Automotive Industrial Coating: the best technology

Coating techniques for the automotive sector are constantly evolving. Traditionally, coating operations have used vertical spray lines: now though, new quality and productivity standards are being set by flatbed lines.

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Automotive sector: component finishing trends

Climate change is forcing the mobility sector to take a sustainable approach. It is spurring the entire Automotive sector to abandon fossil fuels and invest in vehicles with lower environmental impact.

But what are the trends for car interiors, and vehicles in general? Manufacturers of interior vehicle components prioritise quality of finish, especially now that plastic is one of the most popular materials for a growing number of components. This, in fact, requires the increasingly rapid implementation of surface finishing and decoration technologies that can deliver both maximum quality and ultra-high production efficiency.

What Automotive finishing technologies are used for

When we think of industrial coating for the Automotive sector, the first thing that comes to mind is the bodywork. However, surface finishing, coating and decoration technologies are used in many areas, for example:

  • coating of internal vehicle parts
  • coating of external vehicle parts
  • coating of wheels and wheel covers
  • brake pad glue application
  • application of sealing materials on metallic gaskets
  • application of protective coating on lights
  • number plate coating
  • application of glue on interior leather/fabric linings
  • mechanical component coating

Application of finishing technology in the Automotive industry

When we think of industrial coating for the Automotive sector, the first thing that comes to mind is the bodywork. However, surface finishing, coating and decoration technologies are used in many areas, for example:

Filds of application

Some specific application areas and finished products of the automotive industry


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What are flatbed systems?

Flatbed systems replace the classic spray coating systems that use anthropomorphic robots that coat vertically, which is ideal for large components such as bumpers or spoilers. 

And unlike traditional solutions, flatbed systems can also be used to manage smaller components: dashboards, central storage compartments, side mirrors and wheel hubs can thus be finished on a horizontal plane.

Flatbed systems: what are the stages of the process?

Let's look at the different stages of the coating process with a flatbed system. To do so, we’ll analyse the various steps on a Cefla Finishing Automotive line:

Prior to application, the automatic carbon dioxide snow cleaning function is enabled on the Mito oscillating spray coater to remove all surface dust and any contamination not eliminated by the manual cleaning performed during line loading.

For more complex parts, following deionization the components are recognised via a 3D digital reading barrier in the iBotic Cartesian spraying robot for the application of 20-25 microns of black PU pigment.

The component stays from 30 to 60 minutes in the Omnidry vertical oven.

A new coat of transparent coating is applied in the iBotic, if necessary with double polymerization at 70/80 g/m2. Omnidry comes into play again for 45 - 60 minutes at 70 °C and then everything moves into the UV oven (UV-R M2).


Advantages of flatbed systems

Flatbed systems offer several advantages such as higher, more consistent quality and greater productivity.


Consistent quality

A coating sprayed on work pieces positioned vertically on traditional floor-mounted or overhead lines tends to undergo the gravity effect: that is, the coating accumulates more on the lower part of the component when it is positioned vertically (to allow the coating spray to reach it better). Thanks to the use of a flatbed coating spray system, this is no longer a problem as the parts can lie flat. What’s more, the system ensures greater coating consistency over time (results are even better when the building in which the line is located is, in turn, isolated and air-conditioned). Consistency is easier to achieve because no parts are placed higher than any others: so there are no ‘lower parts’ to be contaminated, especially if the line is made up of flatbed coating systems and vertical and/or UV curing ovens. Such systems are also more compact and offer higher performance than traditional lines.

Optimised productivity

Compared to vertical spraying units, the flatbed system also has greater flexibility as it can, for example, exploit the entire width of the conveyor belt even with different components, ensuring continuous production. Experience has shown that these new features raise productivity by about 20%, allowing for a faster ROI.

Learn about the machines that can help you create Automotive components


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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

01 On which materials can I spray coat?
Any material, bearing in mind two conditions.
  • That the coating must match the substrate material to ensure proper adhesion.
  • That the piece being coated must be able to pass through the machines/systems.
02 What are the advantages of spray coating?
Firstly, spray coating ensures all sides of the piece are covered. Secondly, the product shape is unimportant and, since it is not a contact-type coating, different tolerances between products are compensated for automatically.
03 How can I measure coating quality?
While quality is subjective, it is possible to measure the quantity of coating applied at each point. It's also possible to measure gloss or matt levels using appropriate instruments.
04 What's the difference between an anthropomorphic robot and a Cartesian robot?
Differences relate to the degree of freedom, the type/number of movements they can make and the angles they can achieve.
  • Anthropomorphic robot: more freedom, virtually unlimited 3-way movement. Unlimited spray gun positioning.
  • Cartesian robot: less freedom, but can accelerate and move much faster. Limited spray gun positioning.
05 Is there a maintenance service available in my area?
Our network of distributors and branches stretches across the globe. Finding the service you need in your country should be easy. Alternatively, we can send spare parts and technicians directly from our headquarters in just a few days.
06 Can I manage colour changes?
Yes, dedicated procedures mean they can be managed quickly on all our machines.
07 Can I get spare parts easily?
Yes. You can order spare parts by email or phone. You can also use cMaster, our dedicated spare parts ordering app.