Technology at Axalta builds on more than 150 years of developing innovative coatings by creating durable products that protect, increase productivity and offer beautiful color across the wide range of products and services we provide to our customers.

Those benefits also translate into how our coatings improve our customers’ performance and productivity, both when applying our coatings and by enabling the materials protected by our coatings to last longer. When our customers’ products last longer, the demand on natural resources to produce replacements is reduced.

Technology Strategy

Technology development at Axalta begins with vision and voice. We forecast long-term coatings needs based on an understanding of our customers and their consumers, regulatory requirements and global sustainability goals that could drive the need for new products and services. These factors drive the need for product enhancements and for new coating products and systems and initiate product research and development. We manage technology development by using a rigorous and disciplined stage-gate® process from inception to product launch. This investment in a global, cross-functional approach for new product developments and modifications to existing products improve the value of our technology portfolio. At the end of 2017, our decades-long technology strategy has resulted in more than 774 granted patents, 400 trademarks and 194 pending patent applications.

Patents and Trademark Infographic

We are a leader in developing products with reduced environmental and toxicity footprints such as waterborne liquid coatings, low-to-zero VOC- and low-to-zero HAPs-compliant liquid and powder coatings as well as coatings that do not use tin, formaldehyde or chromate in their formulation. In some instances, Axalta products such as Eloxal™ and Vacuprime®, a primer that is used to replace the use of chrome, offer customers substitutes for traditional coatings that have a larger environmental footprint. Our approach is dictated by customer preferences, existing and emerging legislative controls on hazardous materials and by our own desire to produce more environmentally responsible coatings.

Engaging Technology Stakeholders

Axalta invests in strategic partnerships with several universities and technology development institutes for projects aligned with our interests in color, appearance, coatings application and delivering anti-corrosion performance without the use of hazardous materials.

25 Papers and Techincal Presentations
Sven Radek, Application Technology Manager for Axalta’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, presented at the 24th annual DFO European Automotive Coating conference in Braunschweig, Germany. He shared our company’s selection of Harmonized Coating Technologies™, a line of coating application processes integrating primers, base coats and clear coats that can cut application costs, save on material, and reduce environmental footprint for light vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Meagan Goff, Axalta Senior Engineer, spoke at the Waterborne Symposium in New Orleans, attended by coatings manufacturers, raw material suppliers and academic researchers. Her talk was part of a short course in waterborne formulation and reviewed the fundamentals of waterborne pigment dispersions and methods of preventing pigment flocculation.
Axalta Technical Fellow Dr. Michael Koerner provided a review of rheological measurement techniques and their application to formulation of automotive coatings at the annual Future of Coatings Under Study (FOCUS) conference in Troy, Michigan. The conference was attended by specialists from the automotive coatings industry including vehicle and coatings manufacturers and raw material suppliers.
Dr. Kyle Price, Axalta Senior Scientist, presented at the 2016 American Chemical Society (ACS) fall national meeting in Philadelphia on how intrinsic mechanical and thermo-mechanical properties of films affect their ability to resist scratch and mar damage. With over 12,000 attendees, the ACS meeting is one of the largest conferences focusing on cutting-edge chemical research and the impact it has on our lives.

Professional Organizations

Each year our scientists participate on more than 20 academic and industry association technical committees and attend more than 50 conferences. During 2016 and 2017, Axalta scientists delivered more than 25 papers and technical presentations and contributed to a myriad of industry trade and general news publications to offer professional insights into many aspects of the coatings industry. We believe in external engagement to source new ideas that can lead to breakthrough technologies and manufacturing processes. Axalta papers, publications and participation in scientific and professional bodies also help advance the company’s reputation, enabling us to recruit top talent in the highly competitive technology disciplines required to sustain a strong pipeline of talent to fill and develop for the future.

Academic Outreach

Axalta undertakes collaborative research at more than a dozen universities and institutions in Asia, Europe and the Americas on topics ranging from applications of coatings to fundamental studies of corrosion protection, color and polymerization. By investing in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels, Axalta is committed to help the next generation of scientists and engineers and our local communities for future success.

