E-Coating vs. Powder Coating: What’s the Difference?Updated: May 9, 2023
If you want to apply protective and aesthetic finishes to your products, you have many finishing processes to choose from. Among these, e-coating and powder coating are two popular options that many companies choose to use when finishing their products. While the methods are similar, they have unique advantages and differences that companies must understand before choosing e-coating versus powder coating.
What Is E-Coating?
E-coating, also called electrocoating, is the process of submerging your product in a bath with a water-based solution to stick the paint to the product’s surface. Solutions are typically paint or epoxy. Because the process involves a bath and submerging the product in liquid until finishing the e-coating process, the finishing industry considers it a wet process.
The bath’s electrical charge allows the solution’s particles to attach to the product’s surface. You can control how thick your coat is by leaving the product in the bath for longer, where more paint particles will continue to adhere to the surface. You can further control its thickness by adjusting the electrical charge’s voltage level.
After removing the product from the bath, you will need to cure and harden the finish, which you can achieve by sticking it in an oven and baking it.
Advantages of E-Coating
E-coating offers various benefits to your products, leading many businesses to use this coating method. If you are considering using an e-coat on your products, some benefits include the abilities to:
- Control thickness: When you choose to e-coat your products, you have many methods of controlling the thickness of the coat. You can determine your product’s finish thickness by either leaving it submerged in the bath for longer or by changing the bath’s electrical charge level. This can allow you to reach your exact desired thickness, and it makes it easier to apply thinner coats on products that need it.
- Increase durability: Because of the thickness e-coating provides, your products will have increased durability, allowing them better protection against corrosion and giving them a longer lifespan.
- Cover irregular shapes and hard-to-reach areas: The integral part of e-coating is submerging it in the paint or epoxy solution. While this sets it apart from other coating processes, it also helps products with irregular shapes and harder-to-reach surfaces receive even coverage and protection. Regardless of its form, submerging your product will help coat the entire surface equally.
These benefits allow you to create a more customized finish that perfectly matches your products’ needs and designs.
When to Use E-Coating
This method is perfect for protecting your products with uneven surfaces or products that have surfaces that are more challenging to reach. Many car manufacturers use e-coating to function as a primer for paint jobs on cars, which can add excellent durability for later, protecting the car’s entire surface.
What Is Powder Coating?
While e-coating is a wet process, powder coating represents the other end of the scale by being a dry process. With powder coating, engineers use a specialized gun that sprays powder onto the product’s surface. The gun emits electrostatic waves to help particles fuse to the surface of your product, very similar to how the bath uses electrical charges in e-coating. The powder also contains curing agents and epoxy resin to help support the coating and finishing process.
Like with e-coating, after engineers finish spraying particles to the product’s surface, you will have to bake it in an oven to cure it. This is where the curing agents are critical since they will help the particles melt and ensure they stick and leave the desired finish on your product.
Advantages of Powder Coating
Powder coating provides a wide range of protection against many different elements, including from these conditions:
- Corrosion: Like with e-coating, you can protect surfaces from breaking down when you coat your product with powder. With powder coating, your products will have a very thick finishing layer that will allow them to have better durability and lifespan, serving your customers better.
- UV rays and fading: When products are outside for long periods, exposure to the sun can cause color and finish to fade, diminishing your product’s carefully thought out and curated design. Powder coating provides powerful UV ray protection to keep your product’s color from fading after prolonged periods in the sun.
- Weather: You can protect your project from the elements with powder coating. The strong layer creates a barrier that can help your product withstand exposure to many different weather phenomena, including sun, rain, snow and humidity, making this coating method ideal for products that you design for outdoor use.
Using powder coating can also increase your product’s aesthetic. Using a powder coating process keeps your product’s finish glossy, allowing it to uphold its desired look for longer. Further, when you use a powder coating method, you’ll make the most of your painting efforts and supplies — powder coating reduces paint waste by 95%, and you can reuse the amount of paint particles that don’t make it onto the final product.
When to Use Powder Coating
Powder coating is a common practice that manufacturers use to protect and finish several products, from regular appliances like washing machines and stoves to household objects, including tables and lamps. Because of this, you can apply powder coating methods to most of your products, regardless of their purpose.
Because powder coating offers unique benefits like increased weather durability, this finishing method is an excellent choice for products that will exist outdoors permanently or for extended periods. If you need quality protection from a thicker finish, consider using powder coating to provide durable and extensive protection for your products.
Invest in Powder Coating Equipment From Finishing Systems
As you determine which coating method to use on your products, think about what you want and need from your coating solutions. While both methods have excellent advantages, you should consider the individual needs of your products and which solution can best deliver those needs.
At Finishing Systems, we are experts in coating solutions, and we have developed innovative and powerful powder coating equipment you can use on your products. Regardless of your business’s product sizes, assembly speed and available floor space, our solutions and equipment can cater to exactly what you need. For more information about our metal finishing services and equipment, contact Finishing Systems today!