The combined forces of environmental protection, consumerism, energy conservation and productivity are completely altering the nature of coatings used by the Automotive Industry. Waterborne basecoats allow application at low volume solids, thus producing optimum metallic effect while maintaining compliance with emission regulations. In order to control rheology and thereby sag resistance and metal flake orientation, a novel aqueous microgel polymer has been developed. Processing of these basecoats is similar to present solvent-borne finishes with the exception that stainless steel equipment must be used and water must be removed before application of clearcoat.
The production feasibility of waterborne basecoats was first established in a Canadian truck assembly plant and in the next two years several other production facilities are expected to convert to this new technology.