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Automotive Coatings play an essential role in the automotive industry. Along with increasing the aesthetic look of the vehicle it also acts as a preventive extra protection layer to the exterior body of an automobile.
The Car colour is made up of four different functional layers, coated using specific techniques, with a certain time-gap between them. These different layers are required to shield the car surface from various external forces that are routinely subjected to climatic forces such as rain, snow, fog, heat, cold, humidity, UV radiation and pollution that cause physical damage to the car.
Furthermore, gravel, mud and tree branches that collide with the car, as well as brushes used for cleaning can all scratch the car surface.
The Metallic Automotive colour is driven by the Metallic effect pigments which provide brilliant, shiny car colours that enhance the perception of curvature of the car body. These pigments have taken automotive colour styling to a new level. However, to achieve the maximum visual effect of the flat, plate-like metallic pigments, the pigments must align parallel to the painted surface.
Compared to 30 years ago, the problem of corrosion is almost alleviated, and the durability and appearance of the topcoats have become acceptable for the lifetime of a car. In fact, with the worldwide emergence of two-layer topcoats, the colour, gloss, and chip resistance of automobile coating remain in relatively excellent condition during the first 7–10 years of an automobile’s use. Aesthetic features are also trending with automotive fashions.
One solution to the emission of VOCs has been the replacement of liquid coatings with coatings in the form of dry, particulate solids, commonly called “powder” coatings. Their compositions contain exceptionally low concentrations of volatile solvents, on the order of 2%, substantially less than any other paint system.
The powder used is a mixture of fine particles of pigment and resin that is electrostatically sprayed onto the surface to be coated. The charged powder particles adhere to the electrically grounded surfaces until the powder is heated and fused into a smooth coating in the curing oven.
One approach has already been successfully established—a wet-on-wet-on-wet-system (3-wet) that mostly eliminates the primer oven in the coating process. Waterborne, 3-wet paint systems have been developed to reduce VOCs and CO2 emissions. These systems apply the primer coat, then basecoat and finally the clearcoat, after which curing is accomplished in only one oven.
Pre -Pandemic, in 2014 in the United States, it is estimated that 129 million pounds of polyurethane coatings were used by the automotive industry. This comprises approximately 72 million pounds by OEMs and another 57 million pounds by the auto refinishing industry.
Post COVID, the automotive industry is reeling under unprecedented economic loss owing to the shutdown of total operations and services globally earlier due to lockdowns and now due to chip shortage.
The surging demand for hybrid/electric vehicles is expected to facilitate the adoption of energy-efficient automotive coatings largely. Among all the regions, Asia-Pacific is expected to remain dominant and hold the highest position in the global automotive coatings market during the forecast period.
Liquid-applied sound damping (LASD) and liquid-applied sound barrier (LASB) technologies are also emerging as major trends in the automotive industry as alternatives to traditional methods used to both protect components from damage and premature wear and to lessen unwanted noise experienced by drivers and passengers inside the cabin.
ADIs are a key component in the production of polyurethane paint and coatings applied by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) during vehicle production and by auto refinishers during repair.
Polyurethane coatings are used not only in cars, but in many other vehicles we depend upon such as buses, trucks, agricultural, construction and earth moving equipment. Other transportation uses include polyurethane coatings for aerospace, railways and marine.
The solvent-borne technology is the most widely used in the automotive coatings market, but the growth of the technology is expected to be sluggish in the future. This is due to the stringent norms and regulations imposed on volatile organic compounds such as xylene, toluene, methyl ethyl ketone and ethylbenzene which will restrain the demand for products. These substances pose a severe threat to the environment as well as to the safety of passengers being hazardous air pollutants with high toxicity and flammability.
The powder coating technology is now experiencing faster growth on account of being eco-friendly as well as providing a high-quality finish. This technology also provides advantages such as high resistance to chipping and corrosion along with protection from moisture, chemicals and heat.
There have been innovative products which act as both primer and a base coat and thus reducing the primer market alone. The clear coat normally applied on top to protect the surface from UV radiations and avoids fading out.
Electrocoats offer multiple benefits such as high corrosion resistance and protect the surface at extreme climatic conditions. It holds the highest market share and expected to witness quick growth in the segment.
The below graph shows the share of automotive coating based on coat type:
On the basis of texture type clearly metallic type is leading and expected to be the largest gainer in the future. The customer’s preference towards metallic type for glossy appearance is the factor for the demand of the metallic segment. The rise in sales of premium passenger cars boosts the metallic type.
However in the entry level and mid segment cars and the commercial vehicle segment solid texture holds upper hand.
Waterborne type is the most commonly implemented technology for the automotive coating. The waterborne technology gives out less odour, easier blending and accurate mixing making it the leader in this segment. Powder coating technology is mostly used in the premium car segment and provides high efficiency and high durability. However, due to its expensive set up cost it is limited to premium segment cars and penetration of powder coating is less in economic countries.
The solvent-borne type emits a higher percentage of harmful VOC and thus, there is a decline in the usage of this technology.
