Powder Coating Q&A: What Should I Watch Out For On An Older Curing Oven?

Every month, we take a question about powder coating and get an answer from our resident coating expert, Bruce Chirrey. If you have a question for Bruce, please send it to This month’s question is about what to look out for on older equipment.

Question:  On a powder coating oven that is well over 10 years old, do the wires go bad and does the oven need to be rewired? What other issues do I need to look out for?

Answer: Oven wiring doesn’t automatically go bad but there is wear and tear on an oven that can cause issues if it has been moth-balled for some time. As with all older appliances, a certified electrician should check for potential code issues and make sure it is safe to operate. This is especially important regarding safety devices such as airflow switches and high temperature limit safeties. Cleaning the motors and making sure they have appropriate amp draws is also important.

The next issue that we see in older ovens is the temperature probes could have been damaged or the connections and/or wiring have developed issues. If the oven does not hold a consistent temperature or tends to shut down due to the high limit being reached, probe replacement or wiring repair might be needed. The signal strength is quite low compared to the wires connected to the motors or other controls, so even a slight bit of damage to the wiring or a loose connection can cause problems.

One of the main things we see if an older oven is put back in service, either after having been decommissioned for an extended period of time or sold to a new owner as used equipment, is the deterioration of the insulation, especially if the oven has ever been moved. You can tell if an oven has degraded insulation if the outside walls get too hot to touch, especially at the tops of the wall panels where they meet the roof. During handling, mineral wool insulation (especially if it has gotten wet due to exposure to moisture or from the inside surfaces of the panels “sweating” and having condensation issues) can break down and settle. The most obvious area of concern is at the top of the panels, which may no longer have insulation inside because it has shifted down during settling.

On belt-driven exhaust and supply fans, you should check to make sure the belts are in good shape, properly aligned, and properly tensioned. Avoid over-tightening the belts to help prevent bearing wear!

Older ovens also tend to have issues with the burner section of their heat units. The burner may have been damaged through handling or from extensive operation, especially at higher temperatures. It is important to check the plumbing connections at the burner’s gas train and to visually inspect the area where the flame is discharged into the heat unit’s airstream. It is not uncommon for the orifice, blossom, or combustion area to be degraded or distorted by heat over time.

Once the wiring, belts, gas plumbing, and burner have been checked, I would then have an oven or paint booth technician come in to test the temperature of the oven. By running an oven recorder, such as a DataPaq, the technician can ensure the oven is operating at the correct temperature and is working as intended.

For further reading, please check out our Buying Used versus New Equipment Guide, which covers some of the other issues you may run into when using an older piece of machinery.

Thanks again, Bruce! Mr. Chirrey and our other systems specialists are always happy to answer your questions and direct you to a solution for your coating needsContact us today!

If you are looking for more powder coating information – including tips and tricks, troubleshooting guides, and equipment maintenance schedules – check out our Resources page.

Powder Coating Q&A: How Do I Achieve a Thick Powder Coating on Fences & Outdoor Applications?

Every month, we take a common question about powder coating and get an answer from our resident coating expert, Bruce Chirrey. If you have a question for Bruce, please send it to

Question: How do I achieve a very thick coating on fence components that will be used outdoors in all types of weather?

Answer: There are two routes you can go to achieve a thick film coating. The first is to use a PVC powder coating. For a protective PVC coating, a primer must be applied first. If not, the PVC won’t adhere properly. When this happens, the coating can be peeled away from the metal part. After you apply the primer, the PVC powder is applied to a hot part until the desired mil thickness (usually 8-25 mils) is reached. The part is then reheated (typically to about 300°F) to achieve good flow over the entire surface. This PVC coating is not actually cured, as it is only melted enough to cover the part. It does not have the same characteristics as a fully cross-linked coating. The final coating is corrosion resistant, but not very tough. It won’t have good durability because it can be easily scratched and dented. This type of application isn’t recommended for high heat environments since the coating can be reheated and reflowed at higher temps.

