Benefits of Powder Coating in Metal Fabrication

Metal fabrication is a vital industry that supports the world’s infrastructure and economy. Virtually every aspect of civilization benefits from some form of product fabricated from metal. From household appliances to vehicles, no part of daily life would be the same without metals like carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Fabricated metal products are simply indispensable in today’s society, provided they’re properly finished.

Importance of Metal Finishing

Raw metal, on its own, has some drawbacks. Without proper finishing, exposed metals can tarnish and corrode. Unfinished parts fabricated from metal are eroded by salts, weakened by ultraviolet light and rusted by rain. Metal fabricators learned long ago that properly finishing components is the key to product durability and long life. They also knew that correctly finishing their metal products gave far better appearances. That made them more valuable, not to mention more pleasing to the end user. It’s a win-win for both fabricator and customer.

For years, metal fabricators had few viable options for finishing products. Liquid paint was the primary choice for most metal projects. Fabricators brushed, rolled or sprayed solvent-based paint on everything from farm tractors to fence gates. But regular paints, whether oil or waterborne, had their drawbacks too. Conventional painting took time, required proper conditions and performed poorly unless professionally applied.

Electroplating was another metal product finishing technique. Chromium finishes were trendy in the 1950s when American autos gleamed in chrome from bumper to pumper. But chrome plating was expensive and time-consuming. Experienced fabricators knew there had to be a better finishing alternative to paint and plating.

Powder Coating is Perfected

Metal fabrication finishes took a giant leap forward in the 1960s. Scientists perfected a finishing process called powder coating that revolutionized the metal product industry. Immediately, the benefits of powder coating in metal fabrication became obvious. Advantages of powder coating over liquid paint and metal plating gave metal fabricators and product manufacturers a leading edge over antiquated finishes.

Economy, efficiency and durability significantly improved. So did the end-use product performance, which increased profits. According to the Powder Coating Institute, a non-profit society mandated to promote the benefits of powder coating technology, over 15% of all product finishes in the world are powder coated. That includes non-metal products like wood furniture and plastic electronic device finishes that can’t be powder coated.

The Powder Coating Institute lists three primary benefits of powder coating in metal fabrication. Powder coating gives finished metal products improved durability, premium appearance and lowers environmental impact. Once the powder coating process was perfected, metal fabricators maximized production time while increasing functional protective product properties and improving decorative appearances.

How Powder Coating Works

To appreciate powder coating benefits and advantages, it’s necessary to first understand how powder coating works. Unlike conventional wet paint that has color pigments suspended in liquid, powder coating works in a totally dry environment. That’s a critical component in finishing custom fabrication and coatings done through powder coating.

In fact, water is a deadly foe to powder coating as it works through an electrostatic spray deposition (ESD) process. A free-floating, dry powder receives a positive electric charge and gets sprayed under pressure to the unfinished fabricated metal object that’s grounded with a negative charge. This creates an electrochemical change where long-chain molecules from the powder attach to the metal and coat it.

Powder bases can be acrylic, polyurethane, polyester, epoxy or any blend of these products. The electric polarization of positive and negative currents allows an entirely uniform coating. There are no runs or sags in the powder coating process, unlike what happens in over-applications with wet painting.

Curing Powder Coated Products

Once the fabricated metal parts have a uniform powder coating, they’re placed in a high-temperature environment for a prescribed time. Durations vary depending on powder materials, and temperatures range up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Powder-coated products don’t dry like conventional paint. They’re fully cured when taken from the oven and can be used immediately.

The size and amount of powder coated products have no limit except for the oven capacity. Complex geometric shapes are easily coated with uniform coverage. Unlike regular wet painting, there’s no chance of over or undercoating any part. When finished, powder coated pieces have solid, molecularly-dense, protective outer layer.

Benefits of Powder Coating for Steel Fabrication


This high technology finish has every advantage over other available finishes. Powder coating makes finished surfaces resistant to scratching, wearing, fading and chipping. Powder-coated metal products won’t corrode or rust. They keep a like-new appearance throughout their normal life cycle.

