Nick’s Niche: Designing products that are paintable
I have visited many facilities over the years. During these visits, I occasionally see products that are difficult, if not impossible, to coat to the expected visual or performance standards. This situation is most typically caused by designers and engineers who design products that may be both functional and pretty to look at, but are impossible to paint. This situation is created simply because these people have no direct experience in painting systems/techniques, or more importantly, the limitations of these processes. They would never design products that couldn’t be stamped, formed, welded, machined, or otherwise fabricated or assembled. However, the same eye towards manufacturability of designs is rarely applied to designing for coat-ability of a product. This article will provide some simple guidelines to designers/engineers to help them overcome this oversight in their education or experience.
Before we can address product design, let’s examine the limitations of paint systems. Generally, paint systems (liquid or powder) come in two styles: spray or immersion. Each of these has distinct limitations.