Most people tend to assume colorful (or not-so-colorful) everyday objects have been painted. Actually, there are many everyday items that are powder coated due to its cost, durability, and environmental benefits.
Here are some things you probably didn't know were powder coated.
Surprising Powder Coating Uses
1. Vending Machines
Although the majority of vending machines are housed indoors, many places in the U.S. (and especially in Europe and Asia) put their vending machines outside for public access. Liquid paint is simply not hardy enough to withstand the elements.
Fawn Manufacturing, located in Des Moines, Iowa, was the first facility to set up a completely custom vending machine powder coating line. They even partnered with Sherwin Williams to develop trademarked powder coating colors and textures.
These tiny colorful pins are actually powder coated, not painted. It's much cheaper to powder coat these small objects than to paint them, and the finish is more attractive and consistent once it sets.
3. Mechanical Pencils
Like thumbtacks, mechanical pencils are mass-produced at an incredible rate. It's much quicker, cheaper, and easier to powder coat instead of painting them.
Powder coating is a safe, baby-friendly alternative to paint. It's actually used on a variety of baby products - namely toys, strollers, and wagons. Powder coating is non-toxic and much more durable than paint. Due to the way it's applied, it would be difficult for Junior to chew the powder coating off his toys.
5. Bathroom Scales
The casing and/or base of bathroom scales is usually made of steel, so it's cheap and easy for manufacturers to powder coat those parts. If the rest of the scale is made of plastic, it's most likely been painted. Due to the high temperatures needed to cure a powder coating finish, plastic items currently cannot be powder coated.
6. Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are not, in fact, painted to get that bright red color. Powder coatings come in all different colors, even metallic, fluorescent, and glittery. As powder coating technology continues to progress, we should see an even wider range of textures and aesthetics.
Snowmobiles, like other vehicles, have many intricate components that need to be protected from the elements. Powder coating is a durable finish that can easily stand up to harsh winter conditions.
There are quite a few individual parts of snowmobiles that can be powder coated, including bumpers, handlebars, bulkheads, trailing arms, springs, and slider rails.
Those rims weren't painted black. Wheels are usually made of aluminum, magnesium, or an alloy of the two. Magnesium wheels are much rarer, and with current technology should not be powder coated. However, the more common aluminum wheels are a perfect powder coating subject.
Aluminum can withstand the intense heat of the curing process, and powder coating is much more durable than painting or anodizing. Wheels require a more durable finish since they're naturally exposed to harsh conditions.
Microwaves are powder coated because the polymers do not heat up, and the surface is shiny enough to bounce the microwaves around inside of the appliance. Powder coating is non-toxic, which makes it perfect for this application where the coating is in close interaction with food.
Speaking of microwaves, microwave radio transmission is a common form of communication on and off the surface of the Earth. A company called Radio Frequency Systems based in Meriden, Connecticut, uses powder coating on its parabolic dishes and other antenna support pieces. Powder coating has dropped reject products to zero, and has made the finishing process highly efficient.
Powder coating is the finish of choice for satellite dishes and their antennas due to its durability and cost-efficiency in large batches.
There are a ton of other applications for powder coating - architectural, industrial, everyday, or otherwise. As powder coating technology continues to develop, we should see even more applications at even better prices.