Heavy equipment manufacturers and the tier suppliers that support them often have solid coating specifications, so when choosing the right coating, quality and specification compliance should be provided. The difference between a correct coating and an almost correct coating is its ability to improve the bottom line, reduce overall cost, and meet performance requirements without over-engineering the solution.
Not all coatings are the same. Some can withstand very high temperatures, while others are more UV resistant. Differentiation is always cost if the performance characteristics and physical properties of two products match, but decisions based on price per pound or price per gallon are not really a cost-saving formula. Purchasing decisions are best made after identifying key performance and process criteria and understanding the actual application cost (price per square foot).
Coating application is often cited as a potential way to save money, however, recognizing the opportunities within this area is critical to efficient operations.
Transfer efficiency (the percentage of coating that adheres to the substrate as a percentage of the amount of material applied to the substrate) is the single most important factor in enabling a cost-effective coating process for both large and small finishers. There are many factors that reduce the transfer efficiency of powder coatings, such as poor part grounding, incorrect equipment setup, airborne contaminants or simply using too much recycled powder without adding the proper proportions of virgin material. Coating efficiency (expressed as a percentage) can drop significantly (to 50% or less in some cases), and when it comes to discarding excess and unusable powder, that's money.
In liquid coating applications, transfer efficiency and overall finish quality can be improved through newer technologies such as higher solids coatings. They contain higher volumes of solids and therefore have the advantage of less coating, better corrosion resistance and better edge retention. Another advantage is the reduction of volatile organic compounds. For plastic and composite substrates (such as carbon fiber), the primer can actually be injected into the molding, increasing the adhesion of the topcoat, while also eliminating entire steps in the process.