Most common painting procedures have three painting steps: a primer layer, followed by a base color, and then a finishing layer. Three-layer systems provide the best adhesion properties and keep durability, aesthetics and resistance at a high level. In contrast, monolayer paint systems are more cost and time efficient and better ecologically speaking.
Nevertheless, OEMs rarely prefer monolayer paint systems because the morphology of most PC/ABS products is not up to the challenge, putting the durability of the application at risk and making it more sensitive to weathering and chemicals.
In a recent test one of our distribution partners discovered that Trinseo’s PULSE™ XT70 performs well in monolayer paint systems due to its optimized particle stability. PULSE™ XT70 did not result in typical paint defects such as adhesion and cohesion failure or stress cracking issues under the influence of chemicals.
In 2015, we collaborated with Resinex and FCS Fujichem Sonneborn, a leading manufacturer of coating materials, to produce hood-mounted panels for a premium mid-size SUV by a British OEM. At that time, PULSE™ XT70 was selected after the old material failed the adhesion-force test and began showing so-called fish eyes and blisters.
As the OEM’s specific colorways called for non-substrate-related paint optimization, FCS Fujichem Sonneborn recommended a thin layer coating system to apply their Chrome effect basecoat technology, and a thicker layer for their medium solids basecoat technology.
The exterior parts showed outstanding adhesion properties thanks to PULSE™ XT70, which also enabled the use of thin-layer paint system which achieved the aesthetics the OEM desired.
Since then, FCS Sonneborn has run further tests on the painting process for exterior applications made of PULSE™ XT70, and a monolayer paint system showed very promising results. Usually, this method is used for applying logos, letters, grills, bonnet and spoiler finishes. Monolayer paint systems can provide an exquisite aesthetic finish but are very sensitive to adhesion failure and substrate protection. Furthermore they can only be supplied in a limited color spectrum (darker colors and grey/silver colorways).
A full-blown paint adhesion test showed that the high quality of PULSE™ XT70 enables a flawless application of the monolayer. Moreover, screening tests against the OEM’s measurements and requirements were also performed. Test parts made of PULSE™ XT70 and painted with a monolayer paint system performed well in the following:
The OEM-specific colors medium solids basecoats and monocoats performed excellently, whereas the Chrome effect basecoat technology is more complex and require a three-layer paint system. But since the monolayer saves time, costs and waste, the OEM is highly interested in using our substrate with monolayer paint. In fact, they are currently testing PULSE™ XT70 for logos and labelings.
We consider this a breakthrough in our collaboration with both the OEM and FCS. The manufacturer is confident, that the performance of the monolayer paint system will lead to other OEMs also approving PULSE™ XT70. FCS supplies many high-class OEMs, including PSA, Renault, Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Aston Martin and McLaren.
This development clearly shows that Trinseo's know-how goes well beyond our core expertise. We view car making and automotive design as a holistic process and value cross-industry cooperations to research best-possible solutions.
If you want to know more about this case or the PULSE™ PC/ABS grades, get in touch.