The second route is to use a fusion bonded epoxy (FBE) coating. This is probably a better choice for fencing. The parts are heated to 400-450°F and sprayed. The powder is then allowed to cure in place. This technique will typically generate a coated finish that is 8-15 mils thick. The FBE finished part is very corrosion resistant and the finish is quite tough. However, since fence parts are going to be heavily exposed to sunlight, a second coat of polyester powder coating is needed to protect the FBE layer from sunlight degradation. This second coat is usually applied to a hot part that has already been coated with the FBE. After coating the heated part with polyester powder, a little added oven curing time will be necessary. This second coat can also be applied later, after the FBE coating has cured, but you may need to sand the FBE coating to insure good adhesion by the polyester top coat.

Thanks, Bruce! If you need help with your finishing results, please give us a call. Bruce and our other specialists can troubleshoot your process and help you get the best finishes possible. Contact us today.

If you are looking for more powder coating information – including tips and tricks, troubleshooting guides, and equipment maintenance schedules – check out our Resources page.

Powder Coating Q&A: Touching Up Your Powder Coated Finish

Every month, we take a common question about powder coating and get an answer from our resident coating expert, Bruce Chirrey. If you have a question for Bruce, please send it to

Question: Occasionally I rub or scratch the fresh powder coated finish off of a small section of a part by accident while working with it after it has been coated. Aside from buying touch up paint to match the color I chose, is it possible to make a spot filler from the powder I was using? Someone I work with suggested using some rubbing alcohol and maybe a spoonful of powder to make a slurry, then applying it with a paintbrush and letting the alcohol evaporate before rebaking. Will this work? Thoughts on this or do you have a better suggestion? The areas I want to fill can be as small as a 1/16” square.

Answer: Touch-up can be tricky with powder coating. The alcohol method can work but might give you an unexpected result. Applying powder to the primary visual surface by any method other than respraying can give a halo-effect, a shimmer, or an uneven surface that may draw attention to the touch-up rather than disguise the original defect.

My simple answer for touch-ups is if it can be recoated, go ahead and recoat the whole part but with much less powder than was applied during the original coating. That way you have a consistency of powder film all the way around the part and no weird surface inconsistencies. If you just put a little powder in a corner, that’s different than on the prime visual area of the part. I have done corner touch-ups with q-tips and small brushes without the alcohol by applying powder to a part after it has been heated, then rebaking it at curing temperature for a few minutes. If you use the alcohol method, make sure the alcohol is completely evaporated. Otherwise, the touch-up and surrounding area can wrinkle.  

Thanks, Bruce! If you’re having issues with your finishing results, please give us a call. Bruce and our other specialists can troubleshoot your process and help you get the best finishes possible. Contact us today.

If you are looking for more powder coating information – including tips and tricks, troubleshooting guides, and equipment maintenance schedules – check out our Resources page.

Pinholes and Outgassing: Troubleshooting Your Powder Coated Finish

Pinholes And Outgassing: Troubleshooting Your Powder Coated Finish #reliantfinishingsystems

Time and effort wasted: a cured part full of pinholes is what you want to avoid.

You’ve prepped your part, applied the powder, and now you’re waiting to pull the finished product out of the oven. Maybe it’s a piece that your customer desperately needs or maybe it’s a part you’ve taken special care to finish for yourself. But once you take it out, instead of a beautifully smooth finish, you’ve got a ragged, pitted mess – your coating is full of pinholes.

What Causes Pinholes?

Pinholes develop from a process called “outgassing.” Pinholes occur during the cure – as the part heats up, gasses that are trapped on or inside the part escape through the powder, causing holes or bubbles in the finish. These pinholes are not only unattractive, they also allow moisture and corrosion to penetrate the coating and damage the surface.

Troubleshooting Outgassing: What To Look For

Understanding how pinholes occur and where they come from is key to preventing them. We’ll go over the main three causes and how best to troubleshoot them below.

