Dip-Coating pieces large and small
Dip coating refers to any process where a part is dipped into a polymer, such as Plastisol, for applying a coating directly onto the product. The process delivers non-slip cushioned gripping surfaces to products, protects against abrasion and corrosion, provides electrical insulation, and enhances a product’s appearance for sales appeal.
The most identifiable application of dip coating is for the grips on many hardware store tools. But it has also been used for toys, fitness equipment, outdoor furniture, and many other items.
A variety of products can benefit from the process. Dip coating can deliver just about any coating color and/or hardness profile, along with properties such as temperature resistance, static dissipation, and UV protection.
Recently, dip coating manufacturers have expanded their operations to dip coat not just small parts, but products as large as 55” x 55” x 8”.
Dip Coating Large Bike Racks
Doug Devine, owner of Sunshine U-LOK Corporation, was already well acquainted with dip coating when he met with Molded Devices, Inc. (MDI). Molded Devices offers dip coating and molding, fluidized bed powder coating, and custom injection molding in several facilities throughout the US.
MDI can coat parts as large as 55” x 55” x 8”. Devine had been searching nearly 20 years for a company that could handle the size, volume and quality required to dip coat the company’s 5-foot-long bicycle racks.
However, size was not the only issue. Devine wanted more color choices to compliment municipal, corporate and campus architectural designs. MDI ran a dozen color samples and Devine ultimately selected six.
“In the past, many customers would ask for specific colors, so we anticipate this will bring us more business,” says Devine.
After receiving the first shipment in September 2011, Sunshine U-LOK Corporation quickly increased its inventory and sales have been brisk.
Last year the City of Santa Monica, California acquired 500 bike racks in a variety of styles – the largest number Sunshine U-LOK ever installed in an American municipality.
In the past, city maintenance workers had to re-paint the traditional steel, powder- coated bike racks several times a year. Now the crew simply wipes down the dip-coated racks with a cotton cloth and cleaning fluid.
Dip coating is also being used by Spinergy, a company that designs, manufactures and markets high performance wheels for wheelchairs.
The construction of a wheelchair wheel involves a pushrim, an outer ring used by the operator to turn the wheels without having to put their hands directly on the tire.
According to Henry Mathers, CFO of Spinergy, most wheels are offered with an aluminum pushrim, but for those individuals that need a little more grip they offer a vinyl-coated (Plastisol) pushrim.
At Spinergy, the pushrim is constructed using an aluminum ring dip that is sent to MDI and dip coated in Plastisol.
Spinergy selected Plastisol dip coating because it provided the proper grip for the user without hindering the operation of the wheelchair or irritating the operator’s hands. This was even more critical for those that lack hand strength or have a loss in hand function.
“MDI provides us with a consistent product that does not vary from the original specifications,” says Mathers. “They are able to hold a consistent level of tackiness and durability of material every time.”
For more info about Molded Devices, Inc., visit www.moldeddevices.com; call West Coast 951-531-4872 or East Coast 203-755-3741; e-mail ChuckBrider@Moldeddevices.com or write 6918 Ed Perkic St. Riverside, CA 92504