Powder Coatings Do Heavy Lifting in Fitness Industry

How PPG High Performance Industrial Coatings Protect Sports and Fitness Equipment

December 2022

Blog tag icon INNOVATION
Blog tag icon PERFORMANCE

Athletes are tough, so the equipment they use to train must be rugged, long-lasting and safe. Did you ever wonder about the protective coatings that keep them in peak operating performance and protected from sweat, corrosion, chipping and scratching?

Fitness equipment coated with PPG industrial coatings

High performance industrial coatings play a significant role in keeping equipment users safe and protecting the investment in the equipment itself.

With increasing frequency, sports and fitness manufacturers are moving towards powder coatings due to numerous advantages, including a smooth finish with a wide range of colors, glosses, textures and special effects that allow for greater design flexibility.

While heightened aesthetics are an advantage, powder also boosts durability with excellent resistance to oxidation, chipping, scratches and impacts.

Newer powder innovations are bringing additional value with excellent one-coat coverage of sharp edges, high transfer efficiency formulations that deliver uniform and even coverage in one coat, and solutions that protect the surface from damage caused by bacteria and microbes*.

Exceptional Corrosion Protection on Sharp Edges

The next time that you visit a gym or fitness facility, take a close look at the equipment and notice the angles, sharp edges, seams and complex shapes. Because powder is an electrostatic dry-finishing process that applies charged powder particles to a grounded part, it offers excellent surface coverage, even on hard-to-reach parts.

Patent-pending formulations like PPG ENVIROCRON® EXTREME PROTECTION EDGE powder take that coverage to the next level with one-coat "high edge" coverage. These coatings deliver even film thickness across the part from flat straight surfaces to seams, corners and sharp edges that are common in metal fabrication.

These unique coatings are formulated to stay on edges during the curing cycle and not shrink and pull-away like traditional liquid and powder coatings. The result is that even the most vulnerable areas of the exposed metal are protected from corrosion, impact and wear.

Because they are direct-to-metal, fully reclaimable and eliminate the need to finish edges with mechanical edge rounding or blasting equipment, these advanced powder formulas deliver significant savings in materials, labor, utilities and time.

Better Coverage with Less Powder

Newer "high transfer efficient" generations of powder coatings are now available that improve first-pass application build rates compared to standard powders, even on complex parts and recessed cavities. PPG ENVIROCRON® HTE powder is a proprietary polyester-based formulation applied consistently across complex parts and is formulated to electrostatically wrap and penetrate in deep recesses or hard-to-reach surfaces, improving transfer efficiency rates up to 85% or better.

Compared to standard powder coatings, these reclaimable formulations can reduce powder consumption by 20-30%, increase line speed for better throughput and reduce downtime for cleaning due to their coating efficiency, while improving overall finish quality.

Anti-microbial Protection for Coatings

Today, coatings manufacturers are formulating solutions with silver ionic technology that help to inhibit the growth of microbes and fungi on cured paint films that can lead to unpleasant odors, discoloration and corrosion.

In the simplest terms, silver ions penetrate the membranes of bacteria, bind to essential elements like DNA and disrupt their functions, including multiplying, ultimately helping to deactivate them.

PPG SILVERSAN™ antimicrobial*-protected powder coating surfaces are durable, retain their color and are stable even in high temperatures and work to guard the substrate from the growth of harmful microbes and bacteria.

Low-Cure Powder for Dense, Oversized Metals

Powder coatings have been used on thinner metal substrates for decades. But heavy, dense metal parts are more difficult to heat to a uniform temperature, which requires longer oven times to cure.

Colored kettle bells protected by PPG industrial coatings

Compared to lighter weight metals, a thicker mass of metal—like those needed for kettle bells, dumb bells, free weights and equipment frames—require more overall oven dwell time and energy.

These conditions often made powder coating less ideal than liquid coatings for oversized metals.

But advancements in application, curing, resin and binder chemistries have produced low-cure, fast-bake formulations that eliminate these traditional barriers with baking temperatures as low as 250-350°F (121-177°C) and cure times as quick as five minutes.

Innovative solutions like PPG ENVIROCRON® HEATSENSE powder can be cured in a convection or infrared (IR) oven or a combination of both and can be used in a one- or two-coat process.

Despite a more efficient curing process, these low-bake powders deliver the same durability, protection and finish quality as standard powders and are available in a broad range of colors, textures and special effects.

*Antimicrobial is limited to the treated surface to provide mold and mildew resistance on the paint film and to inhibit the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria that may affect the surface of the coating. The use of these products does not protect users of any such treated article or others against food-borne or disease-causing bacteria, viruses, germs or other disease-causing organisms.