U-pol Raptor® vs Powder Coating in Cape Town

Insights into choosing a durable coating to protect your vehicles, equipment and other assets. 

Durability of U-Pol Raptor® vs Powder Coating 

Raptor is very well suited to applications that are subjected to heavy wear and tear and offers exceptional abrasion and chip resistance due to multiple factors. 1. Raptor adheres particularly well to properly abraded, degreased and primed substrates, on the other hand powder coatings are prone to flaking off or delaminating from substrates for a number of reasons. 2. When Raptor is applied in conjunction with Raptor 2K Anti-Corrosive Epoxy Primer oxidation of the underlying substrate is significantly inhibited; oxidation beneath powder coatings is a common problem and often only discovered when flakes of material break free from the surface. 3. U-Pol Raptor has a shore D hardness of 85 or pencil hardness measured at 6H while typical polyester/epoxy powder coating pencil hardness is in the HB/2H range hence Raptor is more resistant to scratching and chipping than powder coatings. 4. Raptor has above average elongation potential imparting qualities of flexibility and elasticity. Raptor will stretch with expansion and contraction of the underlying substrate and even conform to denting or bending of the substrate. Typically powder coating does not benefit from these properties and will generally crack or delaminate with minimal stress. 5. Raptor film build thickness can be built to exceed 25 mils (635 microns) to offer an ultra strong barrier to abrasion, chipping and impact while powder coating's upper limit due to various constraints is 15 mils (375 microns) at lesser hardness and elongation potential. 6.  Raptor's 2K polyurethane system offers extraordinary chemical resistance to fuels, oils, acids and salts. Raptor is entirely resistant to most chemicals that it may be subjected to in every day environments and is resistant to many of the harsher chemicals even in high concentrations. Versus powder coating, polyurethane chemistry trumps epoxy chemistry in chemical resistance however, should one opt for powder coating, epoxy powder coatings are more resistant to chemicals than polyester, nylon and hybrid powder coatings. 7. Raptor has very high stain resistance, this is largely due to the limited effect of chemicals on it's surface as well as uncommonly slow deterioration due to weathering. Epoxy and polyester powder coatings offer great stain resistance at first but with subjection to harsher chemicals and quicker toll of weathering staining may pose a problem as time goes on. 

Pencil hardness of polyester and epoxy powder coatings are typically in the HB/2H range while U-pol Raptor 2K polyurethane has a pencil hardness of 6H. Amongst other applications Raptor is sold as a truck bed liner while powder coating isn't remotely suitable for such a use.

Aesthetics of U-Pol Raptor® vs Powder Coating 

Raptor offers a very broad range of aesthetics that can be achieved through various techniques and additives. 1. Raptor is available in black, white and a tintable base allowing for virtually any colour within the gamut of available solvent-borne toners / pigments to be produced. That is one can colour match with any existing colour scheme or execute on the figments of the most creative imagination. On the contrary powder coating service providers generally have a limited selection of colours available from which the customer must choose. 2. Raptor is compatible with all solvent borne metallic toners which open up another dimension to the aesthetics that can be achieved. Metallic finishes in powder coating are, once again, limited to the options that a given service provider has on offer. 3. Raptor is characteristically a semi-gloss / satin coating but is compatible with various matting agents to give a matte finish if desired. Powder coating, once again, is limited to the options that a given service provider has on offer. 4. Raptor, in any colour or texture, can be over-coated with clear gloss for a high gloss finish. Powder coating can also be finished to a high gloss finish.  5. With Raptor, a wide range of textures can be achieved - from zero or lightly stippled through to heavy stone chip - to add new dimensions to aesthetics of product. Textures can be mixed and matched across product for effect and to suit function of underlying part. On the other hand due to constraints of the powder coating process the texture will typically be homogeneous across a product 6. Raptor offers exceptional UV resistance / lightfastnes of colour as U-Pol's formulation contains high levels of UV absorbing compounds. Powder coating UV stability will vary depending on chemistry of coating used. Generally speaking both polyester and epoxy chemistry even with the necessary UV inhibiting additives lags UV resistant polyurethane chemistry as a matter of fact. 7. Painting a product in multiple colours with Raptor is viable and regularly practiced by applicators. Powder coating in mulitple colours is highly impractical and costly. 8. Stenciling sign writing or decorative designs onto a Raptor base is practically achieved through thinning down Raptor and spraying with a fine nozzle. Should one need to do the same with a powder coated item they could consider utilising Raptor as the stenciled on overcoat (follow recommended surface prep). 