All benefits of powder coating for stainless steel, carbon steel and aluminum materials deliver value for the consumer. Powder coating makes products virtually maintenance-free under normal use. There’s no need for occasional repainting. Powder-coated surfaces are simply washed with regular detergent and water. Overall benefits from powder coating metals include:

  • Durability: Powder coating leaves metal products with a hard and durable finish. It’s perhaps the toughest overall finish found on consumer goods, commercial equipment and industrial surfaces. Powder coated objects withstand adverse conditions like severe weather, chemical contact and physical collision. This allows trouble-free daily use and product longevity far beyond what painted or plated surfaces can offer.
  • Uniformity: Products treated with powder coating have a smooth and uniform appearance. That’s nearly impossible with conventional painting unless applied by a professional painter working in a sterile environment. With powder coating, there are no runs, streaks or weak spots. There are no imperfections like bubbles, dust bumps or caught insects. Every surface of a powder coated product comes out smooth and perfect to the eye.
  • Appearance: No metal finishing process gives the beautiful appearance found with powder coating. Besides being uniform and even, powder coating allows a variety of light reflection styles. Powder coats can be a high gloss, semi-gloss or matte finishes. Smooth or wrinkled textures are easy to achieve. Even metal flake and glitter can work in powder coatings.
  • Economy: Another main benefit of powder coating compared to alternatives is economy. Most powder coating jobs take less time than painting or plating. That results in fewer labor costs, and savings get passed on to the user. It also allows powder coating processers more profits in their work. Again, powder coating is a win-win for both customer and fabricator.
  • Color Variety: Powder coating colors come in a rainbow of selection. Colors are pre-mixed in the powder pigments by the supplier. That’s done in factory settings with computer-controlled mixing ratios. Carefully pre-mixed powders allow for perfect color distribution that’s difficult to achieve with wet paint products. Black and white are the two most popular powder coating color choices. However, every color in the spectrum is available in stock powders and custom color blends.
  • Custom Color Matching: Customers benefit from powder coating through custom color matches. Finish colors can be custom matched to a client’s particular brand choice. This allows instant product recognition and pleasing aesthetic appeal. Commercial and industrial businesses benefit from corporate uniformity by having bold color statements custom powder coated onto their products.
  • Diverse Range: A diverse range of objects can be powder coated. Regardless of shape, size and complexity, if the product can take an electric charge, it can be powder coated. Irregularly shaped pieces with tight bends and hollow cavities are difficult to wet paint or electroplate. Comparing powder coating to paint or plating, there is no challenge in coloring every surface on complicated shapes with powder coating. This gives metal fabricators freedom to design and manufacture one-piece products and not have to paint parts separately for later assembly.
  • Corrosion Resistance: Rusting is always a problem for metal fabricated products. Outdoor pieces get pounded by rain, snow, sleet and hail. Indoor products also suffer corrosion through high humidity and water exposure. Because powder coated equipment is so thoroughly and evenly covered, there is no opportunity for moisture to seep through to metal pores. Without question, corrosion resistance is a chief benefit gained by powder coating.
  • Consumer Recognition: Consumers recognize powder coating as a quality mark. To the discerning eye, powder coated surfaces stand right out compared to conventional wet painting. Powdered surfaces have a distinguished dry and even look that’s unique to the powder coating process. That makes the statement of care and quality that equals value and satisfaction.

Advantages of Powder Coating vs. Alternatives


Powder coated metal finishes have considerable advantages over other finish techniques. Comparing powder coating to wet painting or plating, there is no match for the many advantages manufacturers and consumers have when using a powder-coated finish. It’s no wonder powder coating has such a large share of the metal finishing market. Powder coating offers these excellent advantages over other alternatives:

