Digital application of automotive coatings

03 September 2021

2D printing technology offers automotive and coatings manufacturers great opportunities to combine precise digital application of coatings with flexible, customised production. The result is an efficient coating with the quality of a conventional spray application. Covestro supports customers and partners in the transition to the modern process with its extensive expertise in digital printing technology and with Desmodur® polyurethane raw materials.

Covestro will showcase the development during Digital Expo 2021, September 14-16. For more explanations, join the webinar with digital printing and coatings experts Dr. Fabian Schuster and Dr. Inga Noll on September 15 starting at 3 pm CEST.

In conventional automotive OEM coating, multi-layer, 1- or 2-component coatings are typically applied by spray. Polyurethane coatings based on Desmodur®hardeners from Covestro used for this purpose feature proven good chemical, scratch and weather resistance, they are high-gloss and represent the state of the art in automotive OEM coatings.

However, spray application causes overspray and high energy consumption during drying, but above all during conditioning of the process air. In addition, in the case of multicolour painting, the painted body parts have to be masked with films at great expense for protection. If, in the future, paints with different functions are to be applied that are particularly resistant to UV radiation, bird droppings or stone chips, for example, the process becomes even more complex.

Digital printing makes efficient use of coating quantities, and there is no overspray. Car manufacturers can also dispense with covering steps, thus reducing investment costs for painting equipment. Instead, individual colours and functions can be implemented efficiently. Aliphatic Desmodur® raw materials ensure non-yellowing coatings with additional, proven benefits.

The project is part of a comprehensive program with which Covestro is systematically driving forward digitalization. One of the three pillars of the "[email protected]" programme is the development of new business models and digital technical services. One focus area is a more efficient production at customers and the digitisation of entire value chains. The two other pillars of the programme are focused on digital operating processes in the company’s own production and the development and use of digital chemical trading platforms.

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