What is the difference between electrocoating and powder coating?
With electrocoating, also known as e-coat, a positive charge is applied to the paint bath and a negative charge is applied to the parts to be coated. The paint particles are suspended in water. Also, the paint is a special formula that allows an electric current to travel from one paint particle to another until it reaches the part where the paint particles electrically attach themselves to the surfaces of the part. The parts are then processed through a bake oven where the paint is melted onto the part for fusion bonding and then heat cured to form a hard and durable film to coat the part. The cured thickness of the electrocoating film is usually 0.6 to 1 mil.
Powder coating, another method for parts painting, has many similar characteristics. However, the paint might be thought of as a plastic material in powder form. The consistency is similar to baby powder or face powder. The powder is sprayed through a gun that contains a charging mechanism. As the powder particles exit the end of the spray gun they receive a very high voltage (very low amperage) negative charge. This charge is much like the electrostatic charge one might get when reaching for a doorknob after walking across a carpet. The parts to be coated are positioned on a conveyor rack which is grounded. As the highly charged powder particles approach the grounded parts they will be electrically attracted to the grounded part. The parts are again passed through a curing oven where the powder particles will melt and fusion bond to the metal part then be heat cured to form a hard and durable film to coat the part. The cured thickness of the powder coating film is usually 1 to 3 mils.
So which one is better for metal painting, e-coating or powder coating? Do they perform the same aside from powder coating being thicker? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
If one were "better" the other would never be done. The advantages and disadvantages are application or situation dependent. Call us and if you don't already know what one to use, we will help you.