Powder coating is an essential industrial process that entails the application of solvent-free paint on a surface such as MDF. The powder, which is mixed with binders, is applied on the surface of the MDF and then the board is baked at high temperatures to cure the paint. The cooling process that follows leaves a seamless finish, making MDF ideal for most commercial and residential projects. Powder coating is eco-friendly compared to other methods that use conventional liquid paint, which contains hazardous water and air pollutants that affect the ecosystem. In addition, the reason why MDF does not easily scratch, stain or chip is because of the durability provided by the powder coating process. Here are some useful tips that DIYers should know about powder coating MDF.
Use a Catalytic Oven
Many people prefer stationary batch ovens for the powder coating of their MDF. However, for a thorough curing process, it is recommended that a catalytic oven be used so that the boards can pass through various heating zones with varying temperatures. The heat attracts the MDF moisture to the surface, enabling it to conduct electricity. This type of oven allows the powder to be cured effectively throughout the MDF, more so on the edges. In the catalytic oven, the line carrying the MDF should move at a steady speed if quality MDF is desirable.
Applying the Powder Coating
After the MDF has been preheated to improve its electrostatic attraction, you should use an automatic spray gun to apply the coating to the MDF. This sprayer produces a negative electrostatic charge that draws all the particles of the powder to the surface of the board. For a consistent finish, ensure that you pass the board through the heating zones one last time.
Thermal Cure or UV-Cured Powders?
Two types of coating powder exist: thermal and ultraviolet (UV)-cured powders. The former refers to the powder applied to an MDF that has already passed through the preheating phase. Thermal energy heats and melts the powder particles, producing a thin film when fully cured. On the other hand, the UV-cured powders or thermostat is the kind that is produced in an infrared oven where the process of melting and coating are separated. The process also requires less heat than the thermal cure process. In the UV-cured process, ensure that you allow at least 5 minutes for the coating to melt, at which point you should subject the MDF to UV rays to harden and cure it before the cooling process.