An innovative option for body shops
AkzoNobel’s Vehicles Refinishes business has long been a leader in car refinishes technologies. A little over ten years ago, it broke new ground in the industry with a clearcoat – the top layer of an automotive finish—that could be cured in minutes following exposure to ultraviolet light. In those days, when clearcoats needed to be baked at 60 degrees for 30 minutes or more, the energy savings with “UV-curable” coatings were huge. Curing times may have improved for clearcoats in the interceding years, but UV-curable clearcoats exposed to the newest generation of efficient LED lights still deliver significant energy-saving benefits.
The early version of Autoclear UV had a very good performance profile, but instead of a typical two or three-component system, it employed a four-component system. Now, AkzoNobel is launching a completely reformulated version of its UV-curable clearcoat in a two-component system that mixes one-to-one by weight, and delivers an outstanding performance profile with application, appearance, and protection characteristics indistinguishable from a traditional two-component clearcoat.
Body shop operators will enjoy significant benefits with the new system in terms of efficiency, cost, and sustainability. Typically, a body shop in northwestern Europe spends between seven and ten euros during a normal bake cycle. While those costs can be reduced with the use of infrared lamps, the results are generally inferior. But with UV curing, it’s just a few cents worth of energy, with no compromise on quality. That means a big reduction in the carbon footprint and a big gain in efficiency, because it takes a lot less time to do a repair. For body shops that can set up a separate UV repair bay for smaller repairs, taking advantage of AkzoNobel’s popular UV-curable primer as well as the clearcoat, that can translate to higher throughput and higher profits because using the UV system for smaller repairs frees up space on the conventional spray booths.
With its new UV-curable clearcoat, which is being introduced into selected European markets in both the Sikkens and Lesonal lines, along with its tried-and-true UV-curable primer (long available from Sikkens and now available from Lesonal as well), AkzoNobel is once again setting itself apart from the competition with innovative products and sustainable solutions.