Choosing the perfect powder coating services provider will depend on the specific needs of your project. No single powder coating facility will be perfect for every company or product.
There are 8 things you should consider before choosing a powder coat finish provider.
Powder Coating Services: 8 Considerations
1. Is my project right for powder coat Finishing?
First, you need to know whether powder coating is the best finish for your project. You've probably already got it figured out, but just to reiterate:
Wood, rubber, plastic, and other materials that have low heat resistance should not be powder coated.
Powder coating requires baking to set the powder. The oven reaches temperatures above 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which can easily melt and burn many common materials. If you're not sure, check with a powder coating manufacturer to see if your product is viable.
2. Do I need prep work done?
Does your product need to be bead blasted before heading to the powder coating room? Many manufacturing facilities can accommodate surface treatment services before finishing - whether it's bead, sand, water, wheel, or other type of abrasive blasting.
However, some facilities are strictly for powder coating. Make sure you verify the capabilities of your vendor match your needs before you make a commitment.
If you do require surface prep, we recommend having it done by your powder coating vendor. Abrasive blasting strips all dirt, grime, and old protective coatings from the metal. This makes the surface vulnerable to rust and other issues, especially when the item will be in transport or otherwise waiting to be coated. Moving the item directly from blasting to powder coating ensures a clean surface and maximum powder coat adhesion.
3. Do I need secondary services?
Will your product require assembly after finishing and before delivery? Additional metal surface treatment or metal surface finishing techniques?
Whatever your needs post-finishing, make sure your manufacturer is willing and able to supply those services.
4. How quickly do I need this project completed?
The wait time to see your finished product depends on a few factors:
- How busy your manufacturer is
- Whether they're willing to do rush jobs (and if you're willing to pay for it)
- Setup time
- Surface prep & secondary services
- Shipping times
Typically, lead times are a few weeks for powder coating orders.
5. Do I need multiple colors for one project?
Check which brands of powder your manufacturer offers. Some manufacturers work with multiple powder suppliers, while others are contracted with one powder supplier. Some can engineer different colors and textures.
If you need multiple colors or bare sections on a product, many manufacturers are happy to mask off the items. However, some are not.
Your coloring needs will affect which powder coating vendor you choose.
6. Do I need special textures or surface effects?
Some powder coating facilities offer everything you could possibly dream of in terms of colors, effects, textures, etc. Others are bare-bones and only take on simple, standard orders.
7. Is my item small or large?
Find out what product sizes a manufacturer will handle. Some items will be too large for powder coating rooms, in which case you may need to disassemble your product to receive powder coating services. Smaller items can be powder dipped, if your manufacturer offers that capability.
8. Is my order size small or large?
Some manufacturers will not take on small, custom orders. In many cases, those who do charge high prices to cover the cost of such small operations.
Most manufacturers are very happy to take on large orders - and larger orders tend to be more cost-effective for you as well.
(Editor's Note: This article was originally published in July 2016 and was recently updated.)