Zinc Plating vs. Powder Coating


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Q. I am a purchasing guy trying to determine the differences between powder coating and zinc plating. I work for a large trailer manufacturer and we import jacks from China. Recently we have been discussing whether zinc is better than powder coating. Can you explain the differences or direct me to a source that can help? I have listed some of my questions: What is the relative cost difference? Which one lasts longer? Which is more durable? Are there any test results to support answers to these questions? I appreciate any help you can provide. R. G.


A. The answer is simple: Zinc is a metal (inorganic coating) and Powder Coating is a paint-like material (organic coating). Comparing these two materials can be likened to metal vs. plastic. The metal is very hard and durable while the plastic is very soft and pliable. Powder coatings are some of the most durable “paints” on the market, but let’s face it…it isn’t metal. Zinc plating should be more costlier than typical powder coatings. However, as far as performance in your application, zinc plating is hands-down the better coating. The best analogy I can give you is as follows: Remember when cars had chrome-plated bumpers. You could take a pretty good hit before you would hurt the chrome. Nowadays, cars have plastic bumpers that are painted. It is a well-know fact that these newer bumpers may not dent as easily, but the paint can be easily scratched. Knowing these facts, you now can make your choice an informed one. 

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