Dr. Lei Qiao addressing the Indonesia National Polymer Coatings Association
Dr. Lei Qiao, Refinish Technology Director of Axalta Asia-Pacific, introduced Axalta’s innovation in waterborne coatings at the National Polymer Symposium XI hosted by Indonesian Polymer Association in collaboration with leading universities and government institutions. The symposium was attended by around 100 researchers, lecturers and industry practitioners who shared their knowledge on latest polymer technology innovation which can be synergized to improve global competitiveness of the ASEAN economic community.
U Penn 2016 and 2017 and photos with Nocera and Hawker
Left to right: Joanne Hardy, Axalta’s R&D Director, Dr. Craig J. Hawker, Director of the California Nanosystems Institute, Dow Materials Institute and Facility Director of the Materials Research Lab at UC Santa Barbara and Dr. Gary A. Molander, Professor and Department Chair, Department of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Hawker lectured on The Power of Organic Chemistry in Polymer Synthesis: Translation of Basic Materials Research into Social Benefits.
U Penn 2016 and 2017 and photos with Nocera and Hawker
Left to right: Dr. Dan Nocera, Lecture Speaker and Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy at Harvard University and Dr. Barry Snyder, Axalta's Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. Dr. Nocera lectured on Artificial Photosynthesis for Generating Liquid Fuels and Biomass from Water and CO2.

We partner with top-tier chemical, materials science and engineering programs at leading universities around the world. In Philadelphia, the Axalta Distinguished Lecture Series at the University of Pennsylvania is part of an ongoing program of cooperation and interaction between scientists and technical staff members of Axalta’s Global Innovation Center and the Department of Chemistry of the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Speakers have included leaders in their scientific field.

In 2016, Axalta and University of Michigan unveiled a new partnership to benefit the research and education missions of the University by continuing to develop and create innovative job opportunities. The greater Detroit area is one of Axalta’s home towns and support for the university also reflects our commitment to the community. We operate one of our largest manufacturing facilities in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, employ dozens of people in offices in nearby Clinton Township and serve many customers who call the area home to their headquarters or have manufacturing facilities in the area.

Investing in Technology

In 2017, Axalta spent $180 million, or about 4 percent of sales, on technology. The scope of technology includes fundamental research and development (R&D) to create new products as well as enhancements to existing products and customer support.


Allocate more than 65 percent of technology spending through 2022 to develop products that are designed to result in sustainability benefits such as lower VOC emissions, reduced waste and energy savings.

Building for the Future

During 2016 and 2017, Axalta took a strategic approach in building new or enhancing existing research and development facilities. We invested in our Global Innovation Center (GIC) located at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia, three Regional Technology Centers, and individual country laboratories across the globe.

Global Innovation Center at the Navy Yard Philadelphia.
Global Innovation Center at the Navy Yard Philadelphia.
Global Innovation Center at the Navy Yard Philadelphia.
Global Innovation Center at the Navy Yard Philadelphia.
Global Innovation Center at the Navy Yard Philadelphia.
Global Innovation Center at the Navy Yard Philadelphia.

When it opens in the fourth quarter of 2018, the GIC will be the hub of Axalta’s global research, product development and technology initiatives and will partner with our three Regional Technology Centers. Equipped with world-class capabilities and talent—more than 1,300 scientists, engineers and staff around the world—Axalta will deliver technology and products designed to meet customer needs in practical, proactive and sustainable ways, whether in application know-how, color technology or polymer and formulation chemistry. The GIC incorporates technology and design features that meet LEED principles. To ensure that we minimize our energy use, we have optimized energy performance in the building by 16 percent by installing energy efficient HVAC and lighting systems incorporating LEDs wherever possible. The GIC building also has sub-meters installed in each tenant space, which enhances our ability to track our overall energy use and provides opportunities for our tenants to incorporate measures that may reduce their individual energy use. The GIC will also have low flow water faucets within sub-tenant spaces as well as shared areas such as in lavatories, reducing our water use by 40 percent.

Regional technology centers will enhance our coatings products for Light Vehicle, Commercial Vehicle, Refinish and Industrial customers, taking into consideration requirements determined by local production requirements, and regulatory and environmental factors that need to be addressed by coating formulations.

In the five years since Axalta Coatings System established its global corporate headquarters in Philadelphia, the company has become a leader in the regional business community, particularly when it comes to corporate social responsibility. By developing its new Global Innovation Center at the Navy Yard, Axalta has demonstrated its commitment to creating high-quality jobs, investing in Philadelphia, and advancing sustainability in its new product technologies and building development.
John Grady, President, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation
John Grady
Asia-Pacific Technology Center, Shanghai, China
Asia-Pacific Technology Center, Shanghai, China
Americas Technology Center and manufacturing site, Mt. Clemens, Michigan, USA
Americas Technology Center and manufacturing site, Mt. Clemens, Michigan, USA
European Technology Center- Wuppertal, Germany
European Technology Center, Wuppertal, Germany
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