When you finish manufacturing an aluminum product, the final step is applying a protective coating for durability and appeal after repeated wear. Several coating options are available, but the most popular choices are powder coating and anodizing.
Understanding the difference between powder coating and anodizing is essential for selecting the best option for your product. Weighing the advantages of each process against your preferences and your intended application’s requirements determines which coating will be the most effective.
Powder Coat Finishes
Powder coating is a process where positively charged powder is electrostatically applied to a grounded object, then heated to melt and flow. This method creates a smooth, tough layer called an organic finish. The resulting powder coat is durable, corrosion-resistant, and resistant to ultraviolet (UV) light. You can use it on almost anything you can ground, including metals, wood, plastic, glass, composites and medium-density fiberboard (MDF).
The longevity and durability of your finished powder coat depend on the environment it’s exposed to, and the preparation and application process. Turn to powder coating professionals who have a thorough pre-treatment plan in place like our eight-step pre-treatment process.
Powder coating is environmentally friendly, producing almost no waste or hazardous materials. We can collect any powder that doesn’t stick to the object and reuse it, and we do not use solvents or toxic materials.
Anodizing is an inorganic, electrochemical process that creates a protective coating of aluminum oxide over a finished aluminum surface. Aluminum oxide is a hard, durable, weather-resistant coating that resists damage from UV exposure. This transparent coating lasts without peeling or flaking off.
The anodized coating’s longevity and durability are directly proportional to the aluminum oxide finish’s thickness.
Anodizing aluminum products is generally considered less environmentally friendly because it produces some hazardous byproducts. However, anodizing does not emit any problematic solvents or heavy metal contaminants.
Choosing the Best Finish
The best finish for your aluminum product depends on the requirements of your intended application. Powder coating and anodizing both produce durable, corrosion-resistant protective layers that make your product look great.
Powder coating often offers a wider variety of color options. It hides imperfections in the base material, while anodizing provides a rich, metallic finish. In most cases, anodizing is more expensive than powder coating. Still, anodizing is a good option for coating aluminum in a high-traffic environment, or projects with smaller batches.