Some inexperienced metal fabricators may only think about the surface finish that they want once they have completed designing their product. This approach can cause avoidable problems during surface finishing because the design may not have been optimised for that finish. This article discusses how powder-coating can affect the design process.
Effect on Component Dimensions
The powder-coating booth has fixed dimensions. The product design should therefore have these dimensions in mind so that the finished components will easily fit into that booth without being angled. For instance, you can design the product to have small parts that can be assembled once the powder-coating process has been completed. This will be much better than trying to force a large product into a powder-coating booth to the extent that powder coverage may be affected by the limited space around the parts that are being powder-coated.
Impact on Tolerances
It also helps to know the surface finish as you design the part so that you incorporate that surface finish into the design of the parts. For example, you may be designing custom parts for your vintage car. The powder-coat may make the walls of the parts so thick that they will not fit as you install them into the car. Awareness that powder coating will be used helps you to design a part whose components leave ample room for the powder-coat to fill the remaining part of the material's thickness so that the part fits perfectly upon installation.
The design process also involves selecting materials that will not present any problems during surface finishing. For instance, some metals, such as ductile aluminium, can become brittle during the powder-coating process. Other metals may be chemically incompatible with the chemicals that are used to clean surfaces before powder-coating begins. It is therefore very important to keep powder-coating in mind as you design your products. This awareness will help you to select a material that will easily be powder-coated without creating other post-coating processes to fix the problems that arise as the material is powder-coated.
As you can see, it is always helpful to plan the entire fabrication process before you design any component. This holistic approach will help you to come up with a design that will be favourable to the different metal fabrication processes to which that material will be subjected. Consult experienced fabricators in case you are not sure how a given design aspect of your product will affect a subsequent fabrication process.