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HISTORY OF POWDER COATING

 

The history of powder coating begins in the late 1940s and early 1950s, at a time in which organic polymers were still being spray coated in a powder form onto metallic bases. Dr. Erwin Gemmer, a German scientist, then developed the fluidized-bed process for the processing of thermosetting powder coatings and registered an appropriate process patent in May 1953. Between 1958 and 1965, literally all powder coatings, generally only functional applications with a film thickness of 150 Ám to 500 Ám, were processed by means of fluidized-bed application. Electric insulation, corrosion and abrasion resistance were in the foreground. The coating materials in those days were comprised of nylon 11, CAB, polyethylene, plasticized PVC, polyester and chlorinated polyether, among others, and at the same time, thermosetting epoxides, e.g. for dishwasher baskets (PVC), for heat insulation (epoxide), for boat accessories (nylon) and metal furniture (PVC, CAB).3 It was the Bosch company that developed the basic type of epoxy resin powder in their search for a suitable electric insulation material.

The much to high film thicknesses for the numerous other applications, and the technology of electrostatic processing of powder coating, which was developed soon thereafter in the U.S.A., and commercialized between 1962 and 1964 in the U.S.A. and Europe, did overshadowed the fluidized-bed process. With the spray-guns made by the Sames company for electrostatic application (which gave rise to the term "Samesizing"), this hurdle was also overcome. Between 1966 and 1973 the four basic types of thermosetting resins, which are still utilized today, were developed and commercially distributed. They are epoxy, epoxy polyester hybrid, polyurethane and polyester (TGIC). The number of powder coating plants in Germany alone rose from four in 1966 to 51 in 1970. From the early 1970s, powder coating then began its march of triumph worldwide, although the growth of the powder coating market until 1980 was modest. Powder application systems until that time were expensive, the film thicknesses too high for commercial use, color change problems and high curing temperatures greatly limited the color range, effect and substrate diversity.

Since the early 1980s, powder coatings have developed worldwide through continuous growth. This has been driven forward by continuous innovations pertaining to the available materials, improved formulating know-how, advances in application technology, plus the development of new applications (e.g. MDF and coil coating). Although restrictive environmental-protection regulations continue to rise, there will be constant growth in this market for decades to come.