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Environmentally Safe and Technologically Advanced Solutions for Powder Coating MDF

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Environmentally Safe and Technologically Advanced Solutions for Powder Coating MDF

By Tony Varda


Solvent-free and energy efficient are important features for the high-quality coatings used in high-end furniture or kitchen surfaces. A new and highly reactive powder coating provides safe processes and environmentally friendly coatings for thermally sensitive wood substrates.

MDF’s characteristic dimensional stability and consistency make it a popular material for furniture construction. Since the demand for environmentally friendly coating technologies is increasing, and the use of VOC-based coatings is facing more and more legal restrictions, users are searching for modern, green, flexible and sustainable alternatives. These coatings should not only be easy to apply, but also give flexibility with regard to color and design. Additionally, because MDF is a composite wood substrate, the ideal coating should cure completely at a low temperature and protect the board permanently.  

The highly reactive powder coating systems of the IGP-Rapid®Complete series developed by IGP Pulvertechnik AG are specifically designed to reliably coat wood-based or temperature sensitive substrates. The development with the powder coating is designed for a quick cross-linking process at low curing temperatures, which protects the substrate material and saves energy. While conventional coatings can only be applied to MDF in multiple layers, powder coatings from the IGP-Rapid complete 88 program can be applied in one layer. For manufacturers looking for a smaller investment and lower curing temperature, the two-layer system of IGP-Rapid primer 13 and IGP-Rapid top 38 is an excellent solution.

With conventional paint (solvent-based or water-based) or foil coating, it is impossible for all six sides of a piece to be coated simultaneously. However, these ultra low temperature powder coatings can be seamlessly applied to all sides of a part, covering narrow edges, contours and surfaces in one step. The resulting coated product surfaces are especially resistant to moisture and abrasion.


Free of Solvents and Low on Emissions

The powder systems of the IGP-Rapid series are solvent-free and low in emissions, making them an excellent specification for environmentally friendly furniture coatings. Since the material is a dry powder coating containing 100 percent solids, recovery and recirculation of the overspray is fast and efficient. Further advantages are quick changes from color to color and a high degree of automation.

Depending on the configuration of the machinery and production capacity, two specifically designed powder coating systems are available. 

The IGP-Rapid complete 88 system can be applied in a single layer. It requires curing temperatures above 250 degrees Fahrenheit and has short curing times. This powder possesses the adhesion and film flexibility properties similar to a primer, and the high physical and chemical resistance of a top coating, in one material.

The IGP-Rapid primer 13 and the IGP-Rapid top 38 are an exceptional choice for a two-layer solution. The highly reactive primer layer cures at 57 degrees Fahrenheit. Its glossy surface is designed to create optimal adhesion between the MDF and the top coatings.


Very Good Adherence

Sanding prior to the application of the base layer removes major blemishes from the board surface and ensures a smooth finish. After that, an evenly applied primer layer fills the open pores on the MDF reducing the need for subsequent sanding. The film flexibility of the primer counteracts the substrate’s tendency to bulge and prevents cracking in the long term.

IGP-Rapid top 38 is available in different colors and enables a surface finish with different fine textures. Colors and gloss levels can be adjusted according to individual demands. The layer system allows for a material utilization of more than 90 percent, lower investments in machinery, and elimination of expensive process steps, such as sanding and additional coatings.

For fabricators and manufacturers searching out new alternatives for environmentally safe coatings with low emissions, the newly developed, highly reactive powder coating material offers two systems of solutions. Low curing temperatures and single pass coverage represent significant advances for powder coating wood products with consistent quality.


Tony Varda is Vice President of Sales/Marketing North America – IGP North America


Founded in 1965 and headquartered in Wil, Switzerland, IGP Pulvertechnik AG develops high-quality powder coating solutions. IGP North America was founded in 2014 and is directly responsible for all activity in Canada, the United Sates and Mexico for IGP Pulvertechnik AG.