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Some interesting data was generated: Once this collected data became available, several facts became evident.
Powder coat is used in large quantities, and it is expensive.
Recycling powder coat waste has become a major concern for those manufacturers. Manufacturers have found ways to reuse or recycle the powder coat waste they generate internally.
One common method is to blend the used powders of mixed colors with a black pigment to create a neutral color that can be used for noncosmetic components. Another approach is to melt the waste powder, which is resin-based, to form counterweights and other parts. The waste powder can be mixed into cement for dry casting solid blocks.
For many manufacturers with very large volumes of powder waste, however, these approaches offer only partial solutions.
Several manufacturers have not found suitable parts or a consistent color to reuse as a neutral color, or melting the resin-based powders into counterweights can be too expensive.
To manage the dust and handling issues, they collect the waste powder by hand from the bottom of the spray booths and return it to the original containers.
Too often the containers are sealed, stacked on pallets, and sent to the trash container.
Current powder coating technology has an average transfer efficiency of about 50 percent.During the early days of the environmental movement, the industrial painting process in most segments transitioned away from liquid surface coating to a dry powder coating technology to help minimize solvent air emissions.The first widely commercial application of the modern electrostatically sprayable thermoplastic powder coating process was developed in the early 1960s as an alternative to solvent-based liquid coatings containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs).The consortium, a spinoff effort of the Green Manufacturing Initiative (GMI) at Western Michigan University, sought to identify common environmental projects among their manufacturing members.A partnership formed among those manufacturers, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC), Western Michigan University’s Manufacturing Engineering Research Center, and Sustainable Research Group to create a Waste Powder Coat User Group.