The home appliance industry is a $22.5 billion industry, according to The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM),1 Washington. Powder coatings on a volume basis represent more than 70-75% of the OEM applied coatings used in the appliance industry, and their importance to this segment cannot be overstated, according to the latest market analysis by the NPCA.2 U.S. shipments of powder coatings for appliance applications are estimated in excess of 60 million pounds and valued at more than $200 million for 2007.

However, one should not overlook the fact that liquid coatings are used for pre-coated coil stock. There is a steadily increasing use of pre-finished fabricating material for appliances, and it is estimated that 12% to 15% of topcoat paint is used in this application. The National Coil Coating Association (NCCA),3 Cleveland, reports that 16% of all coated coil in the United States goes into the Business & Consumer Products segment, which includes consumer durables, large appliances, lighting, heating and cooling, and office furniture. This segment is the second largest market for coil coatings after the Building & Construction segment, which comprises 67% of the coated coil used in the United States.

John Mitchell, president, NCCA, also points out that the U.S. Census Bureau CIR MA325F database for 2005 reports close to a 50:50 split of liquid to powder used in coating applications, with 8.2 million gals of liquid employed for "Appliances, Heating Equipment and Air Conditioner Finishes" versus 7.9 million gallons for "Appliance Powder Coatings."4

According to Karl Rijkse, CEO and president, TIGER Drylac U.S.A., Inc.,5 Ontario, California, "Both liquid and powder coatings are prominent in appliances. The choice of powder over liquid by the appliance manufacturer is based largely on its environmental advantages and the trend toward replacing the hospital-look of white appliances with color and special-effect pigmented coatings.

"Liquid paint is also used to coat metal sheet. The resulting pre-painted coil is then post-formed into frames and housings for large appliances."

Powder coating is a dry finishing process whereby finely ground particles of pigment and resin are electrostatically charged and sprayed onto small appliances and appliance parts during the finishing process. The parts are electrically grounded so that the charged particles adhere to them until melted and fused into a solid coating in a curing oven. The result is an attractive, durable, high-quality finish.

Rohm and Haas Powder Coatings Co., 6 Reading, Pa., summarizes the benefits of powder coatings for appliances to the coater, end-user and environment, including:

• Solvent-free - no VOC emissions;

• Low fire-hazard risks;

• Waste powder can be recycled with greater than 95% recovery;

• Low cost of application due to ease of process automation;

• Economical one-coat finishes;

• Increased durability of finishes on end products;

• Superior temperature, corrosion, wear and chemical resistance; and

• A wide variety of color, texture, thickness and finish combinations.

Karl Rijkse, CEO and president, TIGER Drylac U.S.A., Inc.

Other Coatings Systems

While the emphasis here has been on pre-painted metal and powder coatings, other technologies such as UV, water-based and moisture-cure coatings have a smaller stake in appliances and deserve consideration. For example, the upcoming Alliance for the Polyurethanes Industry (API) Polyurethanes 2006 Technical Conference7 includes a session with four case histories related to coatings used for appliances, including presentations on new radiation-curable polyurethane dispersions for outdoor application; novel, solvent-free polyurethane dispersions for wood coating; polybutadiene-derived thermoplastic polyurethanes; and moisture-curing urethanes.

Antimicrobials Protect Home Appliances

For appliances where microbes present a problem, antimicrobial-coated steel affords protection to refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, dryers and other appliances, satisfying a growing consumer demand for antimicrobial products. AK Coatings, a subsidiary of AK Steel Corp., Middletown, Ohio, has a worldwide licensing agreement with AgION Technologies, Inc., Wakefield, Mass., for the application of its antimicrobial compound into coatings for coil-coated carbon and stainless flat-rolled steels.

According to Barry Green, marketing manager, AgION Technologies, "The AgION compound8 is actually a powder that is incorporated into coatings. The compound contains a zeolite matrix with silver ions that suppress the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria. The antimicrobial compound has the capability of being incorporated into various delivery vehicles, i.e., solvent- or water-based liquid coatings, or powder coatings. The compound may also be added to many after-fabrication shop coatings. It can be incorporated, as well, into plastic liners or plastic tubs in a washer or dryer, or used in powder-coated products such as wire shelving and control panels."

To learn more:
U.S. Paint & Coatings Market Analysis (2004 - 2009)

Prepared by Orr & Boss, Inc., an experienced and respected management, marketing and manufacturing consulting firm specializing in the paint and coatings industry, U.S. Paint & Coatings Market Analysis (2004-2009) market study includes the latest U.S. Census Bureau industry figures, market-demand insights and in-depth analyses of market influences.

Chapter 12 contains 16 pages dedicated to appliance finishes, including an overview, sector analysis, end-use markets, market trends and drivers, and a market forecast.

Chapter 22 devotes 23 pages to powder coatings, including a substantial amount of information on coatings for appliances.

The market study is available for purchase in its entirety or by individual chapter. For more information, visit the NPCA website at, or contact Allen Irish at 202/462.6272 or

Powder Coating - The Complete Finisher's Handbook, 3rd Edition
This comprehensive guide to the powder coating process from the Powder Coating Institute provides information to compare, plan, purchase, install, troubleshoot, operate and improve a powder coating system. Its 21 detailed chapters and 500 pages include over 200 graphics and tables. Included in the book are technical briefs, a glossary of powder coating terms and definitions, and an expanded troubleshooting guide. Further details are at

Appliance Industry Fact Book
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), Washington, recently released its 2005 Home Appliance Industry Fact Book, which provides researchers and industry executives with a comprehensive statistical overview of the major home appliance industry. The book is designed to provide a current and historical picture of the major home appliance industry's output and its relationship to other economic factors in the United States.

The comprehensive collection of AHAM and government statistics on the home appliance industry begins with an overview of the $22.5 billion industry as it relates to economic and housing indicators, and follows with five chapters on manufacturing, industry shipments, consumer purchase data, energy consumption, and an extended import and export data section including top export markets and leading supply countries.

The AHAM 2005 Fact Book is available for purchase through the AHAM website