Topic: Cleaning powder coated panels

I am responsible at my company of having aluminum panels made that go onto test stations. These panels usually have engraving on them. After the panels are machined with the engraving and any features, I get them powder coated. Once the powder coating is done I fill the engraving with engravers paint sticks. The manufacturer of the sticks is Hermes.Once the paint dries I wipe the excess off. But the problem that I am having is there is a film of residue that is left on the panel. I was wondering if there are any suggestions to a process to remove that residue? It looks like a haze in the area of the engraving. One color combination that I use is black powder coat with white fill. This leaves a white shadow area around the engraving where the fill stick has gotten smeared.

I have tried different chemicals, but I am limited to what I can "legally" bring into the plant. The latest thing I've tried is to use a detailers clay bar, but didn't have any luck. I'm thinking about using some fine rubbing compound to see if that works, but thought I'd try to see what is suggested from the forum.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Last edited by Mark (01/13/2011 - 07:39 PM)


Re: Cleaning powder coated panels

Can you tell us more about the engravers paint stick? What kind of chemicals does it contain? Ideally you would use the same type of solvent (assuming it is solvent based). However, many solvents weaken and/or discolor powder-coated finishes.

Buffing or polishing may also work, depending upon the level of quality you want in the finished product. Clay bar is typically used to remove physical particles that are stuck to the painted surface. I don't think it is the best option for your situation. I would look into polishing compound, rubbing compound (more aggressive), or similar.

-Dustin Gebhardt, CEF

Advanced Manufacturing/Finishing Engineer


Sanford, NC


Re: Cleaning powder coated panels

Dustin thanks for the reply.  I believe that the sticks are lacquer based.  But I can't verify that because I can't get to Gravostore's website, it seems to be down.  I have tried lac thinner to clean the film left behind, but yes the powder coat did discolor.

I have tried the clay bars with no luck.  I haven't tried the polishing or rubbing compound yet.  I was waiting for a little bit to see what replies I got from here before I tried it.