Make Sure Your Product Is Clean

Troubleshooting Powder Coating: Anything not cleaned off of the part - solvents, grease, oils and other contaminants - can cause disastrous results. #reliantfinishingsystems

Anything not cleaned off of the part – solvents, grease, oils and other contaminants – can cause disastrous results.

One of the primary causes of pinholes is surface contamination. Solvents, grease, mold release agents, and machine oil can all vaporize through the powder coated finish during the curing process. Leftover residue or improper cleaning can subject your part to a variety of finish defects, including pinholes.

Preventing this type of problem comes down to proper cleaning. Identify the contaminant(s) and remove them prior to applying powder. If the problem continues, you may have to add an additional pretreatment step to your coating process in order to achieve the level of cleanliness you need to avoid pinholes (for more information on pretreatment, read our article here).

Your Products – Or How They Were Treated – May Be To Blame

Powder Coated Cast Fitting

Pinholes can occur from the parts themselves, especially cast metal parts.

Cast metal parts made of aluminum, iron, steel, and brass are some of the most likely to have outgassing issues. With both die-cast and sand-cast parts, gasses can become trapped in the part during the pouring process. High-quality castings using premium metals will almost always have less entrapped gas.

Outgassing can also happen occur when a powder coated finish is applied to material that already has a zinc surface treatment, like galvanizing. During the galvanizing process, gasses can become trapped within the surface coating. It is the escape of these trapped gasses that can cause outgassing problems when curing galvanized steel parts that have been powder coated.

Galvanized Steel Surface Unfit For Powder Coating

Surface treatment, like galvanizing, can also cause pinholes in your powder coating.

Pre-baking the part can solve this type of issue. Pre-heat the part before coating, then allow it to return to room temperature. We recommend the product be heated to a temperature slightly above your target curing temperature and held at temperature for a little longer than the part would normally be cured. While some parts are of such poor casting quality that this method won’t work, this solution is effective for the majority of outgassing issues.

In extreme cases, it may be necessary to modify the design of the part, impregnate the casting, or use a sealant during the production to get the best powder coating results. It may also be possible to use IR curing or change the coating to one that uses a time/temperature recipe that doesn’t result in the part’s mass being heated as intensely during the curing process.

Make Sure You Aren’t Applying Too Much Powder

Powder Coating Application Using Powder Spray Gun

Good coverage techniques and quality control testing will help you avoid overloading your products with powder.

Pinholes can occur with some powder coating materials when they are applied in one heavy coat of greater than average thickness. When this happens, gasses that escape during curing are released through the outer surface of the coating after it has begun to cure, causing imperfections in the surface that remain after the part has cooled.

Check your film thickness to make sure you’re aren’t getting too much powder on your products (we discuss powder thickness in our article on quality control testing). If the part requires a coating with a particularly heavy film thickness, apply 2-3 thinner layers instead of one heavy layer.

Some companies also offer coatings with enhanced flow characteristics that enable the coatings to remain liquid for longer periods of time during the curing process. Trapped gasses can escape harmlessly when the coating is still liquid. The coating will flow into the imperfections caused by the gasses’ exit and yield a blemish-free finish. These specially formulated coatings can also be used for applications where a thinner film thickness is acceptable but the parts’ outgassing cannot be eliminated.

Get The Best Finish With Proper Equipment And Training

Reliant Finishing Systems not only offers professional-grade spray booths and curing ovens to get the absolute best results, but we also offer a wide range of troubleshooting and training services. Whether you need a new system or want to improve your existing operation, we can help. Give us a call today.

Why Powder Coating Is Good For The Environment

Powder Coated Metal One of the key advantages powder coating has over other finishing processes is how safe it is for the environment and for the people who work with it. Unlike traditional solvent-based wet paint, powder coating is considered a “green” technology that doesn’t generate harmful solvents or airborne pollutants. Compared to painting, powder coating reduces finishing line emissions, produces far less harmful waste by-product, and doesn’t pose a significant health risk to your employees or neighbors. Understanding the impact of these green benefits can help your business make the right choice when choosing a new finishing system—and help you gain support from your community.

