Waterborne Impregnating Resins
With air quality concerns continuing to be a major issue in China, every industry, whether regulated or not, is looking for ways to make a positive difference. This is true for Axalta and our customers served by our Energy Solutions business, too.
China has one of the largest electronics manufacturing industries in the world. Axalta supplies impregnating resins, wire enamels, and electrical steel coating products to support this important industry. Even though not required to reduce emissions by regulations, our customers sought ways to reduce solvent emissions, which can lead to ozone formation, from their manufacturing processes. Axalta scientists stepped in to formulate a new series of waterborne impregnating resins, now being sold under the VoltahydeTM brand name.
Axalta introduced Voltahyde 2250 T, an amino chemistry-based waterborne impregnating resin for small electronic transformer applications, and Voltahyde 2250 E, an epoxy-based waterborne impregnating resin for very small motor applications. Both provide drastic reductions in VOC content. Axalta is working closely with multiple customers to ensure a smooth introduction of these products so that all performance requirements are met and customers are able to use water-based products in facilities with equipment originally designed to apply solventborne coatings.
Reducing VOCs for Trucks in China
In China, regulations specify that new vehicle assembly plants be engineered to use waterborne coatings by incorporating stainless steel and other materials into their designs. Axalta has been instrumental in helping customers meet increased demands from automotive and commercial vehicle manufacturers in China for waterborne coatings that are formulated to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds.
In 2014, Axalta worked closely with Foton Daimler, a leading manufacturer of heavy duty trucks in China, to provide the first full layer waterborne coating system in China. The new process reduced VOC emissions at the plant by an estimated 70 percent compared to conventional coatings and met the strict environmental regulations established in 2015 by the city of Beijing. The technology in Axalta’s waterborne system provided the superior coating quality and durable color finish demanded by the customer to stand up to the tough conditions its trucks encounter on the road.
Saving time and energy coating trucks
Imron® is one of Axalta’s most widely used coatings among manufacturers of commercial vehicles such as heavy duty trucks, buses, and rail stock. In 2015, Axalta introduced the latest Imron products to help customers reduce cycle time and save energy while providing a premium, durable finish. The formulation of Imron Elite EY basecoat and 8890S clear coat makes it easier to sand and polish after curing and to resist the effects of mud and acid rain on the road while providing an outstanding appearance.
The enhanced chemistry of the system enables customer manufacturing sites to benefit from improved product attributes. Customers are able to reduce the cycle time required to cure coatings by up to 33 percent, from a typical duration of 30 minutes to 20 minutes per vehicle. Further, using improved chemistry, it is also possible to reduce the curing temperature from 180°F to 160°F. When both the effects of reduced bake time and temperature are considered, sites have been able to claim significant reductions in CO2 emissions and realize energy savings from reduced energy consumption of approximately 40 percent.
The cycle time improvement of 10 fewer minutes for curing also has allowed sites to reduce bottlenecks in the paint shop and increase productivity. For example, one site was able to produce an extra eight units per shift because of increased line speed.
Lower temperature curing also makes Imron Elite EY and 8890S ideal for non-metal components that cannot be exposed to traditional high temperature curing and are used with increasing frequency to reduce vehicle weight and energy consumption by increasing the fuel economy of cars and light trucks.
Imron EY Benefits
Reducing the Impact of Coating Application
The paint application process is one of the most time-consuming and capital-intensive steps in vehicle manufacture. Axalta’s Harmonized Coating Technologies™ (HCT) provide automobile manufacturers with a variety of start-to-finish systems for the application of each layer of paint and is designed to improve productivity while reducing VOC emissions, energy consumption, and the cost of the plant and equipment.
Axalta’s 3-Wet system, one of the company’s HCTs, eliminates some of these steps. Traditional paint application processes use high-temperature and costly ovens to cure each layer of paint: a primer, a basecoat that provides the color, and a final clear topcoat that protects the finish from the elements. The first paint layer applied using 3-Wet provides the properties of a primer and is formulated to be effective in an exceptionally thin coat. After application, a high-temperature curing oven is replaced with a brief passage through a low or even ambient temperature zone. A colored basecoat is then applied while the first coat is still wet, and the clear topcoat can be applied before the basecoat has dried. While energy, time, and capital costs are saved, optimal control of the interfaces between the paint layers ensures that the paint finish continues to meet premium appearance standards.
Because of the benefits from reduced plant emissions that 3-Wet offers car manufacturers and the environment in communities where manufacturing facilities are located, we estimate that about 20 percent of the worldwide light vehicle production will be painted using such a process by 2020.
Advantages of 3-Wet Waterborne System
Eliminating an oven to dry the primer reduces the length of a paint shop by more than 1,000 feet. Axalta primers reduce the need for costly robot applicators by as much as 50 percent.
AquaEC Goes Tin-free
Electrocoats provide the first layer of protection against corrosion for metal used in vehicle production and a variety of industrial applications. Axalta’s next generation AquaEC™ electrocoats provide the next step in sustainability. Our leading-edge electrocoat technology offers advancements in product performance for extending the lifespan of the coated substrates, as well as product and process efficiencies that reduce material use, costs, and environmental impacts.
Electrocoat adheres to metal through electrodeposition. The metal being coated is submersed in a tank of E-Coat, which receives opposite electric charges creating an attraction through which the coating adheres to the metal. AquaEC offers improved throw power — the ability of the E-Coat to reach and cover all parts of the metal substrate — which allows for interior film builds to be maintained at the customer’s required level while reducing the overall exterior thickness. Reductions in material use of up to 20 percent have been achieved.
AquaEC E-Coats have evolved to keep pace with the automotive industry’s adoption of more lightweight materials, specifically aluminum. Lighter weight vehicles help increase vehicle fuel efficiency. AquaEC E-Coats have been formulated to provide enhanced corrosion performance and extend material lifespan for such lighter weight materials.
The benefits of AquaEC products are also achieved with a tin-free product. Removing tin facilitates global compliance with emerging regulatory trends such as new requirements in the EU that will restrict the use of tin and heavy metals.
A crystal clear coat from Axalta
One goal of collision repair shops is to repair and repaint as many vehicles as possible in a limited amount of time. One coating layer that has presented time constraints has been the final topcoat — the clear coating that provides not only the shine on a vehicle but the layer that protects the underlying paint from mars, ultraviolet radiation, and the harsh effects of weather.
After extensive research, Axalta’s scientists found a solution in a novel resin technology that can be mixed for application quickly and that dries and hardens faster than traditional clearcoat formulations. A new patented technology platform has been developed and adapted for selected Axalta brands that enables the final coat to dry not only more quickly but at lower temperatures, reducing energy use and associated CO2 emissions which helps to reduce the environmental impact of the coating application process.
Introduced in Europe during 2014 for use in the formulation of Axalta’s three premium brands, the proprietary resin technology of the fast-cure low-energy clearcoat provides superior performance and ultrahigh productivity without compromising appearance and ease of application. It can be applied in 1.5 passes of the spray gun, which reduces the quantity of material used and the time needed to apply it, while providing an even flow and a brilliant finish with extraordinary gloss levels. It can be used in regions where VOC emissions are tightly regulated, including the requirements of EU Directive 2004/42/EC.
Mirror-like finish of novel clearcoat chemistry.