In its simplest form, fluid bed powder coating process includes immersing a cleaned & pre-heated part into a bed of thermoplastic PE or PVC powder coating, allowing powders to melt and from a film adhering to the part and drying it in an oven. And here we break this process down and write up it in steps for providing a clear idea of coating process to our customers.
Step 1 Substrate cleaning
The surface of your part should be fully cleaned to avoid soil, rust, grease, oil and other stains affecting the adhesion and end product performance of our powder coatings. In other words, the cleaner the part is, the better the bond will create. Normally, the part can be cleaned in various types as shown below:
Note: After cleaning, do not touch the part at once as it may contaminate the surface of the part.
Step 2 Substrate pre-heating
There is no need to apply a layer of primer between the substrate and powder coating owing to inherent high adhesion strength of our thermoplastic powders. After proper cleaning process, preheat the part up to coating temperature from 270°C to 360°C in various methods such as gas, electric ovens with recirculated convected heated air, infrared heater, induction heater, radiant heater and resistance heating equipment. Normally, convection ovens are the most common types that are versatile for dealing with multiple part geometries.
Step 3 Fluid bed coating
After preheating, it is recommended to move the part into the fluidized bed as soon as possible to minimize heat loss. Then keep the part in proper motion to make sure the hidden areas that are hard to reach can be powder coated. Normally, the immersion time is about 2 - 8 seconds, but in some applications requiring thick coatings, the time can be as much as 10 - 30 seconds. Meanwhile, extremely thick coating is also available with longer dipping time.
Step 4 Post heating
Tilt, vibrate or use a regulated air jet to remove the excess powders immediately. And then bake the part at 180°C - 190°C for 2 to 5 minutes. Normally, the powder coating can be cured at high temperature for a short time or low temperature for a longer time. But it is recommended to choose the front curing method as higher temperatures curing are more economical due to its short dwell time in the oven.
Note: The removed excess powder coating can be reused thanks to its excellent recyclability.
Step 5 cooling
After post heating, allow the parts to be cooled below the hardening temperature of the thermoplastic powders.
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