May '21

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Powder Power BENEFITS OF POWDER-COATED SUBLIMATION BASES B Y R I C H A R D D E T T M A N 7 0 G R A P H I C S P R O M A Y 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S ublimation printing technol- ogy has advanced by leaps and bounds in the past few years, be- coming one of the fastest grow- ing options in the decoration field. Most recently, powder-coated sublimation has become a growing technology in the deco- ration field due to some inherent physical advantages of powder-coated bases over liquid paints. Powder coatings and liquid coatings have been battling in countless decora- tive fields for decades. Currently, powder coated sublimation is regarded as one of the most unique innovations seen in the field during the past couple of decades. As a solid deposition technology, pow- der coating enables the creation of very thick textures with high impact and scratch resistance. Added to this, powder coatings are able to be manufactured with solid particles and additives that offer ex- treme UV resistance along with surfaces with anti-graffiti, anti-microbial, and an- ti-skid characteristics. For many years, photographers, design- ers, architects, and printers have used met- al prints to showcase photos, artwork, and digital images. Now that there are two strong options in the market, professionals in every area of sublimation are bene- fiting from these new options. THE RIGHT CHOICE Naturally, this begs the ques- tion: Which technology is bet- ter for sublimation? The an- swer is not simple. Both tech- nologies have advantages and disadvantages; the key to success is in the selection of the right technology for each particular application. Liquid coatings can be easier to apply, as they do not require heat to cure, can be applied on site after installation, and offer smooth, glossy finishes because they are sprayed on in a liquid form. On the other hand, powder coatings are more resistant to impact and scratching, and are more f lexible, making them better for post- forming applications. Powder coatings are also more resistant to chipping and wear because they can be applied in much thicker layers. In addition to their physi- cal toughness, powder coatings provide excellent color retention and are volatile organic compound (VOC)-free, which makes them a more environmentally friendly option. Images sublimated on powder coatings can resist outdoor ex- posure for up to five years, de- pending on the type of powder. Resistance to weather, corrosion, and chemicals makes powder coating a more durable finish than common liquid coatings for sublimation. Powder coatings are resistant to crack- ing, peeling, chipping, abrasion, rust, and damage due to chemical exposure. They are recognized for being highly durable and retaining their color and gloss well. That is why sublimatable powder coat- ings have become popular for architectur- al, industrial, and OEM decorative appli- cations since the early '90s. Powder-coated sublimation panels are available in many finishes like smooth glossy and smooth matte, and many var- ious types of textures, and even with spe- cial additives, like glow in the dark, an- ti-microbial, anti-graffiti, and anti-skid. A W A R D S & C U S T O M I Z AT I O N Above: In addi- tion to their physi- cal toughness, powder coatings provide excellent color retention and are volatile or- ganic compound (VOC)-free. (All images courtesy Richard Dettman)

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