Painting is a huge part of production for many industries, but it also leads to a lot of waste. Liquid paint can not only be hazardous to human health and the environment, but it’s also expensive. Fortunately, these issues can be resolved by replacing liquid paint with powder coating.
Learn more about how to reduce waste in production with powder coating and discover the many benefits of powder coating in manufacturing.
The Problems With Liquid Paint
Many companies use liquid paint for all their production needs, which contains a solvent that needs to be evaporated during the drying process. This is done to avoid the liquid paint mixing into the dry coating. This solvent is also found in the waste generated during the painting process, such as paint leftovers and empty containers with trace amounts of paint.
The evaporation process releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are hazardous to human health and the environment. These compounds vaporize and emit gases as well, even long after they’ve dried, so the toxic chemicals are continually absorbed. VOCs are linked to many health problems, including cancer and organ damage.
In addition to these concerns, liquid paint also produces a lot of waste that can’t be recovered and reused, requires several coats and is likely to drip or run. As a result, liquid paint has high costs in material waste, labor and storage.
What Is Powder Coating?
Powder coating is a dry finishing process that’s been in use since the 1960s. Powder coating is used on a wide variety of products across many industries, but now that manufacturers are learning about the benefits of powder coating, it’s becoming more popular.
Powder coating is based on a polymer resin system that combines with curatives, leveling agents, pigments and flow modifiers to form a uniform powder. This powder is applied to the surface of an object with electrostatic spray deposition, which is done with a spray gun that applies an electrostatic charge to the powder particles to ground them to the surface. After that, the parts are put in a curing oven, where the coating undergoes a chemical reaction with the surface.
Because of this process, powder coating provides a strong, durable finish that’s more resistant to impact, chemicals, ultraviolet light, moisture and other extreme weather conditions. This efficient process also reduces waste, both in materials, labor, storage and disposal.
Advantages of Powder Coating
If you’re curious how to reduce waste in production, powder coating is a great start. Powder coating produces less waste than conventional liquid paint, none of which is hazardous waste, and contains low-to-no VOCs or solvents, so it’s much more environmentally friendly and safer for production workers. This also cuts back on the high costs of toxic waste disposal.
Powder coating overspray can be recovered and reused as well, so it’s possible to achieve zero waste. A convenient measure of coating usage is transfer efficiency, which is the measurement of what percentage of coating is completely adhered to the object compared to how much is lost in overspray. The higher the efficiency, the less coating that is wasted. The factors that can impact transfer efficiency include spray equipment type, shape and size of the target, as well as coating type, skill of the spray operator, atomization air pressure, fluid flow rate, air velocity and fan size.
On average, 92 to 98 percent of the powder is applied to the part you’re finishing, compared to about 60 percent for liquid paint. It’s also ready to use, without the need for stirring, mixing, thinning or additives, and it typically only requires one coat. Because of this, powder coating has lower storage costs and labor costs.
Powder coating can create a much thicker coating than liquid paint, all in one application, as well as a uniform finish. This is true regardless of the shape of the object, which isn’t always easily achieved with liquid paint. Both of these factors lead to fewer rejected production pieces, less overspray, less product waste and faster turnaround.
Once complete, powder coating provides a corrosion-resistant, durable finish that is designed to retain its gloss and color for many years.
Other Waste Reduction Tips
As you can see, if you’re wondering how to reduce waste in manufacturing, powder coating is a great solution, but there are additional ways you can lower your unnecessary waste.
- Monitor inventory as much as possible and be sure to use the oldest materials first so that you’re less likely to dispose of unused product or waste storage space.
- Reduce the coating types or colors that you use as much as you can.
- Dispense the least amount of product necessary to do the job.
- Schedule coating in batches to reduce the cleanup and disposal.
- Keep your coating equipment as clean as possible to ensure clean coatings and reduce waste from rejected coatings.
- Use the appropriate equipment for each project.
- Train operators in proper spraying technique to reduce overspray.
- Inspect parts prior to coating to eliminate any rejects in advance.
Industrial Powder Coating at AR Powder Coating
Though many industries still rely on liquid paint, powder coating is an efficient coating option for a variety of industries, including architectural, appliances, metal fabrication, automotive, farming, electrical, furniture manufacturing and much more.
At AR Powder Coating, we’re proud to offer a fully automated powder coating conveyor system for industrial powder coating use, as well as batch coatings to handle projects of any size. We also provide masking, chemical stripping, parts, assembly and fabrication, as well as delivery and pickups. Our state-of-the-art equipment ensures quick turnaround and flawless projects for you and your customers.
If you’re a manufacturer and are interested in our industrial powder coating services, we’d love to get in touch and discuss the possibilities for what powder coating can do for your business. Contact us today to take a tour of our facility, set up an appointment or get a free estimate for your project!