Energy Curable Coatings for Automotive Interior

Marcus Hutchins, Allnex

Abstract:Cars have become more than just a mode of transportation for consumers. They have become an interactive extension customized their users. Knobs, buttons, and overhead lighting have been replaced by touchscreens, capacitive sensing, and mood lighting allowing the driver to be encapsulated in their own styling preferences. This requires coatings to be robust in design and elite in performance to withstand the harshest environments. Traditionally, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) adopted one component (1K, no hardener, catalyst or activator) and multi component (2K, mix with hardener, catalyst, or activator) systems for protecting automotive interior trim and parts. For decades, these coatings have served this market well. However, with OEM’s moving to more stringent durability requirements, 1K and 2K coatings are scrambling to meet tougher OEMs standards. These stronger standards are making energy curable (cure after exposure to an energy source such as ultraviolet (UV) light) coatings a more suitable coating alternative. This paper will explore energy curable chemistries’ and how their central attributes of high scratch, abrasion, and chemical resistance are ideal for coating plastics and polymer substrates used in automotive interior applications meeting many of the new harder-hitting automotive chemical durability standards established by brand owners such as General Motors (GM) and Volkswagen.