HOW DO YOU CHOOSE A METAL FINISHING OPTION?
One of the services we offer here at Distefano is metal finishing. Primarily, we’ll work with powder coat painting, thanks to our powder coat paint line that can do up to 20’ per minute and a wide array of custom colors that we have available. We also have galvanizing capabilities that are 36” wide x 20’ long x 6’ deep. So, between powder coat painting and galvanizing, there are plenty of options for a variety of metal fabricated products.
Metal finishing is so prevalent because without it, products made from metals would only last for a fraction of their lifespan. According to a University of Illinois study, metal finishing also enhances the surface of these metal products, giving products an increased corrosion resistance, wear resistance, electrical conductivity, electrical resistance, torque tolerance, solderability, tarnish resistance, chemical resistance, hardness, or ability to bond to rubber. And sometimes, the finish is aesthetic: If your product needs a decorative appearance, our custom colors can certainly help with that.
So, why is your metal galvanized? Why would you paint your product using powder coat painting? Here are some the reason we’ve found that these processes are instrumental to the finished product.
Let’s talk about galvanizing. Even if the initial cost of galvanizing may be higher than alternative coatings, you’re almost always making a solid investment when you choose to galvanize a product. It’s cheapest in the long term, because it will last far longer and need less maintenance (the life expectancy of galvanized coatings is in excess of 50 years in rural environments, and twenty five years with urban and coastal exposure, says the Galvanizers’ Association of Australia).
Galvanizing was patented by Stanislas Sorel, a French engineer in Paris, in December of 1837. According to InnovateUS, Sorel filed a patent for a “galvanic” method of protecting iron from rust by coating it in a bath of molten zinc. Today, galvanization is any process by which zinc is coated over corrosive materials. The most common method is hot-dip galvanizing, where the steel or iron is dipped in a bath of hot zinc. While rusting is often inevitable over multiple decades, the galvanization will significantly reduce the time frame for this, and it also depends on the environment. Think about galvanized car frames, which corrode much more quickly in cold environments, due to road salt.
Galvanized products have complete protection, including every recess, sharp corner, and inaccessible area. This is much more comprehensive than any coating applied to a fabrication after completion, so it’s much more efficient to galvanize the product during the manufacturing process. Finally, a galvanized product is never out to trick you. If the coatings appear sound and continuous, they are: There’s just no way to hide errors or imperfections.
What about powder paint coating? So, powder coating provides protection and is an attractive and durable finish, just in a different way than galvanization. Essentially, powder coating is any process of applying dry paint to a part. “Powder Coating is the application of organic powder by electrostatic attraction to metal. Once cured by heat, the finish is a smooth, hard skin. All processes are factory applied under controlled, stable conditions. This provides significant benefits over traditional wet painting,” explains Patrick Handlovsky of TIGER Drylac Canada Inc.
From a production vantage point, there are several benefits to powder coated products. After it comes out of the oven, it’s ready to go within approximately 20 minutes, whereas traditionally painted products could take days before being ready to handle. Since the product is painted using a spray, there’s less waste (and often a good fit for projects focused on sustainability), and there’s less risk of any defects. Usually, the paint is applied electrostatically and then cured under heat. This coating is a good fit for thick coatings, but it’s a bit more challenging to apply smooth, thin films.
If you have questions about either of these metal finishing processes, or if one could work for your metal fabricated product, please give us a call or leave a comment in the section below, anytime!