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'Green' automotive clear coat technology

By Tim Wright | October 13, 2008

'Green' automotive clear coat technology

Two Kansas-based companies, Premier Paint 2000, Inc. and C3 Technology, LLC, along with Tech Line Coatings, Inc. in California, have introduced a waterborne clear coat (WBCC) on the automotive paint market that exceeds EPA standards.

California and Canada's new environmental policies have pushed companies to create products that match or exceed new regulations. In both, California and Canada, auto shops are facing strict changes to VOC emission rules by the end of this year. South Coast California Air Quality District (SCAQMD) now requires that multi-stage clear coats have a 250 g/L (2.1 lb./gal.) VOC emissions rating or better. SCAQMD Rule 1151 went into effect July 1, 2008 with complete conversion expected by December 31, 2008. Canada's new regulation matches California's but won't be required until 2010. Single-stage clear coats will require 340 g/L (2.8 lb./gal.) emission rating in California, 420 g/L (3.5 lb./gal.) in Canada. The new WBCC falls into the single application category of 1.2 lb./gal. VOC, well below EPA, California and Canada's standards.

According to Premier Paint 2000 owner, Rick Wray, waterborne paint is the best environmental option on the market and WBCC is the first waterborne clear coat on the market. The company said while several paint manufacturers anticipated the change well over a decade ago and have technology, equipment and training available for auto shops in transition when it comes to toner, none of these companies thought to produce one of the most important steps in painting a vehicle, the clear coat.

The expected release date for WBCC is January 2009. Testing has shown WBCC is durable to environmental stresses, is compatible with all waterborne and solvent-based paints, and provides a shine that matches or exceeds current market standards. An important feature of WBCC is the absence of any isocyanates, a chemical that has been proven to cause medical conditions from asthma to cancer.