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How to Avoid Common Powder Coating Mistakes

Posted by Brittany Beckmann on October 6, 2016

Powder coating medical carts can be a delicate matter. It requires precision, a keen eye and thoroughly maintained processes to ensure that nothing mars the finish. HUI powder coats its custom medical carts in-house and follows a strict set of guidelines to combat and avoid common powder coating mistakes.

Regular Treatments

Following through with weekly preventative maintenance practices, especially specific cleaning methods, go a long way as far as avoiding mistakes and painting flaws. From a daily standpoint, an appointed person physically writes the powder colors on deck for that day in a place where everyone can see it so paint technicians can cross-reference that with the interactive scheduling program.

Best Powder Coat Application Practices

Excellent powder coating methods require exact setup, communication and controlled, competent workmanship. The application process starts before anything gets painted.

1. Gun Set-Up

Painters must always check their paint guns before painting. Laminated set-up sheets are kept on both paint booths at all times to assist anyone in need of help. Painters check for worn parts and change them immediately to make sure nothing hinders how powder flows from the gun. If a gun tip happens to fall on the floor, it gets blown off with an air hose and wiped clean with water before reuse.

2. Communication

As with most jobs, communication is essential for avoiding most powder coating mistakes. When painting with a partner, it’s crucial for both parties to discuss methods and strategies they can use together to produce an error-free finish. Generally, when HUI paints medical carts, only one person paints because assembly can be a complex affair that requires more people. For this reason, and so many others, cross-training paintline technicians allows for more flexibility and makes maintaining a steady work pace much easier.

3. Plan of Attack

During this step, the painter will ask him or herself a series of questions before starting. The list of questions include:

  • Is my gun set-up correctly?
  • Do I know what I’m painting and what my partner is painting?
  • Which section of this part is the most difficult to paint?
  • Are there any seams, corners, bends, recesses and so on?

4. Gun Speed

Gun speed can be a difficult concept to understand, especially for new painters. Paint too fast, and the powder won’t stick. Paint too slow, and you’ll fall behind. It’s something that needs to be felt. The general rule, which will vary, dictates that a painter shouldn’t move his or her gun much more than 24 to 30 inches within the time it takes to say “one-one thousand.” After you get the hang of it, painting should be a relaxed practice.

5. Gun Distance

Similar to speed, gun distance can be difficult to grasp at first. General distance rule dictates that the gun should maintain a distance of six to eight inches from a flat surface and three to eight inches away from a seam or recess. The latter depends on how difficult it is to reach the recessed area and is up to the painter’s discretion.

However, if the painter does need to paint at a closer distance, this means that the gun speed must also increase to avoid painting too heavily in that area.

If the gun is too close to the surface, it may result in a variety of flaws: paint streaks, runs or sags, peeling or uneven film thickness.

Additional Tips

Unless there’s a special coating or finishing requirement, you’ll get much more consistent results when everyone uses the same type of gun tip.

A designated person dedicates his or her entire work day to the powder room to ensure the highest paint quality and is responsible for enforcing regular treatments and best power coat applications. The powder person also manages the color changes and looks over painted parts for quality.

At HUI, we uphold high standards for our powder coat processes to ensure that your custom medical cart’s finish meets your expectations.

If you have any questions regarding our powder paint coating and finishing processes or you’re looking to start a custom medical cart project, please contact us today!

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Topics: Powder Coating, Quality

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