We have some frames at our powder coaters, its a chance to test the system and work through issues with production. Its a good start to the new year, we want our bicycles to last, to be handed down the generations...we want them to look good for a long time...which is why we wanted the best covering that money can buy. Not just a good thick layer of luscious powder coat but a good covering, inside and out, of an electro-deposited undercoat.
So what's the difference....and why do both..?
E-COATING VS POWDER COATING
Among the vast array of industrial metal finishing options are two comparable processes known as electro-phoretic deposition (colloquially known as electro-coating or e-coating) and powder coating. These two processes are similar, as they both involve the application of a coating to a substrate for purposes such as enhancing corrosion protection, increasing wear resistance and promoting adhesion.
E-coating is more similar to electroplating than powder coating. With e-coating, the substrate is immersed in a bath that may consist of paint, epoxy or other water-based solution. An electric current is then used to attract the particles that are suspended in the liquid solution and deposit them onto the surface of the substrate. The electro-deposition continues until the desired level of coating thickness is achieved, which can be regulated by increasing or decreasing the voltage level. The coated substrate is then cured in an oven to promote cross-linking.
While e-coating is considered to be a “wet” process, powder coating involves the application of a dry powder consisting of a precise combination of epoxy resins and various curing agents. A spray gun is used to electro-statically apply the particles onto the surface of the substrate. The fact that the particles are electrically charged is what causes them to adhere to the surface. Curing is also used as the finishing step in the powder coating process. Curing causes the particles to melt and also serves as the catalyst for a chemical reaction that produces the desired finish.
WHEN DOES E-COATING MAKE THE MOST SENSE?
Because of the e-coating’s application, it is typically the better option when coating parts that contain hard-to-reach areas. That’s because the immersion of an object into a liquid promotes a more even and thorough distribution of the coating than can normally be achieved with a spray gun. The powder coating application process also tends to produce a thicker coating.
In contrast, the e-coating process provides greater ease of regulation of the thickness level — it’s much easier to produce a thinner coating with e-coating than with powder coating. These two advantages are particularly important in the auto industry, where an e-coating is typically applied as a primer coat prior to painting for increased corrosion protection.
Why do both?
there is a cost implication...which is a big consideration when trying to built a bike that will be as affordable to as many people as possible; but if your spending a fair chunk of money, then a little bit more to keep it looking good and rust free is a good investment.
We have thought this over long and hard, Rodford Built is a solid proposition, our bikes will give good service and your workhorse of a bike should maintain its good looks for many years, this will help resale and ultimately will be a boon. We could make the bike cheaper...we want it to be as affordable as we can, but some things are worth paying for. We think all bikes should be being E-coated, prior to being powder coated.
The process typically involves a number of stages including a cleaning stage followed by a phosphate conversion coating which enhances the corrosion resistance of the metal and also provides an improved base for the subsequent coating. After the metal is properly prepared the electro-painting process can take place. This is then followed by oven curing.
The complete process stages are as follows:
Zinc phosphate pre-treatment
De-mineralised water rinse
3 stage ultra-filtration rinse
A lot of work for a Frame that will last you many years.