Schematic comparison of the DirectCoating process with conventional production of an injection-molded and spray-painted component.

DirectCoating/DirectSkinning now used in series production

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  • The DirectCoating/DirectSkinning process
  • One mold for color, surface and haptics
  • Virtually unlimited design freedom

DirectCoating/DirectSkinning technology meets the requirements of car buyers and manufacturers alike. While consumers prefer a personalized vehicle interior with a premium appearance, the automotive industry is looking to manufacture components efficiently. Interest in this new technology is thus growing steadily, and it is now used in series production. At the K 2016, Covestro will be showcasing the prototype of a new design for a steering wheel cover.

steer wheel cover

This fine grain pattern is particularly insensitive to scratching, as the high gloss areas in the depressions are set back and thus protected.

The DirectCoating/DirectSkinning process

The coated component is produced in a two-component mold using a two-stage process in an injection molding machine. Having undergone injection molding in the first cavity, the plastic substrate is then transferred to a second cavity that is one coating layer thickness larger. The solvent-free coating system is injected into this mold via a RIM (reaction injection molding) mixing head. This creates a polyurethane-coated component with special properties that requires virtually no post-processing.

“Compared with conventional combination of injection molding and subsequent spray coating, the integrated process offers great potential for reducing logistics effort, energy consumption and space,” said Dr. Johannes Scherer, head of Covestro’s DirectCoating/DirectSkinng program.

Virtually unlimited design freedom

The component itself can be transparent, translucent or opaque. Its surface can be coated in various colors, decorated with a matte or high-gloss finish or protected with scratch-resistant functional coatings. There are also various tactile and surface structuring options.

There is another advantage direct coating has over spray coating. The injected coating can also reproduce contours such as sharp or rounded edges and raised surfaces because it accurately depicts the mold surface. Ultrafine grain patterns with a sharp contrast between high-gloss and matte areas are one possible variant.

Main Picture: Schematic comparison of the DirectCoating process with conventional production of an injection-molded and spray-painted component.
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