Powder Coating Generates Negligible VOCs and No Real Air Pollution

A significant difference between industrial wet painting and powder coating is the presence of Volatile Organic Compounds, called VOCs for short. VOCs (like formaldehyde) are released into the air over time, either as the paint is cured or as it ages. VOCs damage the ozone and, if trapped indoors, can cause serious health problems to people exposed to them. Traditional liquid paint emits VOCs. Newer paint technology includes No-VOC and Low-VOC products, but these are often not capable of providing a finish that is adequately robust. By comparison, powder coated finishes are tough and durable, yet cause the emission of almost no VOCs. Powder coating media and powder coating in general is considered non-toxic, which it is why powder coating is strongly recommended if your finished product will be used or installed indoors.

Since powder coating is inert and produces almost no VOCs, applying it does not create harmful fumes or contribute to air pollution. While you will still want to spray inside a booth with a true filtered exhaust including HEPA filtration, you won’t otherwise have to duct the air from your booth to the outside atmosphere. Although powder overspray is considered a nuisance dust, properly filtered exhaust from a powder coating booth is clean enough to breathe, so you don’t have to exhaust the booth outside the shop space. This makes powder coating even more energy efficient because you won’t be wasting heated or cooled shop air by exhausting it to the outside atmosphere.

Powder Coating Produces Significantly Less Hazardous Waste Than Wet Paint

Traditional wet paint lines produce hazardous waste in two key areas: Retouching and Disposal. Because of the chemical composition of wet paint, coating defects often require costly reworks using solvents. These chemicals produce harmful fumes and the used solvents are considered hazardous waste. In addition, stripped and discarded paint may also be hazardous waste and should be disposed of properly – which can be an expensive and time-consuming process that many shops ignore.

Since powder is considered inert and does not require special handling or disposal, powder coating media is much safer to handle and isn’t hazardous to retouch. Fixing a mistake is also much easier (provided you catch it before curing). Instead of using harsh chemicals, if you find a mistake on a powder coated part, you can simply wipe the part clean or used compressed air to remove the uncured powder and reapply it. Any waste powder can be swept up and handled without special safety equipment, and it can be discarded with normal shop trash.

Powder Can Be Recycled

Powder coating is a two-stage process. First, your product is sprayed with powder using an electrostatically charged powder gun. The powder adheres to the part, but must then be cured inside a powder coating oven to melt the powder so that is flows together and locks onto the part. This process creates a strong and very durable bond that lasts and helps protect the metal underneath. (You can even increase this durability with different pretreatment methods – for more information on pretreatment, take a look at our Pretreatment Primer.) But what about the powder you spray that doesn’t adhere to the part?

The excess sprayed powder can be recycled using a process called powder reclamation. This works best when only one or two primary colors are used for your products, as multiple color changes can drive up equipment costs considerably (for more information, see our powder coating gun article here). However, if you are only using spray one or two colors most of the time, then you can see significant savings by reclaiming the powder overspray that gets trapped in the filters or falls to the floor of your spray booth. (For more information on how much powder you can reclaim to increase powder transfer efficiency, click here.)

Powder Coating Already Complies With Environmental Regulations

Because powder coating is considered non-toxic, is inert and produces negligible VOCs, it already meets or exceeds many national environmental protection standards. Although your shop will need to clarify with your local authorities, powder coating is considered safer and will not require the same level of oversight and waste disposal care that wet paint operations do. Also, because powder coating media doesn’t present a spill hazard, you don’t to invest in a paint mix room or storage room.  As long as the powder coating equipment you purchase meets national safety codes, your operation will already meet or exceed national environmental regulations.

All Reliant Finishing Systems’ Equipment Is Produced To Meet Or Exceed National Codes

If you’re looking for safe and effective powder coating equipment, look no further than Reliant Finishing Systems. Our powder spray booths and powder curing ovens are designed specifically for powder coating applications and can be customized to fit your shop’s exact application. Whether you’re a finish line manager seeking a turn-key automated powder coating line, an established powder coater in the market for new equipment, or a fab shop owner wanting to get started with powder coating, Reliant can help.

