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SURFACE TREATMENT Indian automotive benefitting from boom in surface treatment

Jun 19, 2020

Advanced surface treatment serves various purposes and has the potential to amplify functional and utilitarian purposes of the automotive industry. The author company RS India provides unrivalled product range and services to industries ranging from automobile to electronics. With the surface treatment industry on the road to growth since a long time, following article by RS India explores the demand and growth factor from the automotive industry and how India can emerge as the leader in the treatment industry during the present time, where China and USA are suffering due to COVID-19. - Jayant Joshi, MD, RS India

Advanced surface treatments are used more in daily manufacturing of parts for the automotive industry to serve functional or utilitarian purposes. Recent reports have revealed that there is an unexpected growth that is anticipated in the automotive surface treatment in the coming years. The growth had already begun in 2019 and is said to continue in the future. Higher specific loads (thermal, mechanical, etc), weight & friction reduction, longer components life and improved corrosion resistance – with reduced sludge and other environmental hazards and with reduced energy & water consumption in comparatively fewer process steps – are demanded for modern automotive systems. The automotive surface treatment segment includes major competitors, such as the USA, Europe, Japan, China, India and South East Asia. The types of products that are manufactured in these areas are – anti-rust oil treatment, electric galvanised, spraying etc.

Surface treatment in automotive

Surface treatment is a generic term used for physical or chemical job procedures in which damaged or replaced body panel is repaired or renovated for successful implementation of surface coating. It majorly influences the printing quality. Surface quality usually involves five procedures – accessing the damaged zone, removing old/damaged coating, sanding the feather edges, cleaning, degreasing and applying epoxy primer.

Factors like MoUs, joint ventures, expansions, product launches, acquisitions, partnerships, etc have played a role in the boom of the automotive surface treatment industry, and big companies have used it to their advantage. The global market is highly split and companies from around the world are trying to make the most of the surface treatment in one of the biggest industries in the world, which is the automotive. Surface treatment services in the automotive sector include work in passenger cars and commercial vehicles. This treatment is of great importance as it provides certainly better mechanical properties (hardness, wear and fatigue resistance) and corrosion resistance of the surface of the treated parts.

India is the fourth largest player when it comes to the automotive industry and is regularly providing new opportunities for the surface treatment industries. Keeping in consideration the recent market boost, Indian companies working in surface treatment are set to acquire great profits. With many international companies manufacturing vehicles in India and with the upcoming growth in electrical vehicles, surface treatments will be required more, not just by Indian companies but also with international companies, such as Hyundai, Skoda, Audi etc. Surface treatment is also important, as with this process one gets improved quality products and it becomes easier to gain the trust of the customers. Surface treatment offers efficient, reliable, innovative and sustainable equipment.

Present growth & future profitability

For RS India, the automotive industry has been an interesting and ongoing area of study and interest. Earlier, the surface treatment industry wasn’t very prominent, but recently, with industries becoming more particular about the quality and consistency of the products they manufacture, surface treatment has come to light. With the ongoing growth in the industry and with more opportunities coming our way in surface treatment, the industry is going to have a good time and become more prominent. New ventures are being started and companies are adopting new technologies to grow the reach and abilities of surface treatment services.

Investments have also increased in the past few years, and companies both, in India and abroad, are getting into international partnerships and ventures to increase the business. New technologies are being introduced and with new advancements, the industry is reaching new heights by providing better quality and better services. Commercialisation on the other hand, is also increasing over time, and is set to benefit the industry in the coming years by bringing it to everyone’s attention. More attention towards the industry will also increase profitability, benefitting local companies to grow beyond expectations. Plus, the market is also set to expand and become more welcoming to local companies. The process we are discussing of surface treatment is benefitting by modifying the surfaces when it comes in interaction. This is the principle that is being used to clean and activate them.

In India, we can continue to expand our operations and missions globally. With skilled workforce, we can also engineer manufacturing innovation from concept to implementation. A global customer base demands great breadth of knowledge, expert consultation and product versatility.

Opportunities for India during COVID-19

While major competitors, like China and USA have been affected drastically by the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s a golden time for Indian companies to make the most of this opportunity. They can easily benefit from the current situation and ongoing boom in this automobile industry and bring in profits by expanding their reach to international companies after the situation of the adverse pandemic gets in control. India has the advantage of being home to lacs of skilled workers; companies can hire such workers and can get the work done by professional and experienced people. Surface modifications of fillers have resulted in better mechanical properties for their composites as compared with untreated ones. SEM micrographs revealed that surface treated rein forcers dispersed more homogeneously than untreated fillers. Results confirmed that surface modifications have improved the adhesion of fillers.

Since these new treatments are becoming common in powertrain and engine applications, generating optimised surfaces for different types of substrate materials (eg, Al-alloys, case hardened steels, etc) and geometries (eg, bores) also impacts the running costs. Due to the new developments within these competing surface treatments, it becomes advisable to substitute traditional treatments with advanced automated treatments. This advanced technological process will be highly demanded as it can form a dense structure with good physical properties, by providing superior surface finish, thereby, allowing India to rise as a strong player in the surface treatment industry and change the market dimensions through its workforce.

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  • Jayant Joshi

    Managing Director

    RS India

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