Axalta’s Harmonized Coating Technologies™ provide light vehicle OEMs with coating formulations and application systems designed to increase productivity, save energy and reduce costs in vehicle manufacture. The traditional automotive OEM painting process requires three separate baking ovens to cure each layer of coating – primer, basecoat and top coat – and bake ovens or flash zones to dry each layer. Together these manufacturing phases can account for an estimated 70 percent of an automotive assembly plant’s energy consumption.
The 3-Wet System, Eco-Concept, and 2-Wet Monocoat Harmonized Coating Technologies described below illustrate Axalta’s strength in providing a systems-based approach to customers. Our goal is to recognize opportunities for customers, then work toward designing more advanced coatings formulations and application systems, and offer proper training that will help realize potential productivity and sustainability gains.
The 3-Wet System uses a specially formulated water-based coating that enables successive coats to be applied on top of the prior coat while still wet, or that require only a minimal “flash” dry step between coats. This innovation allows the light vehicle manufacturers to replace larger baking ovens with smaller, lower-energy flash zones and can result in substantial savings in energy-related operating costs and reduced capital expenditures associated with the installation of baking ovens. An alternative high solid solventborne formulation is also available for use in facilities that operate older production systems or to achieve certain colors and effects.
Our Eco-Concept process creates added efficiencies by combining the primer and basecoat, which is then followed by an application of the clear coat. This two-step process eliminates a layer and baking stage compared to the traditional painting process, creating an effectively primerless coating system.
2-Wet Monocoat System
Axalta’s 2-Wet Monocoat System for light vehicle OEMs combines the paint performance of a clearcoat-over-basecoat system with the productivity of a monocoat process. The process begins with a layer of 2-Wet primer followed by a no-heat, ambient flash. The vehicle is then coated with the 2-Wet Monocoat coating followed by a bake cycle. Coating applications are reduced from three to two and the number of drying steps from two to one. By removing steps in the painting process, the 2-Wet Monocoat System is designed to increase productivity with reduced energy use and paint shop footprint.
The desired monocoat appearance is achieved with a hyper-branched acrylic polymer formulated to provide high-quality appearance and durability. Formulation tools were also developed to match the full set of required attributes in combination with the wet primer layer. Advanced weathering tests have shown that paint applied with our 2-Wet technology retains as much as 90 percent of its gloss after four years compared to one percent gloss retention for paint applied using a conventional monocoat process.