Lightweight construction driving innovation

Lightweight vehicle construction is driving innovation in low-bake coatings was the message from Axalta’s Sven Radek at a recent European automotive coating conference.

Speaking at the 23rd annual German Research Organisation for Surface Treatment European Automotive Coating Conference held in Bonn, Germany, Sven Radek, EMEA group leader for process and application for Axalta Coating Systems examined the challenges and opportunities that lightweight automotive design brings to coatings systems used by car manufacturers (OEMs).

Sven told delegates, ‘Lightweight vehicle construction is definitely driving innovation in low-bake coatings. Over the next 15 years, automotive manufacturers will be replacing standard steel with high-performance steel, aluminum, plastics and composites. These changes will have a significant impact on coating systems, as many of the new, lighter materials cannot withstand high-bake temperatures.’

Radek referenced the research that Axalta is conducting on new technologies that hold the promise of integrating existing low-temperature paint system solutions. To date, no comprehensive, integrated solution exists that suits all application situations.

Highlighting Axalta’s current product offer, Radek explained, ‘Axalta is benefiting from its 150 years of experience in coatings, in particular the technological insight from our refinish paints. We can then work to transfer this knowledge into workable and successful solutions for the OEM market.’

Presenting possible process options for the future such as UV drying, Radek concluded, ‘The next decisive step is the integration of individual low-temperature solutions – materials, processes, application methods – and their transfer to pilot production.’