Evolving automotive coatings market creates new coatings demands

The automotive industry is changing. BASF’s coatings division’s Sean McKeon, vice president of global key account management, and David Cranfill, technical director for OEMs, share their views on how the latest trends will affect automotive coatings systems.

Interview: Evolving automotive coatings market creates new coatings demands. Source: karlandreasgross – Fotolia.com

What are the current trends in automotivecoatings?

Sean McKeon: The automotive coatings market is continuallyevolving. We have to innovate our design, application, and performance to stayahead of the curve. BASF is moving beyond paint to the entire spectrum ofsurface solutions. We treat various types of surfaces that require specificproperties: we colour them, we protect them, and we make them functional.Functional coatings will be an important enabler as the industry adoptsdriver-assist and autonomous driving technologies.

For colourand design, BASF expects automakers to ask for more deeply saturated colours –like rich blues – to help them claim their place in the market. Additionally,coatings will need to resist corrosion more than ever, while reducing overallwaste and cost. We’re going to continue to see more of a mixed substratesystem: more aluminium, carbon fibre, etc. As automakers change their products,coatings will have to adapt.                                                  


How will the latest societal developments, i.e.autonomous driving, shared driving, etc., influence automotive coatings?

David Cranfill: As companies explore connected autonomousvehicles and new alternative powertrains, coatings need to adapt. BASF’ssurface solutions will give those vehicle surfaces new functions. Coatings willhave to reflect LiDAR and RADAR and interact seamlessly with various autonomoussensors, adding to the reliability of the entire transportation eco-system.

The shifttoward alternative electric powertrains and away from fossil fuels puts thefocus on new technology, the environment, and sustainability. Sustainability isa value that BASF shares with its business partners. Coatings will have tohandle the heat management requirements around batteries and electric motors.At the same time, external coatings with infrared-reflective pigments will keepthe cabin cooler to reduce the need for extra energy to power air conditioning.That lets the car go farther on a single charge.

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