Have questions? Email us or give one of our systems specialists a call today or visit our Resources page.


Dealing With Unhappy Powder Coating Customers


If your powder coating has chips, bubbles or has contamination (shown above) your customers won’t be pleased.

As a job shop owner, powder coating specialist or coating line manager, you’ve probably dealt with unhappy powder coating customers. Dissatisfied clients can have a number of complaints: some customers are sensitive to price, others may be sensitive to turn-around times or coating mil thicknesses, others may be unhappy with overall finish quality or other issues. Unfortunately, you may not know why a customer is unhappy until the very end of the project or after the order has shipped. Whether they complain face-to-face, you hear about their remarks from someone else, or you see a negative review online, a dissatisfied customer can be frustrating to you and disruptive for your business. What’s worse, if you ignore them, it’s likely that a problem customer will only get worse. Business experts agree that when it comes to dealing with mad customers, there’s only one “right” way to react: Contact them, take some kind of action to address their grievance, and most importantly, act quickly.

What angers already-irritated customers most? Being ignored or left waiting too long for a resolution to their problems. By responding to a customer’s complaints, you validate their need to be heard. Let them know your business is willing to listen. Approach your customers with genuine concern. View customer complaints as opportunities to demonstrate your shop’s commitment to customer service. A positive, friendly outlook will likely win over frustrated customers – as long as they have realistic expectations.

Reliant Finishing Systems builds and sells powder coating appliances. They deal with customers from around the world through various websites and conventional resellers. Their staff monitors digital media constantly to provide quick responses to customers who publicly voice their dissatisfaction. They also actively contact buyers within days of providing equipment so they can learn about potential problems before they get out of hand.

When dealing with their customers, powder coating shops can assure customer satisfaction by using a similar approach. Don’t use the “No News Is Good News” approach. Have an employee or third-party company proactively reach out to all of your customers to find out what they really think about their experience with your company. By documenting all of the comments–not just the good ones–you can get a better picture of what you’re doing right and where you need to improve. Some problems are truly isolated cases of miscommunication or poor performance, while others may be part of a larger issue.

One area that powder coating shops can immediately increase customer satisfaction is through improved quality control. Many of the complaints you are likely to receive will be due to a perceived lack of finish quality, whether that is poor coverage, uneven application, bubbling, or other coating issues. By adding a rigid and consistent quality control regimen to your process, you can catch many mistakes long before they reach a customer, saving you time and increasing customer satisfaction. (For more information about adding quality control to your process, check out our Introduction to Powder Coating Quality Control Testing.)

Grow Your Business With Increased Customer Satisfaction

Michael Schuerer, President of Reliant Finishing Systems, believes that attention to customer service has helped the company’s rapid growth. “It’s important to constantly listen for negative feedback and approach it rationally when you encounter it. We’ve found that it’s easy to get defensive or discount what a particular customer has to say, but that doesn’t help you grow your business or improve your brand. Sometimes you just have to pause and look at the situation with a fresh perspective. Successful companies treat their customers with respect, even when that proves challenging. Reliant wants to make sure our customers are pleased with both the equipment and the support they receive from us, so we try hard to assure that our customer service decisions are fair and thoughtful.”

Reliant recently had a frustrated customer post something negative about the company on Facebook. Within a few hours of his post, the company called to resolve the issue. That level of awareness and responsiveness can help you grow your reputation, but it takes consistent effort. It also takes patience to remember that you’re dealing with real people who can be very emotional once they’re unhappy. It may be difficult to address a customer’s complaints, but it’s worth it in the long run.

