A process of powder coating plastic at production volumes of 9 million square feet a month
An outsider to the industry takes powder coating plastic, once an oddity, and develops and patents a process to cost-effectively powder coat plastic at production capacity of millions of square feet per month. This article traces the development of the process and demonstrates how it offers improved coatings performance and cost-savings compared with other methods and materials for finishing plastic.
After selling the largest physical vapor deposition (PVD) operation in North America, Robert Langlois needed something to occupy his time. Early retirement, a hobby, or extra rounds on the golf course weren't options. Instead, Langlois accomplished something that the powder coating industry has been trying to do for more than two decades—powder coat plastic. He attributes his success from not being fettered by preconceived notions about the process and the materials. "The powder guys look at it from the powder side of it—how to get the powder to be attracted to the material," Langlois said. "Then you have the resin guys trying to get the resin to be conductive so the powder could be attracted to the plastic. I looked at it from an overall picture. I wasn't locked into any particular technology because the powder guys can only do powder and the resin guys can only do resin. I looked at the whole picture and developed a process that looked at the total process rather than a component."