Electrocoat is a desirable finishing process for many manufacturers. It provides numerous benefits to productivity, enhances the quality of the manufactured product, and has many significant environmental advantages. Despite its many attributes, several common myths exist regarding electrocoat and the electrocoat process.

Myth: Electrocoat is only available in black.

Electrocoat is available in every color, from white to black, including clear. Most automotive parts are coated with a black electrocoat. Plated parts are often coated with a clear electrocoat for added protection. The appliance industry uses white and beige electrocoat. Yellow and green electrocoat is used in the agriculture and construction industries. Red and green electrocoat are popular in the lawn and garden market. Even gold electrocoat is used to coat hangers.

Myth: Electrocoat is only used as a primer.

Electrocoat is often used as a primer for automotive parts and accessories and other applications requiring corrosion and chemical resistance. Electrocoat is also used as a one-coat finish based on its outstanding color control, exceptional performance properties and ability to paint complex configurations for many applications, including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; lawn and garden; agriculture and construction; and appliance markets. Finally, electrocoat is used in conjunction with other coatings technologies as a primer with a liquid, powder or electrocoat topcoat, offering exceptional product performance for various markets, including transformers, generators and truck cabs.

Myth: Parts must be capable of racking in order to be electrocoated.

The electrocoated small part has traditionally been hung on a rack and processed through the system with excellent performance characteristics and an aesthetically uniform-appearing part. Recent advances in equipment design and electrocoat formulations have made it possible to coat parts in bulk and produce a quality part. An applicator needs to consider the appearance, corrosion, durability, and part application in order to determine if the parts are candidates for bulk finishing. This application technique has produced parts that meet many automotive small parts specifications, as well as many industrial specifications.

Myth: Electrocoat systems are too expensive.

Electrocoat systems typically have the lowest applied cost per square foot. Typically, capital equipment costs are higher for electrocoat when compared to other coating systems, due to the need for rectifiers, ultrafilters, chillers and tanks with recirculation pumps. But the electrocoating process is more efficient than other technologies due to higher material transfer efficiencies (~95-99%), lower manpower requirements, faster line speeds and higher rack densities, resulting in lower applied costs. In addition, advances in equipment innovation design have resulted in the development of systems with a smaller footprint. These systems offer the same high throughput capabilities known in bigger systems, in a smaller work envelope, with a more modest capital investment.

Myth: Electrocoat is a high-tech process that is difficult to run and maintain.

Some manufacturers fear that electrocoat is a difficult "high-tech" process. However, operating an electrocoat system does not require higher education. One operator typically runs the entire pretreatment and electrocoat system. Simple, daily tests and observations performed by the system operator provide valuable information in achieving day-to-day consistency in electrocoat finishing systems. In addition, most electrocoat suppliers offer in-house training and frequent technical-service visits. This unparalleled level of support affords the user a high level of confidence in electrocoat system operation.

Believing "electrocoat myths" could lead you to make the wrong decision for your company. Once armed with the correct information, managers can make informed decisions about what application method is best suited to meet their needs for maximizing productivity and quality at the lowest possible operating cost.