MDF Powder Coating – Single Coat Technology Advances

The technology for MDF Powder Coating has been around for quite some time now. A number of companies around the world have been successful in creating MDF powder coating lines that can produce a quality finish and ensure repeat-ability. Heraeus Vulcan has been the leader in creating the oven curing technology in this field and has at least 6 large capacity oven systems installed worldwide. Such MDF powder coating systems require a primer and top coat. The aim of the primer being to seal the cut edges to create an edge that does not crack or split during the curing process. This problem has been exacerbated by variations in the quality of MDF used and its moisture content.  MDF Powder Coating Case Studies

MDF Powder Coating samples

MDF Powder Coating samples

What perhaps is little known is the nature of the finish that is being produced. Generally, the finish is textured to a lesser or greater degree.  This finish is generally very good, and can be used on a wide range of products, however,  when placed in a high humidity atmosphere, the problem of edge cracking becomes all too real.
Although MDF powder coating using textured finishes has its uses, it has not able to compete with a product that has been liquid coated. Such products have can have a uniform smooth finish, with varying levels of gloss. However, the disadvantages of liquid coating over powder relate to environmental, production cost and performance which can be summarized as follows:

  • A powder coated finish is significantly tougher than a liquid finish.
  • Over spray losses for liquid finishes can be as much as 75%.
  • Around 80% of liquid finishes used in the USA are solvent based and present environmental issues.
  • Even aqueous based finishes still contain some solvents contained within the resin structure
  • The storage and transportation of liquid finishes requires the use of IBC’s (Intermediate Bulk Containers). These require special handling and storage techniques.
  • In order to create a smooth finish, cut edges require one or two primer coats, smooth surfaces require at least one primer coat, before the final top coat is applied.
  • The extra part handling operations that are involved during the finishing process simply add cost to the finished part.
  • Liquid finishes still suffer from the problem of edge cracking in a high humidity atmosphere which makes them unsuitable for bathroom furniture.

One Coat MDF Powder Coating  – Heraeus Vulcan Leads the Way

The ‘holy grail’ in MDF powder coating and finishing is for a single coat, low temperature cure, smooth powder finish system, which will pass the any high humidity industry standard test irrespective of the quality and moisture content of the MDF substrate. Heraeus Vulcan have been instrumental in developing such a production system and high humidity testing thus far has proven to be outstanding. The end result is a system which  will open new market possibilities and enables those involved in MDF Powder coating  to  significantly reduce  production costs:

  • Over spray losses significantly reduced and waste powder can be collected and recycled.
  • Powder can be easily and more cheaply transported and handled in boxes.
  • Storage conditions less critical.
  • Easier handling on shop floor.
  • One coat system means part handling and labor costs can be reduced by up to 75%.
High Capacity MDF Powder Coating Oven

High Capacity MDF Powder Coating Oven

Vulcan Catalytic Systems (now Heraeus Vulcan) has spent more than eight years working with industry leaders in this field to develop a one coat MDF powder coating system that  industry is demanding. This research and development carried out by Heraeus Vulcan, shows our commitment and worldwide leadership in developing oven curing systems  for this and many other applications. If you have a potential powder coating application and need advice, then please contact us.

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