  • Environmentally Friendly: Powder coating is exceptionally friendly to the environment. There are no harsh chemicals used in the powder coating process, unlike wet painting and hot plating. Both oil and waterborne paints use harsh chemicals in their solvent bases and pigment additives. Electroplating uses even harsher chemicals to etch metal and make plating stick. Not so with powder coating. There is only dry powder involved and it goes right from the spray gun to the metal surface.
  • No Volatile Organic Compounds : Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, can be harmful to the environment, harsh to humans and are frowned on by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are no VOCs in any dry powders. This pollution-free process doesn’t require the same environmental protection steps required by wet paints and hot plating. This also saves costs and speeds production time.
  • Cost Savings: Because powder coating uses less equipment, takes less application time and consumes fewer raw materials, it’s a less expensive process than alternatives like plating and conventional painting. Powder bases are stable and have indefinite shelf lives. They offer better value and are less expensive to stock. Labor cost to powder coat is also lower due to the simple two-step system used in powder coating.
  • Less Waste: There is almost no waste in powder coating. Spray painting has considerable overspray that wastes paint materials. Brush and roll coatings also have a lot of waste material left in trays and containers. Virtually all expelled dry powder contacts raw metal in powder coating and it stays there. Any residual powder is easily recovered and can be recirculated back into use.
  • Safety: Powder coating is an entirely safe process. There are no flammable solvents as in regular wet painting. As well, powder coating materials are not caustic and won’t affect skin if accidentally contacted. Even inhaling dry powder coating materials is safe, although applicators should always wear personal protection equipment like respirators and goggles.
  • Equipment Maintenance: Since powder coating uses dry materials applied with compressed air to electrically charged metal, there is little equipment used in the process. That means less equipment to maintain, and that’s a considerable advantage for powder coating businesses. There are no wet paint sprayers, brushes or rollers to clean. There are no electrochemical baths to maintain. It also means less time and trouble which converts to customer savings.
  • Minimal Training: Powder coating equipment is simple to use and straightforward to operate. It doesn’t take the artistic skill that spray painting requires or the complex training required to learn electroplating. Powder coating applicators quickly learn the process with minimal training and that, too, passes on to lower finishing costs for metal fabricators.
  • Less Rejected Work: Because powder coating is such a reliable process, there is little to no rejected work. Powder-coated metal fabrications appear flawless, almost every time. Conventionally painted pieces often show streaks, sags and runs. Plated pieces can show flat and weak spots. This doesn’t happen with powder coating, and finished works are almost never rejected by customers.
  • Superior Products:Powder coating is a hands-down winner when it comes to finishing fabricated metal products. It’s a cleaner, smoother and superior process than other finishing methods. Powder coating is environmentally-friendly, safe and cost-effective finishing. It’s no surprise that powder coating has such a superior advantage in the metal finishing industry.

Summit Steel Provides Superior Powder Coating Services


Summit Steel & Manufacturing Inc. is a uniquely structured metal fabricating company located in Reading, Penn. Since 1992, we’ve provided first-class welding and fabrication solutions to worldwide customers. That includes superior powder coating services.

At Summit Steel, we distinguish ourselves in a competitive market by offering single-source capabilities, innovative processes and excellent customer relationships. Our precision metal fabrication and finishing services let our clients save time, lower costs and improve their bottom line.

We have nearly limitless capabilities in our 120,000 square foot facility. That includes 2D-flat and 3D laser cutting as well as centerless grinding, CNC machining, polishing and superior powder coating abilities. Summit Steel & Manufacturing simply sets the bar for versatility, speed and quality results.

Let Summit Steel & Manufacturing Inc. help you with your next metal fabrication and powder coating project. Call us today at 610-921-1119, or contact us online. welding and fabrication solutions to worldwide customers. That includes superior powder coating services.

At Summit Steel, we distinguish ourselves in a competitive market by offering single-source capabilities, innovative processes and excellent customer relationships. Our precision metal fabrication and finishing services let our clients save time, lower costs and improve their bottom line.

We have nearly limitless capabilities in our 120,000 square foot facility. That includes 2D-flat and 3D laser cutting as well as centerless grinding, CNC machining, polishing and superior powder coating abilities. Summit Steel & Manufacturing simply sets the bar for versatility, speed and quality results.

Let Summit Steel & Manufacturing Inc. help you with your next metal fabrication and powder coating project. Call us today at 610-921-1119, or contact us online.