DETROIT - PPG Industries Inc. spotlighted a number of automotive-coatings technology developments at the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit, including systems designed to increase the efficiency of new-car finishing processes, lessen the environmental impact of the coating process, and make finishes more durable and attractive.

The company said it is working with automakers around the world to produce new high-performance pretreatments and corrosion-inhibitor, primer-surfacer, sound-deadener, color, and clear coatings.

Materials and processes highlighted by PPG included the following.

  • An environmentally benign sound-deadening coating, designed to replace hand-installed acoustic pads.
  • The Nupal pretreatment, an organic compound launched in August 1999 that is free of the nickel, chrome and nitrite found in conventional pretreatments. The product also reduces steps in the pretreatment process as much as 50% and reduces water consumption substantially, the company said.
  • The Enviro-Prime 2000 lead-free electrodeposition corrosion-inhibiting pri-mer that eliminates the tiny amount of lead (about 1.5% in a cured coating) in conventional e-coats. The company said the epoxy-crosslinked urethane, being adopted at several auto plants, further reduces previously minimal VOC emissions, is HAP compliant, and covers more efficiently and cures at lower temperatures to reduce energy consumption and carbon-dioxide emissions. The lead-free e-coat is also compatible with the company's Power-Prime two-bath e-coat system. The Power-Prime system applies a corrosion-inhibiting coating, and then an e-coat primer. The system emits nearly no VOCs.
  • The BRP-HD 100%-solids, VOC-free epoxy sound-deadener coating, applied by robotic spray to permit varying coating thickness on specific areas for optimal performance and cost benefits. Sprayed on floors, doors, roofs, firewalls and wheel wells, it replaces die-cut acoustic padding, which is expensive to install and inventory.
  • A "third-generation" low-VOC Envirobase latex-acrylic waterborne color basecoat that accommodates a broader temperature and humidity range in application and cure to reduce energy costs and carbon dioxide emissions.
  • CeramiClear clearcoat, a unique chemistry that PPG said provides excellent mar resistance and enhances the color coat's brilliance. The product resists such finish-appearance hazards as swirls from car washing, key dings around door locks, and degradation from intense sunlight, acid rain and salt air, the company said.
  • PPG said its is also developing a lower-cost "global" powder clearcoat, expanding on its Enviracryl coating that the company asserts is the world's first successful automotive powder clearcoat, introduced two years ago on BMWs made in Germany.