Enamelling vs. Painting

Two post-manufacturing industrial processes are often confused which are actually very different from one other. They are enamelling and painting. The purpose of both of them is to protect the surfaces of certain products, make them aesthetically more attractive (e.g. coloured or decorated) and preserve them against external agents and wear and tear.
Both are post-production processes which may be carried out at the manufacturer’s premises or be entrusted to specialists who provide the service on customer account.

However, painting consists in the application of a film of paint to the surface of the workpiece using various methods and techniques. As it is disjointed from the material which constitutes the product (usually plastic or metal), the film of paint is subject to progressively detaching from the surface and exposing it, under the influence of time and external agents, to infiltration, oxidation, corrosion, etc.

On the other hand, in the case of enamelling, the applied coating is not a disjointed material, but forms a whole with the surface of the product, integrating with it and modifying its chemical and physical properties.

This is why an enamel coated surface is more uniform, perfectly smooth and non-porous, water-repellent and durable. Enamel is essentially made of glass, an extremely hygienic, compact material which fuses with the metal sheet surface during the baking process at very high temperature. Compared to painting, which is largely subject to wear and tear, enamelling is ideal for all components which need to resist high temperatures as well as oxidation, atmospheric agents – particularly saltness – and especially recommended for food contact thanks to its non-toxicity. As a matter of fact, the law prohibits the use of paint for products which come into contact with food.