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Film, Don’t Paint

Although many injection molded parts for fascias and rockers are painted after they’re molded, there is another alternative.

Although many injection molded parts for fascias and rockers are painted after they’re molded, there is another alternative. Durakon Inc. (www.durakon.com; Lapeer, MI) is producing thermoformed parts and applying a paint film, Fluorex from Soliant, LLC (www.paintfilm.com) instead of paint. Says Ed Gniewek, president and CEO of Durakon, “Every car company we know has an objective to get rid of paint—eventually.” An alternative for at least a few portions of vehicles—including the rockers for both the Buick Lucerne and the Cadillac STS-V—is to have the parts thermoformed (heating the polymer, such as ABS or TPO, then putting it into a mold) with the film laminate in the mold. The clearcoat/colorcoat films generally have a total thickness on the order of 23 or 36 mil. Not only does this mean a step is taken out of part processing (i.e., no painting), but there are no VOCs released, which is a growing concern. In addition to which, the depth of image is said to be good and orange peel not a problem.