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The Next Revolution in Powder Coating Technology: Conquering Plastic Substrates

Kevin M. Biller


Historically, manufactured goods have been engineered from steel, aluminum and various metal alloys. Mounting environmental and manufacturing efficiency pressures have motivated industrial engineers to seek alternatives to traditional metal fabrication techniques. The transportation industry in particular has been replacing metal components at an ever increasing pace mainly stimulated by the quest for lighter products to achieve increased fuel economy. Not only do plastic materials provide lighter weight components but they almost invariably offer improvements in fabrication processes as well. This sea change in substrate technology brings a crossroad to the powder coating industry. Well-worn powder coating technology serving these industries is largely unsuitable for plastic substrates. Plastic surfaces are inherently non-conductive thereby complicating the use of conventional electrostatic application techniques. In addition many of these plastic materials melt or deform at temperatures significantly below powder coating cure requirements. The incorporation of these advanced materials in engineering have stimulated powder coating technologists to create innovations not seen since the 1980’s. This talk will present the latest developments in low temperature and radiation curable powder coating technology that have been developed for application to plastic and composite substrates.

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