BASF Introduces Platform For Digital Visualisation Of Automotive Exterior Colours

BASF’s Coatings division has introduced a digital platform it calls AUROOM, which enables OEM designers to access a database of photo-realistic virtual car colours.

BASF’s virtual colours capture all facets of automotive coatings including lightness flop, colour flop and sparkling. By mapping these colours on car models, OEM designers can virtually paint every colour proposal and gain realistic impressions of colours and effects on a complete car already in an early design phase.

BASF says AUROOM will be a valuable tool for OEM designers to speed up and perfect the overall colour design process as they are no longer solely dependent on physical samples that need to be painted and shipped. AUROOM provides further innovative features like real-time side by side comparison of different colour shades of the same colour group to make the right colour decision easier.

“Automotive coatings are highly complex colours with texture, colour position and surface defining the overall impression,” said Mark Gutjahr, head of Automotive Colour Design EMEA at BASF’s Coatings division.

“To easily understand the impact of these colour parameters on a 3D shape, the digitised colours enable the user to see this on their individual models.”

Working together with almost every car manufacturer on the market, BASF says it currently produces over 600 colours in Europe, with new colours constantly being designed. This large portfolio will now be scanned by cameras. The huge amount of appearance data generated during the scan is processed using a sophisticated mathematic model, while BASF’s colourimetric know-how contributes to ensure its authenticity. OEMs can then access the comprehensive colour data at the AUROOM platform and render it on different 3D shapes provided by the platform or CAD shapes of their own models.

“Digitalisation is an important topic, especially in the automotive industry,” said Krzysztof Patryk Stolarzewicz, head of Global Strategic Marketing at BASF’s Coatings division.

“We have a lot of experience creating colours in our labs and now we are able to digitise them and create photo-realistic digital reproductions. For our customers, it means the colour decision process will become easier, faster and much more effective. They can also use the data for their own brand-specific car configurators so that car buyers can experience automotive colours in their entire variety which supports their buying decision.”

In the start-up phase, BASF says its virtual colour solution will first be introduced to OEMs in EMEA. In addition to the digital platform, the customers will have the chance to experience the technology at AUROOM’s “analogue twin” – a specially designed showroom at the Colour Design Studio Europe in Münster, Germany.

To demonstrate the colours and effects in the most authentic way possible, BASF also developed special virtual 3-D car shapes. Like BASF’s iconic dome shape, the virtual shapes simulate various forms of a car body. In order to assess compatibility of colour with the overall design concept, OEM designers can choose shapes of different vehicle segments in AUROOM for colour visualisation.

Leading Recycler Groups Endorse NSF Automotive Recycler Certification

Two leading automotive US trade groups, the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) and the United Recyclers Group (URG), have endorsed NSF International’s automotive recycler certification programme.

The independent, third-party certification verifies a recycler’s ability to meet criteria for grading, labelling and traceability, in addition to vehicle acquisition, dismantling, inventory, training, customer service and auditing requirements.

NSF International worked with leading automotive recyclers and industry experts to facilitate the development of requirements for the automotive recycler certification programme.

“With NSF International certification, recyclers can differentiate themselves in terms of meeting cycle time and ensuring accuracy when it comes to inventory, grading and part labelling,” said ARA President, David Gold. “ARA supports initiatives that require ongoing audits and underscore continual improvement.”

NSF says certified automotive recyclers undergo annual on-site audits to ensure compliance with all certification requirements. Recyclers meeting all certification requirements can use the NSF Certified Automotive Recycler mark on their website and promotional materials. The recyclers are also included in NSF International’s  online certification listings.

According to Donald Porter, URG’s Chief Executive Officer, “URG supports standards that help the automotive recycling industry enhance its operations from a safety, environmental and traceability perspective. NSF International certification provides recyclers a means to demonstrate this commitment. Participation in a certification process can ensure continual process improvement, increase operational efficiency and improve the recycler’s bottom line.”

To date, PAM’s Auto in the United States, and ASV Euro Car Parts, Grant Walker Parts and Paradise Auto Parts in Australia have earned NSF International’s automotive recycler certification.

Car-O-Liner Introduces CTR9 Auto Spot Welder

Car-O-Liner has released its new CTR9, a fully automatic welder that comes with a new, “revolutionised” light-weight transformer gun.

With its 355-degree swivel handle and ergo-grip, Car-O-Liner says it enables perfect working positions for anyone, for any job. The gun is supported by a telescopic arm made with durable and lightweight extruded aluminium that can be easily adjusted both vertically and horizontally. A compact power unit with a low centre of gravity gives mobility and stability, and a 16,000-amp transformer and CANBUS communication ensure a perfect weld every time, according to the company.

Other features include the automatic establishment of required settings to ensure the proper weld nugget, along with an advanced quality control system that monitors and adjusts the welder to guarantee the total energy input.

