New Weatherable Film Technology to Eliminate Painting of Automotive Exteriors 2001-01-0443
Automobile manufacturers are currently searching for ways to eliminate the traditional painting process employed in assembly plants to decorate and protect the exterior of an automobile. The entire paint facility in a typical assembly plant runs anywhere from $200,000,000USD to $600,000,000USD and can occupy 50% or more of the factory floor. Add to this the cost of environmental compliance, energy, raw materials and labor and it’s easy to see why elimination of the paint operation can a huge benefit to car manufacturers.
GE Plastics has recently developed a novel polymeric film that can eliminate the need to paint. The film is based on a new polymer invented recently at GE CR&D in Schenectady, NY. This polymeric film can be applied over a variety of thermoplastic and thermoset substrates through an In-mold decoration (IMD) process to yield Class A, pre-finished exterior panels and trim that can then be assembled without the need for painting. Plastic body panels can also reduce mass, offer designers a greater degree of freedom with shapes, geometry and colors, enable customization, and provide a damage-resistant and corrosion-free exterior to the end user.
This paper will outline the performance attributes of SOLLX® film as compared to paint and other alternatives.