When it comes to working with different metals in all types of environments, it’s important to protect your investment – that includes knowing which coating is best – paint or powder coating. And while each has its advantages and disadvantages the high-quality finish that powder coating provides is hard to argue with.
What is powder coating?
The powder coating industry has been around for decades. It’s a process in metal fabrication that extends the longevity, and protects metals from corrosion – making them more durable and an eco-friendly alternative to standard paint.
Powder coating involves a dry powder paint rather than a wet one. It is applied using a gun; as the powder is released from the gun provides an electrostatic charge which makes the powder stick to the metal parts.
Our expert team adopts a thorough three-step washing process that gets rid of the impurities that extend the durability of the coating before applying the powder coat. It is then sprayed onto industrial metals such as aluminium, mild steel, galvanised steel and stainless steel using an electrical charge and then solidified with heat of over 200 degrees.
At our Western Sydney factory facility, we have an onsite powder-coating line. Our line is over 20 metres in length, meaning we can hang multiple units and run at a given powder production getting efficiency out of the line. Our facility and combined extensive experience in metal fabrication for the form work and construction industry, such as Melbourne Metro tunnel, Sydney Metro Tunnel, North Connex and Westconnex, made Alliance Metal Solutions the perfect customer partner for John Holland Builders for the West Connex Sydney project between 2016 and 2019.
The twin underground tunnels that span 5.5km are one of Australia’s largest road infrastructure projects. AMS worked alongside John Holland from the initial stages of Solid works 3D Design (Development) to laser cutting metal components, CNC bending, tube laser, rolling, MIG welding, powder coating and the completion of major assemblies to ensure a safer, more reliable journey through Sydney for motorists.
The project created more than 4,000 direct and indirect jobs including AMS qualified and certified boilermakers.
Why powder coating over other coatings?
Dulux and Interpon powder coatings are of the highest quality and they have an extensive selection, and so are our preferred brands. And, at an average price in Australia costing between $25-40 per kilogram, but up to $100, it’s a great alternative to standard paint that can often result in an insubordinate finish that is prone to dripping.
Whilst the cost of standard paint is generally cheaper, the finish is compromised and can be quite laborious. Powder coat is twice as thick as standard paint and the flexibility of powder coating can last up to 40 years, with minimal upkeep making it a greater weather-resistant coating than paint. The length of the tunnels and surface roads vs the amount of traffic that West Connex handles on a daily basis means the infrastructure required a coating with minimal upkeep.
Powder coating, when applied by our specialist team, can help prevent
- Metals from rust
- Resists chipping
- Damage from impact
- Fading, and other common wear and tear issues
all while elevating the overall aesthetic.
The versatility of powder coating means it can be applied to endless products. It’s commonly used in construction, healthcare, household products, outdoor metals and Architecture (just to name a few). Powder coating was the obvious solution for West Connex Sydney due to environmental factors, such as being underground.
Liquid paint is great when applied to surfaces horizontally or vertically to achieve the best-balanced finish; the beauty of a powder coat is that the powder is able to cover “hard-to-reach” spaces, such as industrial parts – with a perfect finish.
Why powder coating over other coatings?
Paint produces fumes and releases harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) into the air as they dry. Further, it’s made from chemical solvents that can end up in water drains damaging our environment. Powder coating reduces carbon emissions as it releases next to no VOCs. As the West Connex tunnels are underground with minimal ventilation, it was important to use a coating that doesn’t produce fumes.
Another benefit of powder coating is that the powders can be reused. Overspray can be returned and recirculated through the system, reducing the total amount of waste created.
The West Connex M4 tunnels were recently recognised by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia with a “leading” rating. Contributions made by AMS to achieve this environmental performance included metal structures for concrete dive structures, multiple substations, vent facilities and shafts. Fabrication of self-climbing screen systems, and self-climbing core systems.
At AMS we pride ourselves on our commitment to the environment and we receive reports from Sydney Water and environmental bodies about waste minimisation and that no harm is going into our water drains and systems.
What are the disadvantages?
Powder coating requires an oven, spray gun and booth making the startup costs higher than that of wet paint. The metal part has to be grounded and it must be painted electrostatically before the required baking process. With the right machinery and equipment, means that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Our Western Sydney facility includes an onsite powder-coating line that can help you to get your powder-coating project underway, and our experienced staff guarantee a phenomenal result with a fast turnaround time.