Clinton Township’s Axalta Presents Future of Coatings for Autonomous Vehicles

Representatives from Clinton Township’s Axalta, a global coatings company, were featured speakers at the Future of Coatings Under Study conference on Thursday, May 9 at The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth.
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Axalta automotive color popularity chart
Axalta coatings experts spoke at the Future of Coatings Under Study conference in Plymouth. // Image courtesy of Axalta

Representatives from Clinton Township’s Axalta, a global coatings company, were featured speakers at the Future of Coatings Under Study conference on Thursday, May 9 at The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth.

Kevin O’Connor, director of global transportation product management, discussed the coatings industry’s role in the autonomous vehicle segment. Nancy Lockhart, global product manager – color, moderated a panel on vehicle color and design that featured industry experts.

“Many different groups inside and outside the automotive industry are coming together to advance this autonomous movement,” says O’Connor. “The coatings industry is addressing a variety of alternatives that improve paint system reflectivity and transmissibility, as they each have their own challenges in including color, stability, cost, and application time. Coatings technology is critical to making widespread use of autonomous technology over the next decade.”

In January, Axalta named a golden bronze hue it calls Sahara as the 2019 Automotive Color of the Year, launching it as a color ideal for vehicle customization in a factory setting and in the aftermarket.

“While white is and has been the world’s most popular color, we are seeing a trend to warmer tones and customization in different parts of the world,” says Lockhart. “We are looking forward to addressing customization trends – including two toning, different color roofs, and stripes. It was a privilege to lead the conversation.”

Axalta technologists from the company’s research and development organization in Philadelphia presented on methods and analyses that improve paint application and color control. John Moore presented on atomization studies, and Matt Irwin presented on a new method for improved color control. Matthew Boland, vice president of global transportation coatings technology at Axalta again served as the event’s vice chairperson and helped set the conference’s speaker line-up.

The conference was held for the 44th consecutive year, and more than 400 people from coatings suppliers, automotive OEMs, and other organizations attended. It is hosted by the Detroit Society for Coatings Technology, based in Berkley.

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