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Dry coatings make a case for larger role in your shop, industry

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - 07:00
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If you've spent much time at car shows, at some point your gaze probably locked on a painted wheel or engine part. Muscular and colorful, tough and functional all at the same time, the finishes produced by powder coatings are truly remarkable, even in an industry where shops churn out dramatic paint jobs as part of their regular duties. They also offer several significant advantages over liquid coatings. They're environmentally safe since they're solvent free and thus produce no VOCs. They provide significantly better transfer efficiency and are extremely durable when correctly applied.

(photo courtesy of European Coatings) Powder coatings are solvent free and require a combination of magnetism and heat to be applied.

So why aren't powders part of your business?

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Odds are lack of demand plays the largest part. Powder coatings still lag in use behind liquid finishes since they aren't appropriate for most traditional bodywork (more on this later). Also, offering custom work isn't for every shop. But there still are plenty of reasons for you to familiarize yourself with this technology.

For one, auto manufacturers have increased their use of powder coatings. Eventually this could translate into aftermarket possibilities, so you'll want to be prepared. Powders also are popular with younger car enthusiasts who might be drawn to collision repairs. Considering the relatively limited labor pool the industry is struggling with, any path  that might draw in new blood is worth looking into.

Finally, powder coatings are a revenue building opportunity, even if a limited one for most shops. These finishes currently are popular with the DIY crowd because they're fairly inexpensive to apply--a typical investment would include a special baking oven and electrostatic gun. These purchases are well within the means of most shops who also can offer something most DIYers can't--professional experience and training. Hot rod and classic car enthusiasts (along with other customization fans) have proven willing to spend more on their hobby if they get a great value in return. That's exactly what your shop and these finishes can supply.

Here's what you need to know about powder coatings.

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