Stainless Steel Powder Coating: The Ultimate Guide

Stainless steel powder coating is a popular surface finishing technique. This guide explores all critical elements of stainless steel powder coating. So, before starting your next project, read this guide.

What Is Stainless Steel Powder Coating?

Stainless steel powder coating is where powder spraying equipment typically applies a powder coating on the work piece’s surface. It is a simple process that produces powder-coated stainless steel products in various colors. Different powder-coating colors change the feel of the stainless steel surface.

Benefits Of Stainless Steel Powder Coating

It Is Corrosion Resistant
It Is Corrosion Resistant

Powder coating gives stainless steel a protective layer which makes it strong and resistant to environmental barriers hence out of contaminants. It is made of chromium content that forms a protective layer.

Improves Quality Appearance
Improves Quality Appearance

Powder coating gives stainless steel a beautiful look as finishes are in many colors and styles. Texturing and patterns are included through powder coating; thus, wrinkles or glitter are added for custom parts.

Durability
Durability

It consists of chromium that makes it resistant to oxidation hence durable. Stainless steel is protected from harsh weather conditions such as wear and tear because the coating is resistant to corrosion, flaking, and scratching thus lasts longer.

Improves Strength
Improves Strength

Powder coating stainless steel enables it to stand the test of time even with the maximum damage, mainly when used in outdoor activities. It gives it a protective layer, which can withstand harsh weather conditions such as wear and tear.

Cost Efficiency
Cost Efficiency

Powder coating stainless steel is cost-efficient as little waste is produced because the electromagnetic charge is used to hold the powder to the stainless steel part.

Environmentally Friendly
Environmentally Friendly

Powder coating is environmentally friendly compared to painting as it does not release harmful products that can cause damage.

Painting Stainless Steel Vs. Powder Coating Stainless Steel

Painting Stainless Steel
Powder Coating Stainless Steel

Differences between painting stainless steel and powder coating stainless steel:

Mode Of Application.

Pre-treatment is done similarly for the powder coating and painting of stainless steel processes. The surface to be coated or painted is cleaned to remove any dirt, oil, or moisture that might hinder the process. The process splits moderately after the cleaning of the surface is done. Powder coating involves an electrostatic gun shooting the dry powder onto the stainless steel surface.

Painting stainless steel involves a liquid paint being distributed in a spray. It is charged electrostatically with less impact. Liquid can be cured using the oven, or some are dried by air.

Powder Coating Is Environmentally Friendly Compared To Painting

Painting has solvent while powder coating has no solvent; instead is applied in its solid, powder form. Therefore, powder coating has no VOCs that are in paint and causes damage to the environment and critical health problems.

Cost Efficiency

Even though painting is cheap compared to powder coating, it is costly in the long run to maintain as it quickly fades and chips out. Powder coating is expensive but cost-effective in the long run as it is durable and cheaper to maintain than paint.

Flexibility

Powder coating is more flexible than paint because it has no solvents. Powder coating lasts on the surfaces that contract and expand moderately compared to painting.

Evenness Of Application

Powder coating gives stainless steel a thick, consistent, and even finish compared to painting, mainly used to create a bond. Thus with images, it is difficult to give an even layer without errors such as bubbles and drips.

Varying Textures

Compared to painting, it is easier to reach textured stainless steel finishes by powder coating. Thick layers of powder are smooth, while thin layers are more textured. It is also much easier to reach a high-gloss finish with liquid painting than with the stainless steel powder coating.

Color Matching

Painting stainless steel is easier to mix and match colors than stainless steel powder coating. Liquid paint can mix custom colors on-site and with maximum accuracy. Purple paint is produced by mixing red and blue pigment. On the other hand, powder coating needs a particular production run for the custom colors. Plastics ground down to form the powder coating determine the color used. Powder coating stainless steel is produced in a large set of standard colors because it is not easy to match colors. It is expensive and time-consuming for custom orders when powder coating as compared to painting stainless steel.

Performance

Powder coating, as compared to painting, gives much better performance. Powder coating gives the stainless steel a thick covering resistant to wear and tear corrosion, and scratches. The thermal bonding the stainless steel undergoes during curing makes it more resistant to harsh weather conditions. Powder coating gives high-ranking color retention besides its physical toughness. Therefore powder coating uses polyester to add a layer to the surface of the stainless steel as it is resistant to chalk. Chalking can lead to resins and particles that result in losing adhesion.

