Surface coating is loner a matter of providing finish to the outside surface of an automotive product. Instead this industry has developed into an innovative solution provider.
Automotive coatings are used to coat metal and plastic parts of an automobile. Pradeep Kumar Verma, Regional Steering Unit Manager – Acoustic & Structural, Henkel IMEA, says, “Coatings enrich the appearance and durability of a vehicle by improving corrosion performance. They also protect the vehicle from various damaging factors such as extreme temperature, UV radiation, foreign particles and acid rain.”
Kumar shares a research report by transparencymarketresearch.com that states the global automotive coatings market is expected to witness significant growth during the period 2014-2020. The factors supplementing the growth are increased competition among players, growing demand for vehicles, supportive government policies, development of transportation infrastructure and rapid economic growth. Asia-Pacific accounts for the largest share of the automotive coatings market. Europe is presently the second-largest automotive coatings market in the world, while North America is predicted to surpass it in the coming years owing to a significant boost in the production of vehicles. The report also mentions that the ongoing product development and rising research and development investments are likely to boost the demand for automotive coating.
The automotive industry is faced with a continual surge in fuel prices. Moreover, these days, consumers are progressively demanding automobiles with improved fuel efficiency. While alternative sources of fuel are available, automobile manufacturers across the world are increasingly exploring and conducting research on solutions that can reduce the weight of automobiles and enhance fuel efficiency.
Kumar says, “The automotive industry has been witnessing a rise in the usage of plastic content in vehicles (which cannot be welded); thus, encouraging the use of adhesives.” The production of lightweight automobiles has also led to an increased demand for adhesives, which are replacing welded joints, mechanical fasteners, and gaskets to help reduce the weight of vehicles. Nowadays, sealants are used as substitutes to mechanical gaskets in automobiles owing to their resistance to corrosion and chemicals. The use of structural adhesives, which are lightweight and crash worthy, in vehicle assembly, has facilitated the market’s growth.
The global automotive coatings, adhesives, and sealants market is predicted to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.59 per cent from 2013 to 2018, according to The Global Automotive Coatings, Adhesives, and Sealants Market 2014-2018. Electronics in automobiles have grown substantially in the last decade and are only expected to increase as cars become more intelligent, energy-efficient, safer and more comfortable. “With more functions comes the need for more advanced electronics, which require high-reliability materials that can cope with a variety of automotive applications,” explains Kumar .
Automotive OEMs are in search of technologies that solve problems and differentiate their vehicles in the marketplace. Kumar excerpts, “Trends that are driving the automotive coatings today are environmental regulations, the need for productivity, overall outstanding appearance, and various other product features that consumers evaluate, such as durable trending colours and effects. In addition, lightweighting, corrosion control, fuel efficiency and emission control, NVH are some of the trends that are changing the automotive industry coatings dynamics.”
Use of alternate substrates other than steel are also helping to increase demand for automotive coatings, as it helps to allow use of multiple substrates and simplify assembly process.
“Henkel is the industry leader in automotive adhesives, sealants and coatings. For more than 75 years, our extensive product line has been used to support automotive manufacturing around the globe and has helped make Henkel the single source for automotive chemical solutions. In addition, we are driving the rapid advancement of improved techniques for automotive interiors as well as exteriors. Supported by the international reputation for innovative research and development, Henkel continuously designs new specialty products for vehicle applications,” Kumar says.
Henkel’s automotive coatings have been developed for proven performance the first time, every time. Henkel's resin dry film products from Emralon® PTFE, Molydag® MoS2 and DAG® graphite pigments provide clean, dry, lifetime lubrication in countless applications. Coatings are automotive industry specified and contribute to the smooth, dependable operation of thousands of automotive components. Henkel’s LOCTITE® and TEROSON brands offer a comprehensive range of products to ensure the reliability of mechanical assemblies.
Henkel’s interiors products range from chrome-free, environmentally sustainable surface treatments to water-based adhesives and low micro-emission, hot-melt lamination adhesives. Henkel’s interior products are used for:
Henkel’s solutions have a presence in virtually all OEMs. Kumar says, “It is noteworthy that we work with most OEMs at the design stage before the launch of a vehicle.” Henkel also supports in globally rolling out of technology along with OEMs for the launch of a new vehicle. The solutions for automotive interiors offer many key benefits for suppliers such as greater design freedom; reduced capital expenses for tooling and assembly; fewer parts and lower inventory; simplified, flexible assembly; and shorter cycle times.
Recently, Henkel launched Acoustic lab for India’s Automotive and General Industry. Henkel unveiled an acoustic lab at its Pune Innovation Centre. This new acoustic lab will enable Henkel India to offer cutting-edge solutions to meet the evolving and challenging requirements of customers in the area of Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH). Henkel India launched the acoustics lab with ‘Henkel Innovation Day – Acoustic Structural’ summit for the automotive and general industry. The summit witnessed industry experts give insights on innovations in the automotive industry, acoustic trends, and crash safety norms.
Henkel’s acoustic lab is a world class facility with an anechoic and a reverberation chamber. The lab will facilitate vehicle and component level testing for different applications as per international standards. It will also help meet high level product validation tests based on customer requirements. Henkel’s trained team of engineers analyse acoustic material properties of structures and panels to determine their effectiveness in automotive, off-road equipment and appliance applications. With the latest equipment and software, to perform measurements and analysis, Henkel is able to offer full capabilities including Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and lab testing.
The new acoustic lab is situated at Henkel’s Innovation Center in Pune, India’s automotive and industrial hub. Established in 2013, the Pune Innovation Center has helped improve customers’ processes through innovations, made them more efficient and enabled cost savings. the Center caters to over 800 industrial OEMs. With the new acoustic NVH capabilities, the Center will provide a boost to the existing simulated environment for the automotive, off-road equipment and appliance industry portfolio’s acoustic structures.
Speaking on the ocassion, Shilip Kumar, Country President, Henkel India and Business Director, Transportation Metal SBU, Henkel IMEA said, “Both noise and vibration play a crucial role in a vehicles quality. Automotive OEMs have started developing vehicles with competitive NVH performance in shorter design cycles, and at lower development and vehicle costs. At Henkel, we put our customers at the centre of what we do and work closely with them to develop solutions to challenges faced by them. At this acoustic lab we will collaborate with our customers by solving NVH problems.”
Henkel sees the market expanding especially in Asia and IMEA not only from demand perspective but also from the viewpoint of improved car quality. Though small cars will still dominate but there will be a shift towards higher growth for medium to luxury segments. Though new crash and emissions norms will provide some challenge but it will help innovation and lead to an increased usage of Acoustics & Structural applications. Kumar shares, “In conclusion, the
content of our products per vehicle will increase to boost growth beyond market growth.”
Recently Henkel has seen a lot of unpredictability due to ban of diesel vehicles leading to a shift in customer preference as well as unpredictability about the future. This poses a challenge for the tailor-made solutions Henkel offers to specific vehicles.
“More importantly, environmental concerns and regulatory pressures provide us an opportunity to innovate and design alternative solutions, and help OEMs meet these challenges,” Kumar said.
Henkel’s automotive component applications
“Henkel’s automotive coatings have been developed for proven performance the first time, every time.”
- Pradeep Kumar Verma,
Regional Steering Unit Manager – Acoustic & Structural, Henkel IMEA