Before you can powder coat a part, you need to make sure the surface is completely prepared. This might mean you need to go through processes such as chemical stripping, degreasing or sandblasting, all of which ensure a completely clean surface free of additional finishes that could make it difficult to complete the powder coating process.
Of these three preparation processes, sandblasting is perhaps the most common. Most powder coating services offer sandblasting services as well, which provides some extra value for their clients. Your welder in Umatilla County, OR may even be able to offer this service.
Sandblasting refers to the act of propelling very small, fine bits of abrasive materials at high velocity to etch or clean a surface. This abrasive material comes in fast to remove oil, dust, paint and dirt, preparing the surface to be painted, sealed or powder coated. It can also be used simply to refurbish the original appearance of the surface of the item in question.
Some of the primary benefits of sandblasting include:
- It is significantly easier than using a wire brush or chemicals to clean the parts.
- It is more environmentally friendly than using chemicals, which can be extremely corrosive and potentially dangerous if not disposed of or washed away properly.
- It can be used to remove rust buildup, dirt, debris, paint, old finish and just about anything else you want to get off the surface of the sandblasted material.
- The added roughness thanks to the abrasive material makes it easier for the brand new powder coating to get a better grip on the material that is to be coated.
As its name suggests, sand is the most common abrasive material used during the sandblasting process, but it is not the only option available. Some other types of commonly used materials include steel grit, copper slag, walnut shells, coconut shells and powdered abrasives. Each of these types of abrasives has their own unique properties, advantages and disadvantages, but you’ll find most of them used in just about any facility that performs sandblasting.
It’s important to remember that the idea here is to get rid of as much debris as possible. It might feel strange to use a process that involves shooting abrasive materials at a part when you’re trying to get it fully clean—the last thing you want is to trap dust, dirt or even air bubbles underneath the new layers of paint and coating you’re going to be adding to the part. But by launching these abrasive materials at the surface at high speeds, the imperfections get knocked loose and the part can then be easily washed to create a nice, smooth surface that will allow you to complete the powder coating process without any noticeable imperfections being trapped in place.
If you’re looking for more information about the sandblasting process and the abrasive material options that are available to you, we encourage you to contact a welder in Umatilla County, OR at NW Metal Fabricators Inc. with your questions.
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