PPG Industries (Troy, MI) recently launched its Dura-Prime electrocoat, a lead-free technology that provides protection against UV degradation and helps automakers reduce costs associated with the application process by eliminating the need for a primer surfacer layer. It provides the same level of protection against corrosion and chipping as current electrocoat technologies, the company says.

The product was commercialized by PPG in Kedah, Malaysia, at Inokom Corp., a joint venture of Renault, Hyundai Motor Co., Hyumal Motor, Berjaya Group Berhad and Pesumals. The manufacturer is applying the coatings technology to its line of vans and trucks.

According to PPG, the E-coat yields significant savings in materials, labor, maintenance and repairs, as well as waste disposal. With low VOCs and HAPs, it helps decrease pollution levels while increasing throughput and improving the consistency and quality of paint application.

As part of the technology validation process, PPG coated several vehicles with Dura-Prime at its Electrocoat Development Center in Flint, MI. The vehicles were evaluated at various automaker test tracks for chip resistance and early signs of corrosion and UV degradation. Initial research revealed that the coating was so resilient to UV degradation that it required PPG to develop a new accelerated test procedure, PPG says.

The technology can be easily incorporated into an automaker’s existing facility with slight equipment modifications and can be used in conjunction with commercial topcoat technologies, says Robert White, global director, substrate protection systems for PPG. It provides the potential to greatly reduce the paint shop footprint when implemented in a newly constructed facility or during a plant reconfiguration.