and population health. Stringent regulatory measures are being put in place by government agencies to combat hospital-borne illness and repeat hospitalization or visits, which is likely to fuel growth and demand for powder coating.
Wood Powder Coating in Healthcare
While powder coating used to be reserved for metal structures, major advancements in techniques, powder and substrates have opened up possibilities for powder coating wood finishes in a variety of markets, including healthcare.
There are many market-specific needs that make powder coated wood attractive for medical applications, such as integrated pulls. Integrated pulls are used for door and drawer fronts because they’re safer for patients and less of an obstacle when entering an exam room or bedroom. There’s also less risk of damage when the furniture is moved, since pulls are less likely to break from contact with other objects.
Integrated pulls are made of wood, however, which leaves them vulnerable to contamination from various pathogens. Wood powder coating not only provides wooden integrated pulls with the same level of protection as metal equipment, but the process also allows it to reach the tighter areas and odd shapes of the pulls to completely encapsulate them. The result is a clean, seamless and cleanable surface that can be completely sterilized without compromising the features that made it so attractive to begin with.
The possibilities don’t end with integrated pulls, either. Door fronts, wall panels, overbed light casing, end tables and a variety of other furniture common in exam rooms, hospital rooms or facility bedrooms can be coated in the same way, offering a better level of safety and protection than wood alone.
Visit AR Powder Coating
The unique characteristics of powder coating make it an ideal choice to protect an array of medical and healthcare equipment and furniture from harboring dangerous pathogens or posing an injury risk to patients and staff. It also provides a durable protective layer to your equipment, ensuring you get the most from your investment.
If you’re considering powder coating for your healthcare facility, AR Powder Coating can help. We offer a variety of industrial powder coating options and batch or conveyor production to handle any size job. We also provide masking, chemical stripping, parts and assembly and fabrication. Contact us today to learn more about our industrial powder coating services and discuss your project!