What makes powder coating stick to wood?
By Bill Esler
March 2, 2016 | 9:19 pm CST
Manufacturers have had the capability to spray a powder finish on wood for some time now. But few manufacturers are taking the initiative to provide information about the process, as well as the features and benefits of powder as a finish option.
Powder coated wood manufacturer GCC Coatings, South Beloit, Illinois, says it is building a virtual library of articles revealing the details about how powder coating works.
The latest article being released by the manufacturer, "What Makes the Powder Stick to Wood," explores the science behind getting a powder finish to actually stick to the wood, looking at the three major factors.
“It’s one of those frequently asked questions that folks bring up after first finding out we are able to powder coat wood,” said GCC Coatings estimator Bart Maddrell. “Most of them know that powder coating metal requires the substrate to be conductive (to attract the electrostatically charged powder particles) and also intense heat.
"They want to know how we account for and cope with those things because we’re dealing with a material that is not naturally conductive and does not do well under heat.”
Three factors will contribute to getting the powder to stick: the wood, the heat, and charging the powder.
Picking the Right Wood
This is probably the cornerstone to the entire process. We have very specific criteria that wood boards must meet before we can use it to manufacture parts for powder coating.
After years of research coupled with trial and error, researchers found that medium density fiberboard (MDF) is the best material but it must have the right moisture content and bond strength.
Applying the Heat
One of the first parts of the powder coating process is giving the MDF board the ability to conduct an electric current. This is why having a moisture content of five to seven percent in the MDF is important.
Charging the Powder
Once the MDF has been heated and is able to conduct an electrical current it is ready for powder coating.
A series of articles at GCC Coatings explains the process in greater detail. The company has been offering its powder coated wood services to manufacturers in various industries for several years now. The powder coating system was originally installed by parent company Greenberg Casework Company Inc. The original intent was to give GCC Coatings sister company, RedLine Garagegear, more control over the quality of the powder coated wood garage cabinets it sells to homeowners in the United States and Canada. A short time later, GCC Coatings was founded to fulfill the growing demand for an alternative wood coating option for manufacturers in other industries.
The parent company, Greenberg Casework Company Inc., has been building custom cabinets and casework since 1985. Over the past three decades the company has designed, produced, and installed its products in department stores, hospitals, schools, condominiums, and various other facilities.
About a decade ago Greenberg Casework Company Inc. entered the consumer market with high end wood powder coated garage cabinets under the brand name RedLine Garagegear.
That line is sold through a network of agents in the U.S. and Canada or direct to consumers in areas where an authorized dealer is not available. A free sample kit shows examples of the powder finish up close. Interested parties can sign up for the samples at http://www.powdercoatmdf.com
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