Even if your shop’s budget prevents you from hiring a PR firm or performing elaborate customer satisfaction surveys, there are three things you can do to help keep your reputation intact:

BE AWARE. Go to business expos and civic meetings that your customers attend. Listen to what’s being said. Try to interact with customers in a way that makes it easy for you to learn just how happy or unhappy they are. Set up notifications on your Facebook page and any other online outlets you use to interact with customers or sell online. Check your pages and your customers’ blogs or forum comments routinely to make sure they are happy with your company.

BE ACTIVE. Reach out to frustrated customers immediately. If nothing else, let them know you’ve received their complaint and you’re company is working to resolve it. Problems are usually much easier to work out if the customer gets a personal touch. A face-to-face meeting is better than a phone call, and a phone call is better than an email or private message.

REMAIN ENGAGED. Keep in touch with unhappy customers to resolve their issues and, when appropriate, offer compensation for their time and trouble. Sometimes a simple apology is all that is needed. At other times you may need to consider reworking bad parts or offering a discount on future orders. By staying involved with your customers, you help assure that their complaints are resolved—and that you have the opportunity to do work for them in the future.

By staying engaged with problem customers and proactively reaching out to your existing clients, you can not only help solve their issues – you can help identify areas where your company does need to get better. A company that is known for helping to solve problems, reacts positively to critique and works to actively improve their relationships is a company whose reputation will grow and whose business prospects will increase.

Beginner’s Guide To Powder Coating Equipment

powder coating applicationIf you want to powder coat but aren’t sure where to start, our Beginner’s Guide to Powder Coating Equipment is intended to help anyone learn about the business of powder coating. Whether you’re just curious about professional powder coating or ready to install your first coating line, this brief overview will give you the basic information you need to get started.

What Is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is a multi-step finishing process. In the first step, a product (usually a metal part) is cleaned and prepared for coating. Next, it is coated with a fine powder. The powder covers the part’s surface. In the final step, the part is moved into a curing oven. The product is then heated in the oven, allowing the powder to melt and flow into a uniform coating that adheres to the part. This creates a very durable and attractive coating around the product once the melted powder cools and hardens.

What Sort of Equipment Do I Need For Powder Coating?

There are three different types of powder coating equipment you must have to perform professional quality powder coating:

Pretreatment (Where Your Product Is Cleaned Prior To Powder Coating)

Application (Where The Powder Is Sprayed Onto The Product)

Curing (Where The Powder Is Cured Into A Durable Finish)

Pretreatment For Powder Coating

To achieve the best results with your powder coating process, your product needs to be clean—free of dust, debris, oil, rust, old paint or finish material. Anything left on your product prior to coating will affect the powder’s adhesion and durability. That’s where pretreatment comes in.

Pretreatment equipment is used before your product is ever powder coated and is designed to make sure that your product is as clean as possible before powder is applied. (For more information on pretreatment, start with our Pretreatment Primer.)

Operator Inside A Blast RoomIf the product you want to powder coat has a lot of debris (rust, laser scale, preexisting paint), then you will likely need a Blast Room. A blast room is an enclosure where you use compressed air to propel abrasive material against the surface of your parts. Depending on the situation, you would typically use either an appropriate blast media (grit) or steel shot to blast all the unwanted debris off your part until it has a clean metal surface that’s ready for powder coating. Blast rooms are especially useful for job shops that work with raw materials that aren’t pristine, such as plate steel or tube stock that has areas of oxidation or welding residue. (For more information on getting the right blast room, go here.)


pretreatment-for-powder-coating-with-manual-spray-wandIf oils, solvents or chemical residue covers any part of your products’ surface, you’ll want to consider a Wash Station. A wash station is where you spray your parts with a detergent and/or chemical pretreatment agent, such as iron phosphate. Using hot water or steam to clean and then chemically prep parts is quite common. A wash station helps you increase powder adhesion and improve finish quality, even if the parts have already been blasted. Some wash stations require you to apply the chemistry manually using a spray wand. Other washers are automated and the parts travel through the cleaning, rinsing and prep stages on a conveyor.