Powder Coated Steel Vs. Stainless Steel

Powder Coated Steel
Stainless Steel

Stainless and powder-coated steel is corrosion-resistant, easier to clean, and durable. Depending on the company’s or consumer’s applications, they must be considered in the specialty of their factors. The following are the differences between powder-coated steel and stainless steel:

  • Stainless steel increases durability and corrosion resistance by including into the composition of the steel, chromium, while powder coating involves adding the polymer layer to the steel.
  • Powder-coated steel is made of carbon, iron, and other rust-free materials, while stainless steel, through the process in which carbon is made even though nitrogen, molybdenum, and nickel are added to the carbon and iron to allow steel to be resistant to corrosion.
  • Stainless steel is more expensive than powder-coated steel because of the extra materials such as nickel and chromium.
  • Stainless steel is more durable than powder-coated steel. Compared to powder-coated carbon steel, stainless steel is strong and less malleable because it has more hardening properties.
  •  Stainless steel can withstand harsh environmental factors and last over a hundred years compared to powder-coated steel. Powder-coated steel gives a protective layer that lasts up to 15-20 years. Stainless steel, on the other hand, can withstand both low and high temperatures for over a hundred years.
  • Powder-coated steel gives a wide range of surface textures and finishes compared to stainless steel. Stainless steel has a naturally bright silver color with a high-gloss satin luster depending on the amount of chromium used in production.
  • Maintenance of stainless steel is easier compared to powder-coated steel. It needs relatively low maintenance and can be cleaned using mild detergent and a sponge; white powder-coated steel is cleaned using water and mild detergent.
  • Stainless steel can rust, unlike powder-coated steel. Even though stainless steel can rust, it can sustain more damage for an extended period, thus corrosion resistance. For powder-coated steel, the layer formed protects it from rusting, but the steel beneath can rust if the powder coating is damaged.

How To Powder Coat Stainless Steel

How To Powder Coat Stainless Steel
How To Powder Coat Stainless Steel

The powder is homogeneously absorbed on the work piece’s surface as a powder coating due to the impact of static electricity. For a powder coating to be created, the outer layer of the work material is baked at extreme heat and then leveled using various methods. Powder spraying outperforms the traditional spraying process in terms of tensile properties, adhesion, corrosion resistance, aging resistance, cost-effectiveness, and other factors.

The following is the process in which stainless steel is powder coated:

Cleaning/ Pre-treatment

The material’s surface resistant to corrosion is cleaned to remove dirt and oil to increase the adhesive of the powder coat spray as they can hinder the following steps.

Electrostatic Coating

The electrostatic charge applies a powder coat to the pre-treated thin layer of stainless steel. Complete coverage is ensured in this process. The residual fallen-off powder recovered from the recovery system is used again after sieving.

High-temperature Curing

This process involves oven curing the powder-coated parts to a specified temperature to ensure the resins harden and form scratch and abrasion-resistant finished pieces. The coated surface is thrust into the curing heating system, then heated to set temperature and maintained for the stated time. Besides, the powder-coated stainless steel is then removed from the oven and cooled to accomplish the result.

Decoration Treatment

This process involves giving the coated surface a unique display after the electrostatic treatment. The impressive collection includes; lighting, patterns, and wood grains.

Here, the surface is coated with plastic through a static generator. The static generator charges make the plastic powder absorb on the surface by charging the plastic powder. At temperatures of 180~220 oC, the surface of the stainless steel bakes to ensure the powder melts to stick to its surface. The result appears in a matte or flat effect.

Applications Of Powder Coated Stainless Steel

Applied In High-touch Points
Applied In High-touch Points

High-touch points such as railings use powder-coated stainless steel as picks up fingerprints.

Used In Food And Catering
Used In Food And Catering

Powder-coated stainless steel is commonly used as kitchen cutlery, cookware, and accessories. They are used as countertops, dishwashers, and refrigerators.

Applied In The Shipbuilding Industry
Applied In The Shipbuilding Industry

Powder-coated stainless steel is used in the construction of cargo tanks because of its mechanical efficiency.

Applied In Offshore Technology
Applied In Offshore Technology

Powder-coated stainless steel is used for seawater systems to transport petrochemicals and hydrocarbons because of their corrosion-resistant nature.

Used In Storage Tanks
Used In Storage Tanks

Powder-coated stainless steel tanks are used to carry materials such as gases. Chemicals and other bulk substances such as food and water.

Used In The Chemical Industry.
Used In The Chemical Industry.

Powder-coated stainless steel is used in chemical industry metals to provide corrosion resistance since chemical plants expose them to harsh environments.

Used In Seawater Desalination Plants
Used In Seawater Desalination Plants

It is used for seawater reverse osmosis units (SWRO)

Used In Power Plants
Used In Power Plants.

Powder-coated stainless steel is used in reactor tanks, pressure tubes, transformer enclosures, and heat exchangers to hold substances such as gas and liquid.

Stainless Steel Powder Coating

People Also Ask:

Can You Estimate Powder Coating Stainless Steel Cost?

The powder coating of stainless steel is inexpensive, resulting in low maintenance costs.

The cost of powder coating ranges from $300 to over $1000 though the average price is $680. Still, it depends on the quantity and size of the stainless steel.

Does Powder Coated Stainless Steel Rust?

Powder-coated stainless steel does not rust because of the thick protective layer, which is highly resistant to harsh environmental and weather conditions. Nevertheless, small cracks might appear in the layer if it endures damage and lets moisture; hence rust can form.

How Long Powder Coating Last On Stainless Steel?

Powder coating on stainless steel can last from 15 to 20 years. The powder coating finish is strong, durable, and resistant to corrosion hence can withstand harsh environments and weather conditions. The gloss levels of powder coat range from 0 to 100; hence the stainless steel is given a hard finish that makes it strong and tough to withstand harsh weather conditions such as rust and wear.

Related Resources:

Powder Coating

Types Of Stainless Steel

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