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Metals Pretreatment Market Gets Boost from Growth in Automotive Lightweighting

    March 27, 2018

Noticeably absent from vehicles over recent years is the appearance of rust, that orange-red coating that forms on the surface of metals and weakens the bonds of the metal itself. This is due to significant advances in metals pretreatment products. According to Technavio market research analysts, the global pretreatment market is predicted to grow more than six percent by 2021 given the increasing need for corrosion prevention.


Aluminum and Multi-Metal Substrates

As automotive manufacturers increasingly focus on lightweighting and sustainability, a metal mix featuring increasing amounts of aluminum substrates is often the material of choice for bodies-in-white (BIW) and other components: under-the-skin and on the vehicle’s surface.

Traditionally zinc phosphate metal pretreatments have been used. But tradition is being replaced with a newer, more environmentally friendly, processes as the industry transitions from 0 up to 100% aluminum.

Metal pretreatments in the paint shop must protect lightweight metal mixes from corrosion, while also increasing paint adhesion.New pretreatment processes help optimize performance with benefits that include reduced operating costs, fewer process steps and shorter cycle times.

Through Smart Chemistry, Henkel continues to develop advanced pretreatment technologies to manage the multi-metal mix used in fabricating today’s lightweight vehicles. For example, BONDERITE® M-NT is a thin film coating pretreatment technology designed for use with aluminum, steel and zinc. An innovative, multi-metal nanotechnology, BONDERITE M-NT reduces process steps and provides superior adhesion properties as well as corrosion resistance. This is especially important in eliminating corrosion and the resulting structural weakness at the point where the disparate metals meet in BIW structures, vehicle surfaces and components.



While the use of aluminum for lightweighting continues to grow, other metals are entering the vehicle metal mix, including magnesium substrates. Magnesium’s superior lightweighting characteristics – 75 percent lighter than steel; 35 percent lighter than aluminum – are challenged by its innate high porosity, which makes it less stiff that aluminum and more prone to distortion. To manage magnesium’s specific properties, Henkel’s pretreatment BONDERITE® MGC Process significantly improves corrosion protection and paint adhesion. Its streamlined coating process does not require oven curing and it rapidly deposits a uniform coating, even on sharp edges.


High Strength Steel

Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) continues to be a workhorse in automotive lightweighting. However, its chemical composition of iron and carbon make it susceptible to corrosion, which can have a negative effect on paint adhesion. Henkel’s BONDERITE® M-NT 1820™ enables pretreatment of AHSS and adjoining disparate metal surfaces for improved quality, ecology and economics in the paint shop.

By applying Smart Chemistry, Henkel is already on its way to meeting the challenges for the expansion of the global pretreatment market as predicted by Technavio market research analysts. This could mark the end of vehicle rust – forever!


Driving Industry Growth

As metal pretreatments drive growth due to lightweighting, there are other industry topics paving the way for vehicle advancements. Therefore beginning in April the LightingUp blog will transition to the “Driving Smart Chemistry” blog in order to bring you information on the latest industry topics, including emobility, autonomous vehicles, evolving interiors, lightweighting and more!

We invite you to join us on the road ahead.

About the Author, Henkel Automotive

As the market leader in adhesives, sealants and functional coatings to the transportation industry, Henkel drives automotive designs forward by increasing performance, reducing weight and enabling sustainability. Backed by extensive design capabilities, a broad product range and technical expertise, the company delivers solutions to all segments of the vehicle.

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