The CTR9 is easily upgradable via its USB port, while its storage tray allows all tools and accessories to be kept close at hand. The WeldLogger functionality also enables the ability to create work orders and document them in log files that can be printed if required.

The CTR9 is now available from your local Car-O-Liner distributor.

Volkswagen, Audi Approve Pro Spot’s SP-5.3 MIG/MAG Welder

Pro Spot International has announced that its SP-5.3 MIG/MAG welder has been approved by Volkswagen and Audi globally for repairs on their vehicles. The welder passed tough tests for aluminum, CuSi (silicon bronze) and steel.

“On behalf of the Pro Spot team, I am very satisfied getting this approval from VW/Audi,” said Ron Olsson, President, Pro Spot International.

Volkswagen Developing 3D Printing Process For Mass Production

Volkswagen is working on a new process for 3D printing to be used in mass production. The company says the new Metal Jet process by printer manufacturer HP simplifies and speeds up metallic 3D printing, improving productivity by up to 50 times faster compared to other 3D printing methods.

With the announcement, Volkswagen is declaring 3D printing as mass-production ready in automotive industry. Together with printer manufacturer HP and component manufacturer GKN Powder Metallurgy, the German marque is pressing ahead with the development of the technology for mass production. The partners presented the new process for the first time at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago this week.

Dr Martin Goede, Head of Technology Planning and Development, Volkswagen, said: “Automotive production is facing major challenges: our customers are increasingly expecting more personalisation options. At the same time, complexity is increasing with the number of new models. That’s why we are relying on state-of-the-art technologies to ensure a smooth and fast production. 3D printing plays a particularly important role in manufacturing of individual parts.”

Volkswagen says one of its vehicles is manufactured from 6000 to 8000 different parts. While previous 3D printing processes can only be used for the special production of individual parts or prototypes, the additive 3D Metal Jet technology from HP enables the production of a large number of parts using 3D printing without having to develop and manufacture the corresponding tools. This significantly reduces the time required to manufacture parts, making the process a serious consideration for the production of large quantities of parts in a short period of time.

“That’s why the new HP Metal Jet platform is an important step into the future for us as an automotive manufacturer, but also for the entire industry, and we look forward to helping shape this development and thus creating further added value for our customers in the future,” Dr Goede continued.

In collaboration with HP and GKN, Volkswagen is further developing the technology so that design elements can be printed in a small series at first. This will be required to produce individualised design parts such as tailgate lettering, special gear knobs or keys with personalised lettering for customers without a great deal of effort. Volkswagen say the plan is to be capable of offering this type of individualisation proposition to customers as soon as possible.

As early as next year, GKN says it intends to establish a process chain geared toward automotive production in collaboration with Volkswagen. The first small (design) components will be used to further develop the technology so that the first structural components for mass-production vehicles can be printed within two to three years.

“A complete vehicle will probably not be manufactured by a 3D printer any time soon, but the number and size of parts from the 3D printer will increase significantly,” explained Dr Goede. “Our goal is to integrate printed structural parts into the next generation of vehicles as quickly as possible. In the long term, we expect a continuous increase in unit numbers, part sizes and technical requirements – right up to soccer-size parts of over 100,000 units per year.”

According to Volkswagen, the new 3D printing process using the HP Metal Jet process is an additive process in which parts are produced layer by layer using a powder and binder. The component is then ‘baked’ into a metallic component using a sintering process. This differs from previous processes in which powder is melted by means of a laser.

Tander To Launch At Automechanika Frankfurt

A new internationally-distributed brand for automotive paint professionals, Tander, will be launched at Automechanika in Frankfurt, Germany next month.

Tander’s wide range of products will cover the complete paint process, from personal and spray booth protection to paint application products. The company says it aims to deliver innovative high-quality products that are affordable and convenient to use.

Tander says its personal protection products are comfortable, convenient and guarantee personal safety throughout the working day.

To prevent paint contamination, the company’s spray booth coatings will feature a ‘tacky’ formula that makes dust and dirt cling to the booth’s walls and floor, while leak-free covering products protect parts and ensure a spotless surface.

Tander says its products are offered in manageable packing units to suit all sized businesses.

A new teaser website has been set up at www.tander.com, with the full site likely to go live once the brand launches.

AkzoNobel Puts The Blue Back Into Bluebird

The restoration of Donald Campbell’s record-breaking hydroplane, Bluebird, is complete thanks to AkzoNobel and its marine brand, International, which supplied the project with Perfection Pro paint in the vessel’s original shade of blue.

“We spent 10 years being supplied with samples of nearly, but not-quite versions of Bluebird blue, RAL 5009, however it wasn’t until we uncorked our tins of Perfection Pro that we actually clapped eyes on her true colour. Now that was impressive,” said Bluebird restoration project leader, Bill Smith.

