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BASF Coatings opens new €15m electrocoat research centre

BASF Coatings has invested €15 million into the opening of a new research centre for electrophoretic dip coating at its headquarters in Münster-Hiltrup, Germany.

The electrophoretic or cathodic dip coat (e-coat) protects the surfaces, edges and cavities of a car body against corrosion, and evens out the roughness of the pre-treated metal surfaces, thus providing the optimum basis for the application of the subsequent paint layers.

Frank Naber, head of the Automotive OEM Coatings Solutions EMEA business unit at BASF Coatings said: “In our new e-coat research centre, we can simulate our customers’ processes and paint systems.

“We can coat pre-treated original parts of our customers under the conditions of their individual paint lines in a 2,000-litre dip tank and bake them in a chamber oven. These parts can be doors, bumpers or bonnets.”

In addition, the research centre has two ultra-filtration and filtration stands with which the quality and stability of new e-coats can be tested under the conditions of the customers already before the tank is being filled for the first time.

“In this way, we can ensure that the coating quality is at a very high level immediately after having changed over to a new e-coat material, and that it meets the customer’s specification,” Naber added.

The centre will mainly be used for the CathoGuard 800 e-coat technology, which has already been applied to more than 100 million vehicles worldwide. The product does without organic tin compounds and has a very low solvent content.

An optimised film thickness distribution allows material to be saved and, at the same time, guarantees protection of the entire body thanks to its good throwing power, according to BASF.

The product also contributes to sustainability by reducing wastewater, which in turn reduces the amount of fresh water required for the process.