Passenger cars accounted for the largest revenue as they acquired the higher market share compared to other segments of vehicles. Light commercial vehicles acquire the next biggest share.
OEM holds the higher share in the market compared to the aftermarket channel. The OEM channel continues to be in demand with the increasing vehicle production. Availability of long lasting corrosive paints will help the growth of the market.
Increasing requirements for repair and restoration is augmenting the aftermarket channel of the coatings market. Factors such as inclination towards pre-owned cars and cost effective products are propelling the market in this segment.
In the US due to strict guidelines from National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) the powder and waterborne technologies have witnessed a rise in demand due to their reasonably low emission of VOCs.
Although 3/4th of the market is occupied by achromatic colours, unlike other regions white has seen the lowest market share with 29%. America, global leader in pickup trucks the owners are shifting towards black and chromatic colours such as red
The increase in sale of luxury and premium segment cars will boost the powder coating market in the region. Waterborne Coating has accounted for the majority of sales in the OEM segment. However, in aftermarket solvent borne coatings hold the higher share in the market.
The automotive coatings market in Europe has been affected greatly by the EuroZone crisis which has restricted the use of pollutants and harsh chemical substances in coatings. The market is now flourishing for eco-friendly coatings which make use of waterborne or powder coatings.
The Blac group based in Switzerland has been developing and manufacturing high-quality automotive solutions in high precision coatings for plastic and metal components of a vehicle. The company also develops high-quality lacquer solutions which are used by automobiles for enhancing the aesthetic appearance.
With more than 75% the achromatic colours hold the majority of share. Among these colours grey has seen the rise with about 20% market share. Nearly every fourth car in Europe features chromatic colour with blue being the single largest individual colour in the segment. The region has about 160 different shades of colours making it a frontrunner in colour diversity too.
China’s Ministry of Environment and Ecology (MEE) has launched a 3-year plan to reduce the VOC emissions by 10% by the end of 2020. This will propel the manufacturers to produce less volatile compounds. Based on passenger car colour selection 77% of market share is occupied by the achromatic colours viz. white, grey and black. And white remains dominant and has the highest share than any other region. Almost every second car in the region is found to be white.
Based on the colour selection, white still dominates the market and in 2019 47% of customers opted for white passenger cars in the region. In the mid segment cars (mostly hatchback), interestingly red is the most preferred colour.
The chart below shows the colour share in the passenger vehicle market:
The coating products with lower density help to reduce the weight of the vehicle. There is further R&D on the various compositions of chemicals that help reduce the weight and expand the coating market.
There have been continuous developments going on to reduce the VOC emissions by tweaking the composition.
The demand for different colour & texture, enhancement of sales supportive policies, and increasing purchasing power parity (PPP) in emerging economies is driving the automotive coating market. Companies such as BASF SE (Germany), Axalta Coating Systems (U.S.), PPG Industries, Inc. (U.S.), Kansai Paint Co., Ltd (Japan), Nippon Paint Holdings Co., Ltd. (Japan), The Valspar Corporation (U.S.), KCC Corporation (South Korea), Sherwin-Williams (U.S.), AkzoNobel (Netherlands), and Jotun A/S (Norway) are the key market players in the global automotive coatings market.
As COVID-19 is still a concern for outdoor activities, people’s perception that staying in a private vehicle is safer than in public transportation drives the sales of passenger cars. Recently, Axalta broke ground on the expansion project of its Jiading plant in Shanghai and the new project, when completed in 2021, will produce waterborne coatings for its south and east China customers. Axalta has one liquid coatings plant respectively in Jiading of Shanghai and Jilin, and a powder coatings plant in QingPu, Shanghai.
BASF and Entegris have signed an agreement for the sale of the Precision Microchemicals business to Entegris for $90 million.
The Precision MicroChemicals business is a part of the Surface Treatment business unit of the company’s coatings division which will operate under the Chemetall brand. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Sanyo Chemicals Industries for strategic collaboration on polyurethane dispersion development. They aim to jointly develop as well as produce innovative products with strong sustainability.
The company has extended its commercial supplier agreement with Mercedes-Benz for the Asia-Pacific region which is set to extend the company’s status with the car company to Japan, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan as well as Thailand. Under the agreement, the company will provide efficient digital colour solutions, technical support as well as world-class training solutions. The company also announced an agreement with Fit4Paint, to become their global paint accessories supplier. Fit4Paint is BMW’s private label for painting related products.
The company Nippon Paints Holding Co. Ltd announced the launch of a film manufacturing business in the Automotive coatings operations department. The company’s department has been working for the development and manufacturing of the coating technology for films on vehicles. The company has also announced the merger with Toyota Motor Corporation Frontier Research Center based in Toyota to jointly develop decorative films for photovoltaic modules.
The company PPG reported the financial results for the third quarter of the year 2021 with net sals worth $4,372 million which was a significant 19% increase from the results of the same term for the year 2020 reporting net sales worth $3,685 million. The company announced acquisition of Cetelon Lackfabrik GmbH which is a manufacturer of a wide range of coatings for automotive and light truck wheel applications.
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