Bluebird crashed on Coniston Water in 1967. Decades later, diver and enthusiast Smith took a keen interest in the story and conducted extensive searches over a period of four years. He located and salvaged the wreckage in 2001. Together with a team of volunteers, Smith restored Bluebird at a workshop in the northeast of England.

The hydroplane was blasted and coated with AkzoNobel’s International Interzinc 72 protective coating and Interpon 610 TGIC-free polyester powder coating. The bodywork was rebuilt and completed using Cromadex 903 Etch Primer, Cromadex 750 Grey Primer and International Perfection Pro yacht topcoat.

“I’m very proud that we’re able to be part of this incredible restoration project,” said Chris Panton, Area Sales Manager, AkzoNobel Cromadex Newcastle. “The Cromadex team has been a part of the project for several years, supplying various products from AkzoNobel’s extensive portfolio of liquid and powder coatings.”

Fifty years after Campbell died trying to break his own water speed record, Bluebird is making a return to the water this UK summer. The hydroplane will be taken to Loch Fad on the Isle of Bute in Scotland for personnel training in launching, landing, lifting, and piloting, as well as to check for hull leaks. Eventually the team hopes to display the boat at speed on Coniston Water in the Lake District.

Ferrari Introduces The World’s First Low-Bake Paint Technology

Thanks to an on-going collaboration with PPG, Ferrari has introduced an innovative low temperature paint system, making the Prancing Horse the world’s first car manufacturer to adopt the new Low Cure clear coat technology.

The new two-component paint system incorporates a specially formulated clear coat which makes it possible for the car to be baked at 100°C instead of 150°C, cutting energy costs and enhancing the sustainability of the process.

The Low Cure resins contain a new hardener which enhances the chemical and mechanical resistance of the coating. The new formula also boosts cross-coat linking which simultaneously increases chemical hydrophobicity and reduces water permeability.

Additionally, the new solution makes it possible to bake carbon-fibre and composite components together with the bodyshell, resulting in colour uniformity between the various body components.

Thanks to the new technology, Ferrari has industrialised a process to produce at least 61 different basecoat colours by combining metallic basecoats with a gloss or matte pigmented clear coat.

Nissan To Use Ultra-Strong, High-Formability Steel In More Vehicles

Nissan will expand the use of a new type of steel that enhances fuel efficiency and driving performance by lowering vehicle weight.

First seen in the Infiniti QX50 midsize SUV, the new material combines high tensile strength with a previously unachievable degree of formability, resulting in lighter vehicles that can help lower emissions.

Featuring a tensile strength of 980MPa, the material was jointly developed by Nissan and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. While maintaining the ability to absorb energy in a collision, the steel’s combination of stamping formability and strength makes it possible to form complex shapes that are thinner and lighter than those made of conventional high tensile strength steel. The ability for the steel to be cold pressed makes it suitable for mass production which will help contain increases in vehicle costs.

According to Nissan, the Infiniti QX50, which went on sale in the US in March, is the world’s first vehicle with front and rear side members made from 980MPa ultra-high tensile strength steel. The material is also used in a range of other body frame parts.

Nissan launched a sustainability plan in June that calls for lowering CO2 emissions from its new vehicles by 40 per cent by 2022, compared with 2000. The company is aggressively developing technologies to expand the use of ultra-high tensile strength steel, aiming for it to make up 25 per cent of the company’s ‘vehicle parts by weight’. The material makes up 27 per cent of the new QX50.

AkzoNobel Combines Digital Tools For Better Colour-Matching

A new standard in quick and reliable advanced colour-matching is available to vehicle body shops after AkzoNobel combined two of its most innovative tools into a single system.

The new offering combines the company’s Automatchic hand-held spectrophotometer with its MIXIT digital colour retrieval technology. Now known as Automatchic in MIXIT, the system creates a single, seamless workflow which allows customers to precisely identify any colour from an ever-expanding database of more than two million.

“We’re always looking for new ways to help our vehicle refinish customers access digital colour technology and gain maximum advantage from our expertise,” explained Peter Tomlinson, Director of AkzoNobel’s Automotive and Specialty Coatings business.

“Our huge cloud database of more than two million colours means we can provide the perfect colour match and formula, optimized for any individual vehicle. With Automatchic in MIXIT, customers can now measure and match colour with superior accuracy even faster, making it a valuable asset for any vehicle refinish body shop.”

Tailor-made to streamline operations, Automatchic in MIXIT’s ability to improve both accuracy and speed helps to increase profitability and throughput while reducing waste. This is part of AkzoNobel’s commitment to deliver 100 per cent digital colour solutions for its vehicle refinishes customers.

For more information, visit Colorvation.com