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DSM in Paint & Coatings

Case study:

Ten times faster with powder coatings

When high-end kitchen cabinet manufacturer, Kempa, recently decided to go with DSM’s Uralac® Ultra-based powder coatings, company owner Paul Maeyninckx expected faster processing. But was happily shocked when his team achieved a ten-fold reduction. “Obviously, it depends on the type of substrate and the number of layers,” says Maeyninckx. “But it is possible to use just three minutes of oven time with powder, rather than the half an hour with paint.”

Why now?

Powder coating has been available already for several years, so why did Kempa wait until now before adopting the technology? “Our customers are specialist kitchen builders, and for several years they have occasionally asked if we did powder coatings,” says Filip Laureyssen, Kempa’s Customer Care Manager. “But in the last three years there seems to have been a sudden increase of interest, so naturally we decided to look into the possibilities. We also believed that the technology had reached the level of sophistication where we wanted to use it.”

That sudden increase of interest in powder coating was almost certainly caused by the growing awareness of the benefits of powder coatings. The kitchen building community was hearing more and more about the time and cost savings over liquid paints, but also about the higher durability advantages. Powder coatings are more scratch-resistant, more humidity-resistant, and offer good chemical resistance, while at the same time providing excellent surface appearance with a range of gloss levels. 

“We also found that architects were particularly interested in the product’s very low carbon footprint, says Laureyssen. “This characteristic helps architects achieve more ‘green’ credentials in their proposed tenders for local and national government new builds.” 

Why so fast?

“Powder coatings are faster to process than liquid paint because there is no priming and less sanding involved,” says Maeyninckx. “There’s also reduced curing time. So you can see why it is ten times faster – especially for single-coat processing. But make no mistake, this increased speed does not impact at all on quality.”

Quality is king

Every one of Kempa’s products is a unique high-end commission. So the company cannot afford to deliver anything less than top-quality product. However, it is always looking for techniques and technology to reduce costs for its customers. “For structured finishing, we’ve found that powder coating is just as good as – if not better than – liquid paint. It is certainly much more durable, as our own scratch and water-absorption tests have proven. In addition, powder coating results in a much better finish for complex shapes and difficult geometries – that’s because the substrate is electrostatically charged during coating and every square millimetre of the kitchen cabinet door actively attracts the powder until pre-defined thickness is achieved.”

Trials started in 2014 – glitches solved in six months

“It has been up and running now for 18 months, and we are very satisfied,” says Laureyssen. “More importantly, our customers are also very happy. There were a few glitches to start with. Initially outgassing from the substrate produced an uneven finish so we had to find ways of matching the humidity of the raw product and the curing booths. We had to...

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Filip Laureyssen, Kempa's Customer Relations Manager, talks about the current status of powder coatings

“We also believed that powder coating technology had reached the level of sophistication where we wanted to use it.” 

Filip Laureyssen
Kempa's Customer Relations Manager

Paul Maeyninckx talks about the benefits of powder coatings

“It is possible to use just three minutes of oven time with powder, rather than the half an hour with paint.” 

Paul Maeyninckx
Company owner