In some operations, pretreatment requires the use of a Dry-Off Oven. This is commonly an appliance similar to a curing oven, but where the just-washed parts are heated in order to evaporate any water or chemistry still on them. This step can also help parts reach an optimum temperature for powder application.

Pretreatment equipment is incredibly useful for your operation and can make a big difference in the quality of your work, but an elaborate system isn’t always required for powder coating. While we can’t stress how important it is to have a clean surface before you apply powder, expensive pretreatment equipment isn’t mandatory for entry level coating operations where hands-on cleaning (such as with a tack rag and solvent) can be employed as needed.

Application: Powder Guns and Powder Spray Booths

powder-coating-gun-and-controlsPowder coating application is almost always done with a special Powder Spray Gun. In order for powder coating to work effectively, the powder must be electrostatically charged. The only way to apply this charge is with a spray gun designed exclusively for powder coating. Compressed air moves powder through the gun from a hopper or directly from the box the powder is stored in. The compressed air blows powder out of the gun as a tightly formed cloud. As the powder leaves the gun, it receives an electrostatic charge. Once charged, the powder cloud envelopes the part and the powder sticks to the surface of the grounded part (which is one of the reasons why powder coating equipment is so easy for new operators to use).

If you want to powder coat, you need a powder coating gun. There are many types of powder spray guns available on the market. We always recommend investing in a professional-grade powder gun, as they are more reliable and provide better results.

Once you have your powder gun, you’ll need to have a place to use it. Whenever you spray powder, some of the powder will end up on the floor and in the air instead of on your products. This leftover powder is referred to as overspray. Keeping this overspray out of your workspace is one of the functions of the Powder Spray Booth.

powder-coating-application-inside-powder-spray-boothThe powder spray booth is designed to keep the rest of your shop clean while providing a well-lit area for you to apply powder coating. All powder spray booths will have one or more exhaust fans. The exhaust will use filters to capture at least some of the overspray. If the exhaust works properly and the filters are maintained, the airflow in the booth should keep the overspray inside the enclosure and enable the painter to see what he’s doing. If your shop environment includes welding or blasting areas, filtered doors on the spray booth can keep airborne contaminants out of your powder coated finish.

rack-and-powder-gun-in-powder-spray-boothNumerous booth configurations are available, and getting the ideal booth depends largely on what you’re coating, your floor space availability, and your workflow requirements. Powder spray booths can be open-faced or have doors on one end. They can also be tunnel style enclosures with the filtration built into the floor or wall(s). If you have space constraints, a Powder Spray Wall may help you get the airflow and filtration you need. A spray wall is just a large filtration system—essentially a spray booth without walls or a roof.

If you want to recycle your powder, you need to make sure your powder spray booth is built with a reclamation system. Usually this system will rely on pleated cartridge filters. These help you recover some of the overspray and reuse it. This can be very cost-effective if you are planning to use only one color and type of powder for your coating. The spent powder is trapped in the filters and then dislodged into a recovery bin for reuse. In more advanced systems, the powder is automatically reconditioned, mixed with virgin powder, and then returned to the supply hopper feeding the powder gun(s). If you are planning to reclaim a variety of colors, a set of removable filter modules is required. Unfortunately, the cost of buying multiple reclaim modules can add up quickly because you can only reclaim one color in each filter module.

No matter what type of booth you decide on, you’ll need a powder spray booth if you want to get quality results and maintain reasonable throughput from your coating operation. (For more information on what size powder spray booth you might need, click here.)

If you have stringent finish requirements, you may also need a Clean Room (also called an Environmental Room). This is usually a climate-controlled room built around the powder application area. The purpose of a clean room is to eliminate airborne contaminants and control the temperature and humidity during powder application to prevent any sort of contamination, clumping or consistency issues when applying the powder. Clean rooms are often recommended if your shop environment is particularly dirty or your products require an exact specification for adhesion or salt spray tolerance. (For more about requirements, click here.)

