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During manufacturing, some vehicles are painted with a two-wet monocoat paint process. This process uses a primer coat that requires only a few minutes of open-air drying time before the color coat is applied. The color coat is formulated with the same appearance and protection properties of the clear coat, which eliminates the need for a separate clear coat. The painted body is fully cured in an enamel oven after the color coat is applied.
The total process removes one paint application step and one oven drying step when compared to conventional paint processes. This technology reportedly results in more durable paint, uses less energy and water, and reduces carbon dioxide and particulate emissions compared with conventional paint processes.
Many coating products help make vehicles lighter or improve the rolling resistance of tires, enabling automakers and suppliers to produce fuel-efficient vehicles. In addition to improving fuel efficiency, the processes are conducted in a manner that reduces energy and water consumption and decreases the waste produced. In fact, certain corrosion-effective pre-treatments that reduce water use and waste, and increase energy efficiency can save the average North American assembly plant 16 million gallons of water per year — the equivalent of 380,000 10-minute showers.
Automotive coatings, like most others, are used mainly to provide protection and decoration. The main concerns for automotive coatings 20 years ago were corrosion and fade/gloss from sunlight, acid rain, and other degradations. Most coatings had a useful life of about five years. Today, with advancements in chemistry, formulation, and processing, automotive coatings have useful lives of more than 10 years.