It comes as no surprise that the automotive industry has taken a big hit thanks to the covid-19 pandemic.
As with many other industry and commerce areas, factories were forced to reduce their workforce due to restrictions on movement and reduce the virus’s spread.
To their credit, some companies such as Ford, General Motors, and Tesla – where possible – lent their expertise and teamed up with medical and PPE manufacturers to ramp up production and supply of critically needed items such as ventilators, respirators, face shields, and supplies for the health service.
And with the sales rate of cars and other vehicles dropping, it was also time to reflect where improvements in production could be made by looking at traditional practices and looking for different solutions.
One area in which many industries – the Oil and Gas sector, Aerospace, even in the Food & Baking industry have already made these improvements are using non-stick coatings, especially in production processes.
Non-Stick Coatings Explained…
Think of non-stick coatings, and you naturally think of kitchen products. Pans are often non-stick, and that should give a good idea of how these highly versatile coatings can be used in an industrial setting.
Such coatings have been around now for many decades – indeed, the very first, known as PTFE was discovered as a by-product of chemical research in the 1930s by a researcher at DuPont.
Since then, the development of various types of non-stick coatings has led to the use of these materials in a wide variety of industrial and commercial applications, generally in areas where they can:
- Reduce downtime
- Improve efficiency in production and manufacturing processes
- Reduce Cost & Increase Profits
As we mentioned, while other industries have embraced non-stick coatings in these areas, there is no doubt the automotive sector has yet to take advantage of the benefits to their full extent.
How can non-stick and low-friction coatings play a part in the future improved efficiency of the automotive industry?
Let’s take a closer look at some areas in which such coatings can provide major benefits and how.
With the clue on the name, the primary purpose of non-stick coatings is reducing friction and, of course, being non-stick. This lends itself to many interesting uses that can help processes in manufacturing in the automobile industry and in other areas of industry.
Let’s use paint shops as an example…
They can benefit from non-stick coatings in many areas where washing down is needed.
We recently undertook a project to apply our non-stick coatings to Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) extractor fan assemblies. Non-stick coatings can help reduce friction; for example, where this will aid production efficiency.
Our customer was looking for a better option that would help reduce paint booths’ downtime, and they found their solution in our PR245 green non-stick coating.
With this coating, now the cleaning of the fans and the walls can be done in-situ. This means no more hassle of removing the fans to clean.
By eliminating the need to remove the fans and cleaning, the company can drastically reduce their paint booths’ downtime.
Thats not all, though…
Floor gratings, for example, as well as side panels, and any other equipment that are subject to paint spray, will be easier to clean with a paint-repellent, non-stick coating applied.
This applies not just to the automotive manufacturer, but also to the Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers of painted and other items that could also benefit from the application of coatings.
Other benefits include:
- Improving not just efficiency but also reduce the carbon footprint thanks to more effective waste reduction and faster manufacturing times.
- Reduce the line downtime from less regular cleaning and maintenance, which reduces any Health & Safety precautions because of less need for manual handling.
This all contributes to reducing downtime, increased production numbers, and an increase in the bottom line.
You may also wish to think about the potential use with equipment that is used in ECOAT processes, such as jigs, that would also benefit significantly from the application of non-stick coatings.
As mentioned before, other solutions still need to be explored, which I’m sure eagle-eyed managers and engineers have already spotted but have yet to be implemented.
And THAT is where we can help.
We hope that we have given you food for thought about the use of non-stick coatings in automotive manufacturing and parts supply.
As the industry has endured less than an ideal year, it is clear that motor manufacturers are using this as a reason to plan ahead. For example, JLR – whom we have worked with at their Liverpool plant – has announced they will build only electric cars from 2025.
Along with Ford, who’ve announced similar plans for 2030. The automotive market is changing rapidly, and the manufacturing processes involved can be amended and improved to suit.
The next few years are a catch-up process for an industry that the current pandemic has hard hit, and now is certainly a time for considering potential improvements with efficiency in terms of manufacturing.
Non-stick coatings have the potential to be a cost-effective method of taking your production processes to a new level of efficiency.
If you want to learn more please talk to one of our team who will be more than happy to discuss your requirements in more detail.
If you would like to know more about how Product Release could help your industry, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts, who can discuss your problem and recommend an innovative solution that will not only help you now but will minimise future damage or repairs, giving you peace of mind.