Powder Coating wood? So what’s different this time?
By IFS Coatings

Historically, powder coating wood and MDF have faced a host of challenges.

Not anymore.

There is now a range of durable, low temperature cure powder coatings with exceptional physical performance capabilities and gorgeous aesthetics for non-metal substrates like wood and MDF; IFS PureClad.

The history of attempts to advance powder coating beyond metal is the story of a struggle to conquer a combination of challenges that together, had to be overcome for success.

These challenges include:

  1. Achieving cure, without compromising aesthetics or performance, at temperatures sufficiently low to avoid damaging heat sensitive materials like engineered and natural wood.
  2. The ability to mitigate the effects of moisture content, which effects deposition during electrostatic application and can result in outgassing during cure.
  3. How to uniformly apply powder evenly, across the entire surface, to non-conductive or minimally conductive substrate.
  4. Overcoming the tendency for wood/MDF to shrink and swell over the life of finished products as they absorb and release moisture. The coating has to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate this without cracking or peeling.
  5. These challenges require solutions from multiple disciplines, not just the powder. It’s therefore necessary to align the community of allied suppliers (raw material and powder coating manufacturers, application equipment and oven suppliers, and coaters) to provide the market with the complete, robust powder coating alternative to incumbent coating processes and technologies.

This is something the powder coating industry has attempted over the years with varying results – until now. Significant formulation research, as well as developments in application and curing systems, now mean that each of these challenges has been overcome. The result is an exciting new product that cures at only 265F in a catalytic IR oven for 3 – 4 minutes. This low temperature cure, combined with the catalytic IR oven capability, overcomes the issue of damage to heat sensitive substrates.

The finish has the flexibility to adapt to the shrinking/swelling issues these substrates display, as well as an outgassing forgiving formula that can be uniformly applied.

Compromising on aesthetics is clearly not an option, and advances in raw material selection and formulation technique mean powder can now produce a beautiful finish available in a huge range of colors and even textures.  These powders can also benefit from anti-microbial treatment.

The combination of gorgeous aesthetics and physical performance mean these exciting new finishes are suitable to cabinet fronts, residential and office furniture, trim and moldings – the possibilities are endless.

Thanks to work done by suppliers across the coating application industry, not only is the powder available, but so are the means to apply and cure it without requiring a huge amount of space. The application and cure process is simple, quick, efficient and cost effective, delivering exciting throughput advantages.  Check out our short application animation for a 2 minute overview of the application process.

Exceptional functional performance is an added benefit, and these exciting new powders are also able to overcome the issues incumbent technologies inflict. Excellent chemical and mechanical properties ensure these new powders boast world-class chip and crack resistance, good scratch and mar resistance and incredible chemical and stain resistance. They overcome concerns with poor UV or heat resistance that can lead to yellowing or brittleness, and there is no edge banding and no seams.

Finally, the environmental footprint of these new powder finishes is excellent. Virtually zero VOC’s, no hazardous waste, the ability to reclaim and recycle, single coat applications (no sanding, less product, less energy, less time) and the lowest carbon footprint of any industrial coating technology, all point to an environmentally friendly finishing solution – especially when compared to incumbent finishing technologies like liquid paint, laminate or thermofoil.  Sustainability is at the forefront of everyone –and every designers – mind, and offering a high performance product with a first rate environmental footprint has never been more important.

Choosing an environmentally responsible, beautiful finish with excellent physical properties that doesn’t cost the earth (literally and figuratively) is now possible. Ask about IFS PureClad powder coatings. [email protected]


Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.