Vehicle lightweighting continues to be a major focus within the automotive industry, as lighter vehicles improve fuel economy and reduce tailpipe emissions. Various materials that are lighter than steel, such as plastics, carbon fiber and nylons, are used to make body panels, bumpers, side mirror housings and other vehicle parts.

Coating Technology That Sticks

Side Mirror
Plastics and other lightweight materials are increasingly used on vehicle components such as mirrors and bumpers.

Traditional primers are formulated to adhere to metals. The challenge has been to create a single prime product that will adhere to the entire range of new lightweight substrates. Axalta’s Hyperdur™ 3000S universal adhesion promoter meets this industry challenge and does so with many benefits that support the sustainability goals of our customers.

  • The chemistry of Hyperdur 3000S is formulated to emit fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than alternative products while still providing an excellent final appearance.
  • Customers have reported the ability to reduce the amount of primer by as much as 20 percent, conserving resources while continuing to maintain the desired film thickness.
  • The product’s mid-grey color allows for improved hiding under silver and white base coats compared to conventional black adhesion promoters, reducing the amount of paint needed at the next stage of coating.
  • Because Hyperdur 3000S adheres to a variety of materials, vehicle manufacturers can streamline their supply chain by painting these lightweight parts in-house rather than source them from multiple specialty suppliers.
At the 2016 International Forum on Automobile Materials hosted by the China Automotive Technology & Research Center in Beijing, Dr. Fucheng Yan, Product Director, Axalta Greater China explained how Axalta’s latest generation coatings can support the development of lightweight vehicles, as well as reduce the environmental footprint of vehicle manufacture using energy saving technologies and non-hazardous materials.
At the 2016 International Forum on Automobile Materials hosted by the China Automotive Technology & Research Center in Beijing, Dr. Fucheng Yan, Product Director, Axalta Greater China explained how Axalta’s latest generation coatings can support the development of lightweight vehicles, as well as reduce the environmental footprint of vehicle manufacture using energy saving technologies and non-hazardous materials.

Coating Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is a lightweight yet strong material that presents several special coating challenges. Coatings must be flexible and work with the woven structure of carbon fiber, sometimes to create a smooth appearance and other times to allow the carbon fiber’s texture to show through. Each solution calls for different technology.

  • Factory-applied Hyperdyne™ primers are designed to fill in gaps in the weave to produce a smooth surface, so color base coats and clear coats can be applied on top and deliver a smooth surface and finish. Special chemistry makes all the coating layers flexible so that they can bend when the carbon fiber flexes, a natural property of this material.
  • Special clear coat formulations have been developed for applications where the carbon fiber is intended to show through. These coatings are applied directly to carbon composite to showcase the weave appearance and substrate technology in a visual form for design or aesthetic purposes. These clear coats must cover—but not obscure the texture of—the weave while protecting the carbon fiber from degradation due to ultraviolet radiation. The clear coats also protect the finish from other environmental elements.

High Performance on the Track

F1 car on the track
The new Silver Arrow car with Axalta’s Spies Hecker coatings
F1 car being sprayed with Spies Hecker
Axalta’s Spies Hecker coating being applied on the Silver Arrow

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport uses Axalta’s Spies Hecker products on the new Silver Arrow for the Formula One™ 2018 season—the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+. Where speed of application and every ounce counts, Spies Hecker is applied on the sensitive carbon fiber components with minimum coats, allowing for maximum performance.

“It takes about 150 hours to paint a race car, with the nose and rear wing each taking about 12 hours, so the speed of application and reliability is essential. We don't have time to accept anything less than perfect and Spies Hecker delivers that for us.”
Andrew Moody, Head of Paint and Graphics, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport
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