Technology Attracts but Color EnchantsThu, 09/01/2016 - 22:43
Q: How has PPG prepared for new companies entering the market?
A: We have grown in all the segments we are involved in to become the leader in paint and coatings for the automotive industry. Our products are present in every OEM in Mexico and eight out of 10 cars are manufactured with at least one PPG product. Between 2012 and 2013, we foresaw the boom of new automotive OEMs so we decided to proactively expand our operations, anticipating growth in demand for our solutions. We called our expansion plan the Monarca project because the Monarch butterfly passes through Queretaro on its journey to Michoacan. But it was also an allegory for the company’s endurance and the transcendence we want to accomplish. We increased our production capacity by approximately 30 percent, built four new buildings to ensure better working conditions for our employees and invested in laboratories dedicated to product design. We also added a Robotics Automotive Center where we have similar robotics equipment to that used in OEM facilities.
Q: What makes PPG the industry leader and what is your advantage over your competitors?
A: Our biggest difference is the service we offer and the quality of our aftersales operations. Paint transforms when applied in the client’s plant and if the conditions are not appropriate the final result will not be optimum so we must work closely with our clients, making us consultants rather than just suppliers. Paint is the first or second thing you notice about a car so the added value we bring to our customers is immeasurable.
Our leading technologies and diverse product portfolio also make us a forerunner in the industry. PPG offers adhesives and sealants, noise isolation products, pretreatment solutions and several other products used in the paint shop. We even provide detackifying solutions that minimize paint waste, resulting in less water consumption. This allows water to be recycled easily and more effectively. Our local production offers a final advantage to our clients as we can respond faster to any request. The automotive industry is one of the most demanding sectors regarding Just-in-Time operations so we must stay close to our customers.
Q: How can PPG’s technology contribute to the environmental strategies of its clients?
A: We develop solutions that help optimize our clients’ paint usage, reduce volatile emissions and lower energy consumption. When a new assembly plant is built the area that requires the largest investment is the paint shop. This section uses more water and energy than the rest of the assembly plant so any contribution we can offer makes a huge difference. Normally, cars need at least four coats: electrophoretic protection, a surface primer, color and finally the clear coat. Between these layers there needs to be a baking process, resulting in at least three bakes for each car. Our goal is to reduce the baking processes to lower gas and energy consumption, as well as paint and water usage. We developed our B1:B2 compact process, where we eliminate the surface primer and one of the bakes. The savings for our customers are considerable and the paint shop area can be reduced to approximately half the original size.
Q: Apart from these innovations, what other state-of-the- art products does PPG offer OEMs?
A: Our electrophoretic coating Enviro-Prime EPIC is the eighth generation of our cathodic deposition solution. In this process, the car is submerged in a container where the coating is applied by electric potential difference, allowing it to reach all cavities and making the car completely corrosion-resistant. In terms of color, the ANDARO line is one of our main products. These are special- effect pigments that offer more depth and better color saturation with excellent resistance to UV radiation. We are also introducing new pretreatment products as part of our ZIRCOBOND line based on zirconium instead of zinc or manganese, resulting in better deposition efficiency with the same corrosion-avoidant results.
PPG acquired Grupo Comex in November 2014 so we can also offer solutions for the entire infrastructure, either for maintenance of current facilities or for greenfield plants. This helps us build a stronger relationship with our clients from the beginning of their operations, providing an integral paint and coatings solution.