Why Viscosity Matters in Auto Manufacturing

Posted by Mike Bonner

Aug 1, 2017 1:03:00 PM

red convertible auto manufacturing.jpgYou just hit the open road. You see the sunlight reflecting off the hood of your car. You press the pedal down and as your car accelerates, you think to yourself, “Thank you, viscosity, for making this all possible.”

I doubt there’s ever been a driver anywhere who has acknowledged viscosity for the performance of his or her vehicle. But the truth is, viscosity plays a more significant role than you may think in your vehicle’s ability to look and perform its best.

Here are four areas where effective viscosity control, during the painting and coating process, can make sure a vehicle functions at its highest potential:

Fuel efficiency

New technology like solar-reflective paint can help keep a vehicle cooler by minimizing the amount of heat a car’s exterior paint absorbs, keeping the interior cooler and reducing the need for air conditioning. And according to the Department of Energy, running the air conditioner in hot weather can cut fuel economy by 5 to 25 percent.

Cars painted with white, silver, or lighter shades can produce similar results, as lighter colors will not absorb as much heat as darker ones. Glossy clearcoats and other paint effects that increase reflectivity will also help keep the car’s cabin cooler. Adequate viscosity and temperature control during the coating process is the best way to ensure that these paints and clearcoats are applied to meet quality and performance standards – and ultimately improve the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

Cost efficiency

Viscosity can also help make a vehicle’s price tag look more appealing to the consumer (and the production costs more attractive to the manufacturer). Temperature control solutions ensure that paints and coatings are applied right the first time, and under optimal conditions. This not only reduces the solvents and/or additives needed to maintain the ideal viscosity, it saves on manufacturing costs as automakers won’t have to spend as much on materials and labor.

Adequate viscosity control also reduces the defects in the finished product. Fewer defects mean fewer line stoppages needed to correct problems, fewer customer rejects, and less labor and resources required to correct inefficiencies.

Corrosion protection

On the road, in driveways, and everywhere in between, cars are subject to all sorts of environmental conditions that can cause scratches and abrasions, and can result in rust, and other forms of corrosion. Clearcoats serve as a first line of defense for a vehicle’s paint job, and in turn, the substrates underneath.

To ensure that a vehicle’s paint and clearcoat provide the corrosion protection that consumers expect, these coatings should be applied at the optimal viscosity. This  ensures that these coatings are applied at the consistency, thickness, and coverage needed to protect vehicles from dust, dirt, road salt, UV rays and any other hazards thrown their way.


This is probably the most noticeable area to see viscosity’s impact on a vehicle. The luster, the color, the smoothness of a finish. Temperature and viscosity control can ensure consistency across each section of the automobile’s body (even if constructed of different substrates). That means that the color of a bumper will be an exact match to a side panel, and will display the same sheen and texture as well.

Learn more about identifying and preventing the cause of automotive paint problems. Get your free copy of our Orange Prevention eGuide.

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Topics: paint and coating

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