What Goes into the Production of Automotive Paint and Coatings?

Courtesy of Guest Blogger Gina Tabasso, marketing director for dar-tech, inc., a regional specialty chemical and raw material distributor

Automotive paints provide both protection and decoration for automobiles. Water-based paints currently are the most common types for reduced environmental impact. Contemporary automotive paint is applied in several layers that must all work together to provide the overall desired performance. The choice of materials and formulation must be designed with the performance of each layer in mind without negatively impacting the next application step or the final appearance and performance of the paint system.

From the perspective of a distributor that sells into the paint and coatings industry, we are the middleman between the supplier of the specialty chemical or raw material and the manufacturer of the paint or coating. We act as a consultant with chemists at coatings manufacturers to help them with their formulations and offer the best solutions of combined materials to meet their formulary requirements. They develop the paint or coating formulation that is either sold direct or through a distributor to the auto manufacturer for use in their coatings process lines.

But it all starts with the supplier. Most suppliers are headquartered near the mines where they manufacture that specific material. We work with suppliers all over the United States, Canada, and Europe to distribute their materials to the Midwestern United States.

Some of the types of chemicals and raw materials that go into the manufacture of paints and coatings include fillers, talcs, clays, pigments, defoamers, and rheology modifiers and are used to manufacture primers, primer sealers, paints, and topcoats, as well as specialty coatings for automotive interiors (textiles, seat and wheel coverings, etc.). And these additives, functional minerals, pigments, and resins must be compatible with the formulation’s chemistry rather than reactive. In addition, they need to provide dispersibility, stability, and viscosity.

But what do these products DO? Well, each raw material that goes into an automotive coating must be high-performance to withstand extreme weather (sun, heat, rain, snow, hail), as well as be resistant to chemicals they may encounter.

Pigments is an interesting area to look at more closely since the world is full of color. One of the big choices we all make when purchasing a new vehicle is what color will it be in addition to the features we desire. Pigment manufacturers need to follow fashion and design trends and create new colors that appeal to customers, as well as adapt to annual color changes specified by the manufacturers. With pigments, as with other additives, often the type of pigment purchased has a dramatic impact on the coating’s performance, since it isn’t just color that the pigment determines, but also durability and protection from delamination. Pigments are used similarly for other non-automotive applications.

Our friends at DCL, a pigment manufacturer, summarized this well in their June 2018 article, “Five Necessary Technical Requirements for Automotive Coating Applications:”

  1. Weatherfastness to prevent fading
  2. Color strength for bright and vivid shades
  3. Reduced flop so the color appears uniform from all angles
  4. Transparency in order to be mixed with metallic pigments for special finishes
  5. Dispersion characteristics to ensure uniform dispersion and avoid defects in the finish

We distribute quite a few of the products that we’ve mentioned, including:

DCL - Requirements of High-Performance Pigments

We’re happy to field any coatings formulation questions. Feel free to reach out to [email protected] or call 800.228.7347.


About Dar-Tech, Inc.

Dar-Tech, Inc. has partnered with its global network of specialty raw-material and chemical suppliers for more than 70 years to distribute additives, functional materials, resins, and pigments for applications in the adhesives and sealants, civil engineering, elastomer and rubber, ink, metalworking lubricants, paint and coatings, plastics, biorenewables, and agricultural industries. Visit us at https://dar-techinc.com/.


About Optessa

Optessa is a leader in intelligent planning, sequencing, and scheduling optimization software with many successful implementations among top tier global manufacturers. Optessa products have wide applicability in industries as diverse as auto OEMs, suppliers, power equipment, electronics, semiconductor, mills; batch process industries such as food and beverage and paints as well as shipping and logistics. The company has offices in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Hazlet, New Jersey, USA and Goa, India. Optessa’s leadership team combines deep expertise in software, mathematics, manufacturing, and optimization technologies with unmatched customer commitment. Optessa supports global deployment at more than 100 distinct manufacturing facilities and production areas. We also partner with industry leaders, Deloitte and Tech Mahindra, to further enhance our client support. To learn more about Optessa please visit www.optessa.com.

For additional details, please contact John Buglino at [email protected]

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