Electrocoating Q&A: Ecoat for OEMs Versus Job Shops



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Q. We know of a product used by an OEM automaker, but we can find it in the market. Are the industrial market electrocoat materials different that the materials used by the OEMs? Can you tell me why the electrocoats used by the OEMs in their assembly plants would be different than the electrocoats used by industrial part lines? We are looking for a material as efficient as theirs.

A. In some cases, the materials are basically the same technology with small adjustments in formula and a difference in pigment color. OEM´s tanks are typically gray because most surfaces electrocoated in an OEM body-in-white assembly plant (BIW) receive further layers of finishing coatings and paints. The efficiencies gained in subsequent operations covering over a gray substrate versus black, typical color to be used in electrocoat part lines, justify the difference in color formulation.

All epoxy automotive electrocoats, OEM and parts, gray or black, have the same level of corrosion performance. In most cases though, the materials are very different!

The most significant difference between OEM and parts electrocoats are small formula changes introduced by electrocoat suppliers to compensate and adapt to critical differences in the application and operation of both types of ecoat systems.

The most significant difference between both types of ecoat systems is the variability of substrates, square foot loads and film thickness targets being processed through the electrocoat system at any particular time. Typically BIW lines run very consistent in all three critical parameters whereas part lines introduce significant variability in all three, from shift to shift, day to day and month to month.

The best ecoat material for your application must be fully selected and correctly integrated within your process, equipment and your specific parts and requirements. This is critical to realize the efficiencies and performance you are looking for. 

Originally published in the September 2015 issue.