PowderCoil™ technology is an advanced, highly automated, yet simple method of high speed powder coating a continuously moving strip of steel. It utilizes the latest in application and curing technology to produce one of the best coil to coil pre-painted steels available.
Patented Powder Paint Technologies
PowderJet™: This patented powder application technology was specifically developed to replace continuous coil, spray gun technology. The PowderJet™ has no moving parts, pneumatically applying powder paint directly to the moving metallic strip. The system precisely controls the volume and width of the powder emission to match the speed and size of the metallic strip. The metallic strip is coated on one or both sides while the film thickness is precisely controlled to customer specifications. The PowderJet™ utilizes focused line-source electrostatic charging technology which results in particulate ionization many times greater than gun systems. The applicator produces a 90% deposition factor that enables the PowderCoil™ system to meet cost and quality parameters comparable to any liquid coil coating operation.
Oven Curing Technology: Our ovens are the most technologically advanced powder coat curing systems available today. The technology produces a focused, high energy density field, that penetrates the coating and reacts with the powder chemistry resulting in lighting fast melt-flow & curing cycles. As radiation passes through the coating, it reflects off the surface of the metallic substrate and thoroughly cures the powder paint system. This principal allows for high speed processing of difficult colors like yellow and white. Each system is designed to precisely calibrate functionality in coordination with line speed, strip width, powder chemistry and film thickness. Our technology enables the PowderCoil™ system to operate at high speeds while producing a fully cured, durable, and long lasting paint system.
Performance Powder Coatings: Powder Coating’s manufacture the brand of high performance, fast curing, powder paint systems, specifically designed for the PowderCoil™ technology. Powders are engineered to react with radiation resulting in extremely fast and thorough cross-linking of thermoset powder chemistries. Each formulation is blended to exacting customer specifications for color, texture, visual characteristics and performance requirements. Powders are available in a broad range of epoxy, polyester, hybrid and urethane formulations.
PowderCoil™ is Unique
PowderCoil™ is unique, compared to contemporary “gun” application technology. Gun technology pneumatically conveys powder through tubing into the gun which sprays the part. The powder flow is dispersed and uncontained such that the ratio of applied powder to unused powder can be as low as 60/40.
PowderCoil™, on the other hand, utilizes a nozzle arrangement to apply powder to the strip. The special powder nozzle directs the powder flow to the strip and controls the volume and velocity of the powder. The width of the nozzle is adjusted to the width of steel strip.
The transmission of charged powder particles occurs in a focused single direction, through a precision sized horizontal opening. A fluidized bed environment is created within the ejector providing for uniform particulate distribution. Powder is pneumatically driven through the electrostatic zone and exits the ejector developing a wedge shaped spray pattern.
The width of the powder stream is easily controlled by varying the width of the opening. The spray pattern and volume of powder is consistent resulting in no coating overlap.
The volume and velocity of the powder is governed through the pneumatic pressure controls. Given pre-designed film thickness the application rate is increased or decreased in correlation with line speed. The PLC controls the entire process, removing operator variance and inconsistent film builds.
What is Powder Coating?
Contemporary powder coating is an advanced method of electrostatically applying a decorative and protective finish to a wide range of materials and products used in industry and by consumers. Some refer to powder coating as “dry paint.” Powder coatings are applied using pneumatic pumps and either manual or automatic electrostatic powder spray “guns” that give the powder an electrical charge. The substrate to be coated is grounded, so the charged powder is strongly attracted to it. Once sprayed (coated) the article is then heated (baked) in either a gas, electric or infrared oven until the powder particles melt and fuse into a durable, solid paint film. Baking (curing) times are a function of the film thickness, paint specifications and performance requirements.
The development of First Precision's PowderCoil™ significantly improves the powder painting process. Our patented PowderJet technology is capable of overcoming the air boundary barrier that is present on the metal surface in high-speed metal processing lines (100 - 500 ft/min). This allows for the integration of powder painting in coil to coil operations, whereas previous powder gun technology was confined to small parts and slow-speed lines.
Powder Paint vs Liquid Paint
It’s fundamentally important to recognize the difference between powder paint and liquid paint. As powder paint is applied, essentially 100% of the material being applied is paint. Liquid paint, by contrast, is composed of pigments, resins, antifoaming agents, and most importantly, solvents.
These solvents are called VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), i.e., acetone, benzene, dichloromethane, ethanol, methanol, and toluene. Solvents serve as carriers to allow the paint to flow, homogenize and dry. It’s in the drying process that solvents separate from the solids. The solvents must be contained and controlled such that less than 1% can escape to the atmosphere. Capture, control and containment of 99+% of solvent vapors is a very costly and environmentally problematic issue.
Federal, state, and local regulations severely limit the volume of VOC’s released into the atmosphere and all liquid paint applicators are monitored regularly. Non-compliance can threaten the business. Powder coatings have NO VOC’s, hence dry paint.
Thermoset and Thermoplastic Coatings
There are two basic powder paint chemistries; thermosets and thermoplastics. The First Precision LLC/PowderCoil™ technology is capable of applying both thermoset and thermoplastic coatings.
Thermosets are characterized by temperature or radiation driven chemical reactions which fuse the paint system thus curing and stabilizing the coating. Thermosets are composed of high molecular weight solid resins and crosslinkers. Finished thermoset coatings do not soften when reheated. Once cured (fused) the coating forms a polymer network which is highly resistant to coating breakdown. Thermosets can be high or low gloss, flexible or hardened.
Thermosets are used for decorative applications (color, gloss, and appearance) and functional (mar resistance, weatherability, corrosion). Most systems call for a dry film thickness (DFT) of between 0.8 mils – 4 mils. PowderCoil™ is capable of producing a light or heavy DFT product in (1) pass through the line. Most liquid paint lines would require two or three passes to duplicate PowderCoil™ DFT.
Thermoplastic systems, such as nylon, melt and flow when heated, yet unlike thermosets, soften when reheated. Thermoplastic powders do not chemically react during application or baking. They are commonly used as functional coatings and typically are applied thicker than thermosets. Common uses of these coatings are electrical insulation components, high corrosion environments, high wear applications and appliance parts (freezer baskets, dishwasher racks, etc).