Non-stick coatings are now present everywhere. Starting from that pan in your kitchen that you use to fry those tasty eggs, to insulations of wires that run around your house, to the roof of the football ground that you see on T.V…
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).
For such widely popular non-stick coatings, have you ever wondered how the process of coating 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 process of non-stick coating has 4 key steps. Read on to find out more about them.
Step 1: Degrading
The very first step in the non-stick coating process is degrading.
This means pulling out 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 get these old coatings out, 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.
It creates a rough surface that provides a perfect bed on which the coating, which is to be applied next, 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
You’re probably thinking, enough with the preparations, can we begin coating already? Don’t worry, we’re almost there.
The third step is when you begin to coat. But you shouldn’t apply the entire heavy coating all in one go.
First, you’ve to apply a primer. Yes, this is exactly like how you paint a house. You’ve got to apply a primer before you’re ready to get your hands on the real stuff!
And much like a painting job, 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 to cook up some tasty veggies, 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.
If you would like to know more about how Product Release could help you with your printing and packaging needs, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts, who can discuss your problem and recommend an innovative solution that will not only help you now but will minimise future damage or repairs, giving you peace of mind.