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Friday, 05 June 2020
Raw materials & technologies, Applications, Automotive coatings

Automotive coatings: “There is huge potential for energy saving”

Monday, 28 January 2019

There is huge potential for energy saving in respect of automotive coatings, says Makoto Nishigami. We spoke to the Marketing Manager Performance Coating Materials at Asahi Kasei Europe about more sustainable car paints and other trends in the sector.

Automotive coatings: "There is huge potential for energy saving”. Image source: VPales -stock.adobe

Automotive coatings: "There is huge potential for energy saving”. Image source: VPales -stock.adobe

Do you see developments that could lower the energy consumption of automotive coatings?

Makoto Nishigami: Activities to reduce CO2 emissions are ongoing globally. Against that background, we believe there is huge potential for energy saving in respect of automotive coatings as well. One method that we see is the use of a low-energy drying process for integrated painting of composite materials with the car body. With this goal in mind, we are currently developing a blocked isocyanate which can be cured, as well as a low-viscosity isocyanate which helps to enhance the appearance even when lower process temperatures are used.

What are the hurdles in the way of returning to more water-borne systems in automotive coatings?

BB_Makoto Nishigami_Asahi Kasei.jpg V

Makoto Nishigami

Marketing Manager Performance Coating Materials, Asahi Kasei Europe

Nishigami: The development of water-borne systems featuring an equivalent or even better performance as that of current solvent-borne systems is very important, but at the same time it is also very difficult. One of our focuses is on developing a new product that can contribute to achieving the same performance level.

Where do you see the largest potential for even more sustainable automotive coatings?

Nishigami: As a manufacturer of coating materials, we believe that raw materials for coatings which contribute to a reduced carbon footprint will be received very well by the market. For automotive manufacturers, this would be an important step towards achieving a zero-emissions manufacturing process.

What impact do you expect trends like electric cars and self-driving vehicles to have on the automotive coatings industry?

Nishigami: As artificial intelligence technology continues to improve, car usage will shift from privately owned cars to shared cars. As car sharing grows in popularity, one car will be used by many different users. This development will increase the demand for coatings which help to improve long-term durability against scratches and to keep the car body in a clean and attractive condition. At the same time, we are seeing a decrease in demand for colour variations. This development may provide a chance for wrapping film around the car body, because it can be replaced and therefore scratches can be easily removed.

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