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Technology update: automotive OEM coatings

SpecialChem / Feb 9, 2005

Though the development of transport finishes can be traced back to the 'carriage finishes' used in the days before the automobile existed, perhaps we should credit Henry Ford with inventing the concept of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) finishes, with his development of the assembly-line process and his famous proclamation that the customer could have a car in 'any colour, so long as it's black'. Ford's idea of colour choice was not only based on a desire to simplify production, but the reality that the finishes then used had poor durability and only a limited range of pigments was available. Not until 1922 did nitrocellulose lacquers first appear, offering improved durability, cleaner colour and much faster application. Advances continued over the following decades, and about 40 or 50 years ago something that we might recognise as a 'modern' automotive. This concentration is well-matched to the market: global vehicle companies supplying different models from plants in different countries may need to present a consistent appearance and colour range regardless of where the vehicle is produced.

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