As the demand for multi-toned and customized vehicles increases, automotive OEMs continue to show interest in digital printing for exterior colorcoat applications. Dr. Koerner and his colleagues at Axalta are working on applications that could provide the automotive coatings industry with the ability to print various coatings and colors directly onto a vehicle body, which would increase OEMs’ accuracy, styling capabilities and effectively help to eliminate the waste that happens with current atomized spray application techniques.
“Digital printing technology has the potential to impact multiple facets of the automotive industry from reducing OEMs’ energy and material consumption, to precision paint application for the autonomous vehicle market, to customer-driven customization during the car buying process,” said Dr. Koerner. “We have made good progress in understanding how to control jetting for precise drop targeting, however, paint is not ink and vehicles are not made of paper, so the coordinated development of advances in both new paint formulations and applicator design are essential to making this technology a reality.”
Axalta first highlighted key learnings from the print industry that may be applicable for the automotive industry at the annual Future of Coatings Under Study (FOCUS) conference earlier this year in the U.S.