Powder coatings: “Low-bake systems are now being used for fast curing”

Powder coatings have many advantages, especially if you look for environmental benefits. However, there is room for Improvements. We spoke with experts how one of those, the baking temperature, can be reduced and other trends for powder coatings.

Powder coatings aplication
Powder coatings are commonly used in many applications areas that can be heated to relatively high temperatures. Lower backing temperatures could open u new market segments. Source: Kadmy - adobe.stock.com

Lowering the baking temperature is technically posible, as Paul Gneupel and Christoph Schumacher from Kabe Farben explain. However, they argue that “lowering the baking temperature of powder coatings must enable significant advantages regarding to their economical and/or ecological values for successful commercialisation and market expansion.“

“For the past years, we’ve already been seeing a reduction from the standard curing temperatures of 180-200°C to more like 150-160°C”, says Marten Houweling, from DSM Coatings resins and adds: “We’re also seeing that low-bake systems are now being used for fast curing and achieving the same coating properties. This allows coating applicators to double their line outputs by shortening the curing time from 10 to 5 minutes. “He also adds that even temperatures of 130°C are currently possible for standard polyester resins.

Slowly gaining ground

However, the technical availability is only one side of the medal, as Paul Gneupel and Christof Schumacher explain. “For example, the challenges can be seen exemplarily in architectural applications. Despite the increasing availability of certified lower temperature curing powders and the high potential value of a few ten degrees of baking temperature reduction, this technology is only slowly gaining ground in the market.”

Of course, not only the curing temperature is a trend in the powder coatings industry. As Marten Houweling already explained, curing speed is also a demand in the market. He also sees more requests for improved outdoor stability in combination with flexibility.

Digital optimisation

The experts from Kabe also see “a broader individuality of products and increased output, enabled by digital optimisation at the end user, will also require powder coatings manufacturers to customise coatings more swiftly, in smaller quantities and on time.”

Both sites, the coatings manufacturers from Kabe as well as the raw material supplier DSM name sustainability as general trend that is getting more important.

This article is a summary of an expert interview from the December issue of the European Coatings Journal. You can find the full interview in our online library.

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