Window frames introduce several common design problems during the painting process for auto parts suppliers:
- Sashes, pillars, and frames are a challenging and awkward shape to paint.
- They’re often painted as a “black-out” frame—a different color from the rest of the vehicle.
- Drying/curing is time-consuming, regardless of the limited surface area.
- The multi-step painting process is expensive for such a small percentage of the vehicle.
This has caused many automakers to shift away from traditional paint for these parts of the door assembly in favor of a fast, durable, cost-effective alternative: paint replacement films. These pressure-sensitive adhesives mimic the appearance of paint by coating metal or plastic parts with a thin polyvinyl chloride (PVC) film.
Because they are essentially tapes, they go on smoothly and require no complex processes or equipment. Paint replacement films solve all of the problems presented by paint, and also offer benefits of their own. Here are several of the essential advantages of making the switch from paint to film for cars:
- OEM Approved: OEMs can have demanding quality standards, but thankfully, paint replacement films can stand up to the rigorous automotive design specifications required of today’s automotive parts while also helping you meet their price point. The PVC that comprises the films has incredible chemical and environmental resistances—they can withstand years of rain, temperature fluctuations, car washes, and abrasive forces that could easily chip or gouge paint.
- Excellent Adhesion: Paint replacement films use modified acrylic adhesives to provide robust and long-lasting adhesion with outstanding shear performance.
- Faster, Cheaper Assembly: PSAs eliminate the expenses and time that go into the painting process and its convoluted steps. This speeds up cycle times that would otherwise be dragged down by ponderous masking, de-masking, rejections, and equipment maintenance.
- Simple and Safe to Apply: Films are die-cuttable and can be dispensed with simple tools that further speed up production and reduce costs. Because they are pressure-sensitive, you won’t need the masks or ventilation systems that protect workers from breathing paint.
- Conformable Adhesion: PVC film has excellent stretch to conform to the curvature and shape of door sashes and pillars so that your automotive side glass is neatly and sharply framed.
- An Alternative to Chrome: Door sashes tend to be done in black, but the metallic finish of chrome is sometimes a desirable touch. While chrome sashes can be attractive and sophisticated, these metal parts are also expensive. Automotive film can give you an identical chrome finish at a fraction of the cost.
- Differentiation Opportunity: A matte black paint replacement film, for example, can be used to differentiate your brand with a unique aesthetic in your overall design. The contrast with lustrous door paint or the reflective glass of the window can be visually striking.
In addition to these benefits, paint replacement films are also a versatile solution that can be applied anywhere from window sashes and door pillars to sealing strips, sunroofs, windshield trim, and more in lieu of traditional paint.
Contact an experienced supplier of automotive tapes and films for more information on how paint replacement films could save costs and time in your design.