Important Things To Know About Paint Curing
Paint Curing is important for a variety of reasons. It can determine the speed at which you can move product through a manufacturing facility and can also impact the type of spray equipment you use. Faster curing allows for higher production rates while slower curing is easier for a painter to work with. The following are important things to know about paint curing to ensure you can fully evaluate the right equipment for spraying as well as how to accelerate your production in your paint facility if that is needed.
First important fact about curing – Curing is not the same as Drying
Drying is essentially the process of solvents or water being evaporated from your coating. This leaves your paints feeling dry. However, curing is when the coating reaches its maximum hardness. This is important because a cured product will provide the resistance to conditions that the coating manufacturer stated when they made the product. Failure to achieve a full cure can result in the benefits of the coating not being achieved.
Second important fact about curing – Curing occurs in various stages
There are a variety of stages in the cure process and each has different performance characteristics. For example, cure to touch means that the product surface is safe to touch without removing paint while cure to pack would mean the product is dry enough that straps and other packing methods will not remove the paint from the product’s surface. This can be critical for you as you may pack a product and let it complete the remainder of its curing cycle while in transit, especially if your coating has a long cure time listed. A quick an easy way to determine if paint is cured is to press into the surface of your paint with a fingernail. If the paint dents it is potentially not cured completely.
Third Important Fact about Curing – Curing time can often times be accelerated
If you are using solvent based coatings most the time you can accelerate the time needed for the paint to cure by heating the air around the product. This is where a paint booth with a bake cycle included can be tremendously valuable. If you are using a water based product, curing is usually sped up by acceleration of the air moving across the surface of the product. While this is true for the majority of water and solvent based coatings, you always want to refer to the technical data sheet for your individual paint.The reason is that some solvent coatings cure by chemical reaction and as a result will not benefit from heat curing.That is why it can be critical to check your coatings before assuming a particular option will help them cure faster. You can learn more about solvent based paint curing here. You can also learn more about water borne paint curing here.
Fourth Important Fact About Curing – Faster Curing can Require Equipment Considerations
The faster your paint cures the shorter it will last in a spray system before you have to properly clean the system with solvent to ensure that the paint doesn’t harden and as a result ruin your paint system. This can be important because it could mean you need to use shorter lines of paint hose or if the cure time is extortionary short (less than 30 minutes) and is made up of two components you may have to consider a plural component system that will mix the two coatings right at the spray gun or shortly before (known as a plural component spray system). If this is the case you can learn more about plural component systems and spraying here.
Ultimately knowing about your paint cure time can be important for a variety of reasons from how fast you can move product through your paint process, to how long you have to wait to package a product, and more. Knowing important facts about your paint and how it cures will allow you to select proper equipment and to control product movement properly in your manufacturing process.