Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

January, 2007

Protecting Safety Shoes from Corrosion

Q: We are specialist in safety shoe manufacturing and we use steel toe cap for protection. In order to avoid rust, our supplier deliver us steel toe cap with zinc phosphate. They propose us recently to use epoxy instead of zinc phosphate and we are wondering which one is the best. Unfortunately, I don't have more information than this. What would be your first thoughts?

A: Zinc phosphate is a surface pretreatment, whereas epoxy is an organic coating. Your vendor will need to pretreat the steel regardless of what organic coating he applies, but it is likely that he does not have a zinc phosphate process in his facility. This process is costly and many steel fabricators or custom paint shops do not offer it. In all probability your vendor has an iron phosphate pretreatment. Also, I'm assuming that he intends to apply an epoxy powder coating rather than a liquid epoxy. Either way, provided that he pretreats the steel appropriately the proposal appears to be sound.

Without knowing more about the proposal or seeing his specification I can't provide you with more comments. Please fell free to get back to me with more details.


Ron Joseph


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