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Fingerprints on textured powder coat

(-----) 2002

RFQ: I need a product to remove finger prints from powder coating. Many surfaces are perforated so I cannot use a paste of any type.

Kenny R [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Panama City, Florida

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Q. We manufacture display elements and one of these elements is a thin walled steel tube which is powder coated using a textured epoxy powder in a silver color. We are seeing fingerprint-like mottling of the surface over time and handling. The only ways that I have been able to remove this is with MEK / methyl ethyl ketone (which I suspect is removing a layer of the coating and also dulls the finish slightly) or by stripping and re-painting. Is there any other possibility for removing this? Is it possible that something is reacting with the steel (it is not primed but does go through a wash system)?

Rob Maday
exhibits - metal manufacturing - Eagan, Minnesota, USA


A. Dear Rob,

Your problem is quite a common one - Aluminum powder finishes can be made from leafing or non-leafing aluminum flake. The defects you describe suggests your powder is made using leafing aluminum flake. This means that during the baking cycle the Al flake floats to the surface of the applied powder giving a very bright finish. The aluminum on the baked film surface is subject to attack from perspiration excretion of uric acid), and things can become even worse if handled by the gentler sex at certain monthly cycles.

Non leafing results in the powder flake being entrapped in the powder film and thus protected from finger marks but produces a duller aluminum finish.

Terry Hickling
Birmingham, United Kingdom

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