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The PowderCoil™ Impact

According to a new study released by Cleveland based Freedonia Group, on the powder coatings market, demand for powder coatings in the U.S. is forecast to rise nearly eight percent per year through 2005 reaching 505 million pounds, valued at $1.6 billion.On a larger scale, the global powder coatings market will hit the 2.2-billion-pound mark in 2003 and is estimated to be worth $3.5 billion.

Tightening restrictions on volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions, contained in the Clean Air Act of 1990, are helping drive the powder coatings market. Almost all liquid paint systems contain VOC’s, and both manufacturers and applicators struggle with capture, containment, and control of these materials. Powder coatings contain no VOC’s. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers powder coatings to be the most environmentally friendly coating alternative available.

Other factors driving the use of powder coatings are:

a greater variety of surface finishes such as textures, hammertones, speckled and striated
improved durability (scratch & mar resistance)
corrosion protection
greater chalk and fade resistance
UV protection
high temperature stability

Building and Construction Market Applications

The largest consumers of pre-painted metal coils are building and construction manufacturers. Pre-painted coils are a part of the overall package of steel items supplied to this segment, however, it is the most expensive valued added item in the basket of steel products these end users consume. Customers such as Menards, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Lowe’s and other DIY retailers are familiar with the advantages of powder coatings. Many of the DIY products sold through these outlets are powder coated. The availability of pre-painted powder coated entry doors, garage doors, roof panels and related products are ideal for this market.

Pre-painted metals’ demand in the business and consumer group exceeds 1.35 million tons per year. The three largest segments are large appliances, HVAC equipment, and lighting. The large appliance firms such as Whirlpool, Maytag, GE, Electrolux, etc., negotiate directly with producing steel mills for their pre-painted metal products. All appliance makers are familiar with the benefits and application of powder coatings. Both appliance manufacturers and their sub-contractors powder coat various components for scratch resistance, wear surfaces, corrosion protection, and noise reduction.

Home and Office Furniture Market

Home and office furniture manufacturers utilize powder coatings for metal desks, chairs, file cabinets, and related products. Approximately 70 million pounds per year flow into this market, and it is growing each year. Today, these manufacturers use a combination of pre-painted liquid paint systems and post powder sprayed systems to produce their products. Metal furniture producers’ knowledge and familiarity with the benefits and drawbacks of each paint system will enable First Precision LLC/PowderCoil to introduce pre-painted powder coil quickly.

Transportation and Automotive Market

At present the transportation market consumes approximately 500,000 Ton/Yr in coated metals. The bulk of this volume is in pre-treated steel coils. Coil coaters apply various surface treatments (chromates & phosphates) and dry film lubricants. These materials improve stamping, drawing and other forming requirements for the automakers. As far as pre-painted coils are concerned, this is considered the “holy grail” for coil coaters. Automakers have not embraced pre-painting due to the many specialized practices used on exposed body panels, however, the market is moving in this direction.
Pre-painted powder via PowderCoil™ is a significant opportunity for both tier one automotive suppliers and OEM’s. Pre-painted coil is less costly to produce, exhibits better coating uniformity, and allows parts suppliers to eliminate one-step from the production process.

Weldable primers are another growth area for both unexposed and exposed body panels. Today these panels are post-painted in-house, which adds to the number of process steps required to paint an automobile. Powder coatings play a big role in underbody and high corrosion applications. The auto companies can enhance corrosion resistance, decrease labor, reduce negative environmental effects from the use of liquid coatings, and improve production in the assembly process by pre-painting withpowder coatings.