Automotive Refinish Coatings: A Primer on Materials, Applications and Market

Published On : 2018-09-11

The worldwide market for automotive refinish coatings is projected be driven by a rising demand from the paint and coating industry and growing sales of pre-owned vehicles. Advancements relating to product developments in the industries of paints and coatings is anticipated to result in the increase in demand for global market of automotive refinish coatings. The water borne segment is estimated to witness rising growth in revenue during the assessment. APEJ region is expected to dominate the worldwide market for automotive refinish coatings throughout the assessment followed by North America and Western Europe.

The categories for automotive coatings are application and chemistry. Each category has its individual set of raw materials, formulation tricks and performance requirements needed for success. The largest division of automotive coatings comes between Refinish and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) applications.

Automotive Refinish Coatings

Innovation in automotive refinish coatings is driven by environmental regulations and process simplification and cost reduction. Both high solids repair and waterborne coatings are ordinary, but waterborne technology is utilized mostly for base coats in areas with the severest requirements while high solids prevail for base coats and clear coats in regions with less preventive pollution control regulations.

As labor is an important component of collision repair, the advancement of ‘speed clear’ coatings is attracting the consumers. It reduces the time between clear coat application and final buffing, resulting in cost reductions and process simplifications. Other markets for automotive refinish coatings include vehicle custom paint jobs and restoration. The capability to match unique and vintage colors and ease of application are significant in these markets.

Raw Materials in Automotive Refinish Coatings

Like most coatings formulations, automotive refinish coatings consist of five basic ingredients, each with unique properties:

1. Polymers

Polymers being the substances of coating, helps in meeting many requirements. Advances in polymers for use in automotive refinish coatings, centers about two technologies: High Solids for Clear Coats and Waterborne for base coats. The automotive refinish coatings market demand different properties.

Important high solids polymers include:

  • Low VOC content with low viscosity

  • Allow smooth flow out after with rheological properties

  • Cures quickly

  • Low reduction on curing

  • The ability to be polished and sanded in refinish applications

Important waterborne polymer properties include:

  • Allows smooth applications and proper orientation of effect pigments

  • Low levels of air pollution

  • Time reduction in clearing coat application with the help of film formation

  • Resistance to enduring degradation

  • Wide-ranging compatibility with pigment dispersions

2. Cross-linkers

Cross-linkers tie the large binder chains of the polymer system to produce high molecular weight films. These films are flexible, still they resist the passage of oxygen and water and maintain hardness to the underlying coating layers. Cross-linkers are generally found only in automotive refinish coatings.

3. Pigments

Pigments provide the flash and color to automotive refinish coatings and are the key components of styling in coatings. Advances in the technology of effect pigments let the automotive designers to give a bold new look to the vehicle. While color pigments are based on well-established chemistries, most new developments can be seen in effect pigments.

Metallic pigments and Pearlescent are the two broad categories of effect pigments. Metallic pigments are just that, flakes of metal (usually aluminum) incorporated into the base coat to provide color, sparkle and opacity.

4. Additives

In automotive refinish coatings formulations, additive when used in small amounts play significant roles in meeting the expectations of end users. Additives in automotive refinish coatings play a major role by performing a variety of functions, such as release air, modify rheology, improve scratch resistance, prevent damage UV radiation and release air.

5. Solvents

Over the past few decades, the use of solvents in automotive refinish coatings has declined greatly as consumers are moving more towards waterborne and high solids coatings. Still solvents are an important ingredient in coatings formulations, because solvents can assist in film formation, reduce viscosity, allow multiple coats to blend together in the course of application and allow the coating to flow efficiently over the substrate. In modern automotive refinish coatings, all of these materials combine together to differentiate, beautify and protect vehicles.

Emerging Automotive Refinish Coatings Technology Being Adopted Globally

The reason behind the evolution of worldwide market for automotive coatings is the rising demand for automotive refinish coatings in the automotive industry. Automotive refinish coatings enhances the appearance of vehicles and also improves their durability, along with growing demand for recreational vehicles and increase in the number of vehicle collisions on a large scale.

The repair centers and automotive body shops uses automotive refinish coatings for refinishing the vehicles. Automotive refinish coatings are far superior to the conventional coatings, which are non-biodegradable and harmful to the environment. Automotive refinish coating is a perfect solution to such problems, as it is an environment-friendly technology.