Curing: Powder Curing Ovens

Batch Powder Curing Oven - Doors OpenAfter your product is powder coated, the final step is to place it inside a specially designed Powder Curing Oven. They usually operate between 325° and 450° Fahrenheit. Once the oven is up to temperature, the temperature stabilizes. The coated products are exposed to precisely heated air for a set period of time. Once the curing process is complete, the parts are removed and allowed to cool before being handled.

Some ovens use infrared emitters to heat the surface of the coated parts, but these types of electric powered or gas catalytic ovens can be costly to buy and expensive to maintain. More commonly, ovens rely on electric heating elements or a natural gas or LP-fueled heat system. These more conventional ovens typically rely on heated air moving over the parts for convection curing.

The time it takes to cure the powder varies greatly depending on the size, shape and thickness of the parts being coated. A small, light-gauge bracket can take as little as ten minutes to cure completely, while a 20’ section of heavy-walled pipe may take over an hour to cure properly.

Powder Coated Parts After CuringIf you want to powder coat at a professional level, the type of oven you choose is critical.  Not only are brand-name powder curing ovens designed specifically to generate premium coating results, they are also highly efficient appliances in terms of fuel usage and energy costs. It’s likely that you’ll be using your oven several hours per week, so the cost of an inefficient design can quickly sap your profits.

Similar to powder spray booths, powder curing ovens come in multiple sizes and configurations. (For more information on what size powder coating oven you will need, click here.)

Professional Powder Coating Systems Layouts

There are two basic configurations for any powder coating line: batch or automated.

general use-powder coating equipment batch configurationA Batch Powder Coating Line is usually a system where the parts are prepared, coated and cured in batches of multiple parts, with operators handling up to dozens or hundreds of parts at a time. The products are usually hung on metal rolling racks, which move with the parts throughout the coating process. (Remember: high-temperature or metal casters for your racks are very important!) With a batch line, parts are usually moved from stage to stage manually, and the term “batch coating system” is also commonly used to describe operations where large objects are coated individually after being moved by hand or with machinery.

Automated Finishing SystemsAn Automated Powder Coating Line uses basically the same appliances as a batch system, but connects many or all of the stages via a motorized conveyor that moves the parts through at a constant rate. The products are usually loaded onto the conveyor at a set location and move through each stage, where either manual operators or automated devices clean and prep the parts and apply powder to them. Once coated, the parts move through the curing oven and then cool as they travel along the conveyor to a point where they can be unloaded.

(For more information on whether a batch coating line or an automated coating line is right for your business, follow this link to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of each system.)

Powder Coating Equipment From Reliant Finishing Systems

Hopefully this Beginner’s Guide to Powder Coating Equipment has answered your basic questions about what powder coating is, how it is done, and what you need to start your first powder coating line. If you would like to learn more, please give us a call at (888) 770-0021. Reliant Finishing Systems’ specialists can help! We’ll guide you through the process of setting up a powder coating shop or adding coating capabilities to your existing fab shop or manufacturing facility. Whether it’s your very first powder coating system or you’re upgrading to a complete automated line, you can trust Reliant to provide you with sound advice and affordable, high quality equipment.

Free On-Site Powder Coating Workshop

Spend $30,000 or more on any new powder coating equipment and receive a free powder coating workshop when you purchase before December 31st, 2016!

Learn From An Industry Expert

Our Advanced Powder Coating Workshop is taught by our resident powder expert, Bruce Chirrey (who has written a host of helpful articles on powder coating, including here, here and here). Bruce’s 25 years of experience and extensive powder coating knowledge will be at your disposal for up to 12 hours of on-site, hands-on powder coating training. Bruce will cover:

  • The Basics of Powder Coating Application
  • Understanding Powder Coating Gun Settings
  • Tips & Tricks For Better Coverage
  • Advanced Coating Techniques
  • And much more!


Hurry! This offer is only valid until December 31st, 2016 and is valid on ANY* purchase of $30,000 or more on new capital equipment.

*Advanced Workshop offer available in the contiguous US. Not available with any other offer.

Powder coating machine installation and services