May 03rd, 2021
The Saint-Gobain Surface Conditioning team are experts in abrasive technology for surface preparation and finishing applications. One aspect of surface preparation we specialize in is developing abrasive powders for clear coat polishing, typically for automotive finishing.
Clear Coat Polishing for Automotive Finishing
Since the end of the 20th century, clearcoat has been the standard finish on newly manufactured or older, repainted vehicles. Clearcoat is the top layer of body work, which is translucent, glossy and has a thickness of about 25 micrometers (μm) – thinner than the average human hair. This layer offers high gloss and a level of mechanical protection from outside influences such as scratching, weathering, and so on.
Automotive finishing used to require earthen material abrasive powders for their polishing compound. These are cheap materials; however, they are not always cost-effective. They offer little in the way of options for engineered customization as the only modification possible is particle size, making it difficult to fine tune the overall performance of the abrasive powder. Modern clear coat systems demand something more fine-tuned to ensure polishing is carried out efficiently and with great results.
The composition of abrasive material has a direct impact on the performance of the abrasive powder, as well as its morphology and microstructure. In a polishing compound, mechanical and electrostatic aggregation of particles causes inefficiency in cutting, meaning polishing time must be extended to achieve the desired surface finish. This in turn increases the overall cost of the operation.
Abrasive Powders from Saint-Gobain
Saint-Gobain has optimized abrasive technology, measuring abrasive powder’s true cutting performance. This led to a progression beyond simple PSD and phase control which has meant enhanced performance and surface finish. This progression has resulted in a wide range of particles at the forefront of the automotive polishing industry.
Our IDEAL Cut is an advanced abrasive media, created to yield maximum cut rates in the initial step of automotive polishing. This abrasive powder is engineered for robust cutting action and can correct severe surface defects quickly and uniformly, meeting demanding gloss requirements.
Abrasive powders from Saint-Gobain can also be tailored to support individual client requirements and can suit a diverse range of automotive clear coat formulations and applications. Saint-Gobain can expertly modify abrasive powders to suit varying automotive polishing applications. the cut rate can be designed around substrate hardness and composition and can provide levels of quantitative control which was not previously possible in automotive polishing.
New abrasive compounds have been developed to streamline the automotive polishing process for body shop and production line applications, by offering novel abrasive particles which are able to morph from a high-cutting action to an enhanced finish. The emphasis on commercially viable single-step automotive polishing inspired Saint-Gobain’s IDEAL range of alumina (Al2O3) abrasives and our exceptional IDEAL Super product offers maximum cut with a higher finish quality.