Non-stick coatings are everywhere. From the pan in your kitchen, to the insulation of wires that run around your house and to the roof of the football ground that you see on television.
Yes, all of these and many other substances have non-stick coatings made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known as Teflon, and other coatings such as fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) and perfluoroalkoxy (PFA).
You’ve certainly heard of non-stick coatings, but have you ever wondered how the coating process is carried out? If you think it’s just a matter of spraying Teflon on a pan, well, we’re here to tell you that it’s a little bit more complicated than that.
The whole non-stick coating process has 4 key steps.
Step 1: Degrading
The very first step in the non-stick coating process is degrading. This means pulling any old coatings or carbon residue off the surface of the material where you wish to apply a brand-new coating of Teflon.
Why would you do that? Well, if you don’t, the old residue might not allow the new coatings to adhere properly.
To remove these old coatings, professionals rely on a chemical process called pyrolysis. In this process, high heat is applied to the substance in the absence of oxygen. As a consequence, thermal decomposition occurs and all forms of organic (mostly carbon) residue detach themselves from the material that you want to coat.
Step 2: Mechanical Key Blasting
Now that all the old residue has been removed, the material should be ready to receive a coat, right? Well, not quite.
You see, you’ve got to prepare the base a little bit more. And this is where blasting takes the center stage.
In the process of mechanical key blasting, the surface is pounded with abrasive materials at extremely high speeds. This creates a rough surface that provides a perfect bed on which the coating can stick to.
If you miss this step, the non-stick coating would just slip off. Think of how the different pieces of a puzzle fit together because they have rough edges that, when combined, form the desired shape.
Another benefit of mechanical key blasting is that it removes a lot of dirt and grime from the surface to be coated.
Step 3: Primer Coating
The third step is when you begin to coat. But you shouldn’t apply the entire heavy coating all in one go.
First, you apply a primer. The primer applied here makes sure that a solid base is created on which all the future coatings can firmly stick.
If you skip the primer the cured topcoat film would simply peel off like a piece of plastic in 1 piece.
Step 4: Top Coating
And now we come to the final step, which is applying the topcoat. This may sound simple, but a lot of research goes into understanding how many coats should be applied to which surfaces.
The thickness of the coating applied above the surface is called Dry Film Thickness (DFT) and depends on the application in which the material is to be used.
For instance, a non-stick baking tray may require an average DFT while a mixing tank for corrosive chemicals might require a significantly higher DFT.
The topcoat can be applied as a number of layers to build up the DFT and eliminate porosity. Too little, premature failure, Too much, not a problem other than the cost goes up.
This is where the industrial know-how and experience come into play.
All coated and ready…
Finally, with the four steps, you’ll have your equipment coated with non-stick and ready to use.
Manufacturers of non-stick products always ensure that the step-by-step process is followed so that end users can get their hands on high-quality and durable finished products.
At every step, precision and industry knowledge is key. Also, quality control methods make sure that each step is followed perfectly before moving on to the next.
So, the next time you pick up that non-stick pan, you can breathe easy knowing that the pan has been through four rigorous steps before it has reached your kitchen as a sleek, handy, durable, and versatile appliance.
For more information on our range of non-stick coatings, contact our sales team today to see how we could help you.