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Friday, 06 December 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Applications, Automotive coatings

Automotive coatings: "Adhere to radar regulations"

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

The market for automotive coatings is currently under pressure. However, there is no time to rest and the need for innovations is high. We spoke with experts from BASF Coatings and DSM Coatings about automation and digitisation and other trends in the automotive sector.

Digitisation, Sustainability, autonomous driving. The market for automotive coatings is changing. (Source: romaset - stock.adobe.com)

Digitisation, Sustainability, autonomous driving. The market for automotive coatings is changing. (Source: romaset - stock.adobe.com)

Ralf Otte, Head of Marketing at BASF Coatings sees a great opportunity in digitation. He says: "Using digital technologies and data allows us to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our processes and creates additional added value for our customers.” This means, as he explains, that it is easier to connect with customers and optimise service and quality control.

Johnson Zeng, APAC Marketing Leader at DSM Coatings, has a similar view. He says: "Better supply chains and improved manufacturing may also have an impact on the automotive coatings sector which makes forecast and maintenance easier.”

Ralf Otte BASF Coatings

Ralf Otte, Head of Marketing at BASF Coatings.

Digitisation and end user demand

Digitisation is especially changing the market because it changes the end consumers behaviour. "The influence of digitisation on the process of consumers’ purchasing decisions, as well as new channels such as virtual exhibition halls, will bring more and more diversified individual demands”, he explains.

BASF is actually taking steps in that direction as Ralf Otte explains. "Digitalisation has a great influence on one of our core competencies – colour and design”, he says and adds: "It allows colour to be experienced in virtual form. For example, with ‘Auroom’ we offer a tool that digitally visualises coatings including complex effects on 3D geometries for colour assessment.”  

Johnson Zeng, DSM Coatings

Johnson Zeng, APAC Marketing Leader at DSM Coatings

Self driving cars and coatings

Of course, digitisation is not the only trend in automotive coatings. Johnson Zeng from DSM thinks that autonomous driving will have a big influence: "Coatings could help in signal recognition for sensors and may help developing such solutions.” Ralf Otte from BASF Coatings agrees and adds: "The development process for colours will need to change in order to adhere to radar regulations, presenting our designers and colour labs with entirely new challenges."

"Climate protection is another megatrend and is reflected in the demand for sustainable solutions in the automotive industry”, explains Otte and adds: With the biomass balance approach, for instance, BASF has developed a concept with which fossil raw materials are replaced by renewable resources. Zeng even gos farther and thinks that "solar coatings and reflective coatings which help in green energy generation and energy efficiency” could play a role in the future.

The interview was conducted by Jan Gesthuizen

More information

This article is based on a more detailed interview from the European Coatings Journal 10/2019. The interview is available online for subscribers at European Coatings 360°.

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