representatives from the company's transportation segment and technologists from its Global Innovation Center were featured speakers at the Future of Coatings Under Study (FOCUS) conference.
Axalta's Kevin O'Connor, director of Global Transportation Product Management, discussed the coatings' industry's role in the emerging autonomous vehicle segment and Nancy Lockhart, Axalta global product manager - color, moderated an afternoon panel on vehicle color and design featuring industry experts.
"Many different groups inside and outside the automotive industry are coming together to advance this autonomous movement," said O'Connor. "The coatings industry is addressing a variety of alternatives that improve paint system reflectivity and transmissibility as they each have their own challenges in including color, stability, cost and application time. Coatings technology is critical to making widespread use of autonomous technology over the next decade. Axalta is on the leading edge of making these advancements and enabling the auto industry to get to the next level."
On emerging trends in automotive color, Lockhart said, "While white is and has been the world's most popular color, we are seeing a trend to warmer tones and customization in different parts of the world. We are looking forward to addressing customization trends – including two toning, different color roofs and stripes. It was a privilege to lead the conversation."
In January, Axalta unveiled a golden bronze shade named "Sahara" as the 2019 Automotive Color of the Year. Sahara was launched as a color ideal for vehicle customization both in a factory setting and in the aftermarket. While conveying warmth, richness and strength, the tone is suitable for vehicles of all sizes, especially the fast-growing segments of trucks and SUVs. It could serve as the main shade in many two-tone combinations.
In addition, Axalta technologists from Axalta's R&D organization at the Global Innovation Center in Philadelphia presented fundamental methods and analyses that improve paint application and color control. John Moore presented on atomization studies and Matt Irwin presented on a new method for improved color control. Axalta VP of Global Transportation Coatings Technology Matthew Boland again served as the event's vice chairperson and was instrumental in setting the conference's speaker line-up.
"One of the great things about FOCUS is that participants leave the event with workable solutions to problems they will face at the office tomorrow," said Boland. "Axalta is proud to have such an extensive role at this Conference to discuss important trends in the market and how new innovations are playing a role driving better outcomes for customers throughout the world. We are proud to be a technology leader and to help our industry continue to evolve with new players, new requirements and new ways of thinking."