Do you require professional application of U-Pol Raptor®?

Contact Cape Automotive Paint Protection Specialists for further information on our service or to arrange a quotation.

Application of U-Pol Raptor® vs Powder Coating 

Raptor is a suitable for all kinds of uses due to the nature of application. Raptor application trumps the powder coating process: 1. Raptor requires less prep / faring time as thicker film build will cover minor and moderate anomalies in materials and construction. Powder coating, due to thinner film build, will not cover anomalies to the same extent. 2. Raptor can be roller applied or sprayed in a variety of formats to suit the constraints of the environment in which application is being conducted as well as the nature of surface that is being coated. That is, Raptor can be applied to a product or substrate in place using the most suitable method of application. Powder coating is conducted at a designated facility where items need to be transported to and from as well as fall within the size constraints of the powder coating facility. 3. Raptor does not require baking to cure whereas the baking stage of the powder coating process is mandatory to complete the coating process. Due to the baking stage of the powder coating process many material types are excluded. Assemblies that include these incompatible materials are also excluded eg. a motor vehicle. In addition products that exceed the capacity of the oven are also excluded eg. a boat. Raptor is, by nature, far more versatile than powder coating. 4. Raptor can be touched up practically and in most cases an acceptable touch up can be achieved by doctoring the area local to the damage. Powder coating will generally require recoating of the entire piece or liquid paint touch up.

Uses of U-Pol Raptor® vs Powder Coating 

Raptor is a suitable for all kinds of use due to the nature of application and its physical properties. Raptor trumps powder coating in the following uses: 1. With the correct surface preparation and primer, Raptor is suitable for use on all kinds of metals, woods, masonry, composites, foams and plastics. Powder coating can be successfully applied to some of these materials. 2. Raptor is suitable for use on cars, sports cars, SUV's, bakkies, 4x4's, overlanders, ATV's, motorbikes of all descriptions, campers, caravans and trailers of all descriptions. Including all over protection (refinishing of all body panels), mag wheels, wheel arches, underbodies, chassis, axles, all accessories, and interior panels, worktops, storage and compartments. Powder coating can be successfully applied to some of these components. 3. Raptor is extensively used in marine / boating applications including boat hulls and decks. Powder coating is limited to small watercraft or certain accessories. 4. Raptor is extensively used in all types of industrial applications from coating of plant to coating of floors and other heavy duty use surfaces. Powder coating is at a great disadvantage in industrial applications as it is limited by scale. 5. Raptor is extensively used in logistics including application to vehicles and facilities. Powder coating is at a great disadvantage in this sector as, again, it is limited by scale. 6. Raptor is extensively used in agricultural applications including application to equipment and facilities. Powder coating is at a great disadvantage in this sector as, again, it is limited by scale. 7. Raptor, having immense durability and chemical resistance, can be transformed into a non-slip coating for commercial, industrial and transportation flooring, stairs of all sorts and decks of all sorts by adding aluminium oxide or rubber granules. Powder coating doesn't offer the same utility.

DIY? Purchase U-Pol Raptor® from CAPPS

Cape Automotive Paint Protection Specialists supply all U-Pol Raptor® products at RRP.

In Summary

Raptor has been extensively tested and proven in the field to be top of its class. Are you still opting for powder coating? Are you putting yourself and your product at a disadvantage in the market place? With extraordinary durability, boundless aesthetics and fewer application constraints, U-Pol Raptor is winning the Cape Town market over. Don't be left behind! 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does professional Raptor application typically cost? 
    Coating costs are comparable to powder coating; sometimes marginally more. Surface preparation and disassembly / reassembly costs also need to be taken into account. Raptor offers exceedingly greater value than powder coating due to superior durability, unlimited aesthetics and fewer application constraints. 
  • Is DIY Raptor application recommended?
    If you have the right equipment, the physical space, the time, the patience, the technical inclination and are good with your hands you should be able to achieve a satisfactory result with some practice. If you are looking for a professional result but are not prepared to make a proper effort, rather let the professionals do the work for you. 
  • I am based outside of Cape Town, can I still benefit from CAPPS products & services?
    CAPPS is happy to assist wherever you may be located, in the greater Western Cape or beyond. If you require product we can courier it to you and on the other hand we can arrange logistics to bring your vehicle or items into Cape Town for Raptor application.
  • Is there any scenario where powder coating is more suitable than Raptor coating?
    When a fine film build, eg. 50 microns, is required this may be more consistently achieved with the right powder coating process. 

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