Trailer Magazine

Rust-proof solution: CIMC – 2019 BTS Preview

  • Posted on Wednesday 15th, May 2019.

CIMC Vehicle Australia will introduce the local transport industry to an innovative paint solution during the Brisbane Truck Show. A range of trailers on display will feature the manufacturer’s new KTL painting processes, which combine electrophoretic dip coating with a powder coated finish.

CIMC recently became the first semi-trailer manufacturer in Australia to use Catophoretic Painting (KTL) on an entire trailer.

Taking advantage of its global network, CIMC now begins the production process of each of its trailers in its digitalised factory called the Light Tower Factory. It is one of four of the manufacturer’s purpose-built semi-automated production factories located in China. The key components for its trailers are then sourced from all over the world.

CIMC has moved from the traditional labour-intensive manufacturing model to a technology-intensive manufacturing model; abiding by the principles of cross-ocean manufacturing, local engineering and after-sale support.

At the Light Tower factory, millions of dollars has been invested on its KTL painting processes. As a result, CIMC is able to dip the entire length of the trailer chassis in multiple pools, ensuring the whole steel frame is perfectly covered.

For a trailer to be able to maintain its immaculate paint finish, both the paint products and the paint processes need to be designed to stand up to challenging conditions. Skel trailers for example need to be able to withstand the impact of the coastal environment, and the loading and unloading of heavy containers on a daily basis.

By using its KTL process, CIMC ensures not only a consistent paint quality, but also protection from rust and corrosion.

The KTL process
To begin the KTL painting process, the trailer chassis is first dipped into an electrocoat tank, where it receives its primer coat. This special coating is designed to protect the trailer’s surface, edges and cavities from corrosion – thus eliminating the risk of rust. It also provides a great base for the application of the remaining layers of paint.

During the initial coat process, which is called cathodic e-coating, an electric current is used so that the paint is permanently applied to the body. The trailer body that has been coated through this process becomes what it known as the ‘cathode’. This means it has a negative charge. While the coating’s binder particles, the cations, have a positive charge. With the help of an electric current, these particles move toward the trailer body, where they are deposited. The body is then rinsed, before being baked at 180°C.

Through a combination of dipping the entire body and making use of an electric field, the end result is enhanced protection from corrosion.

“Powder coated finished products is quite common for small trailer components but for the entire trailer, CIMC is the market leader in this area,” says Luke Byrne, Account Manager for CIMC Vehicle Australia.

“Australia has a wide variety of climates due to its large geographical size. There are a number of powder coated CIMC 45ft flat deck trailers running in northern Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria since early 2017 and this shows their excellent performance in chemical resistance and UV fading.

“Powder coating generally produces a coating twice as thick as standard paint. The real advantage is its flexibility and ability to bend and yield with the material it is applied to. This makes it ideal for the transport industry where trailers are subjected to a lot of vibration and twisting as they move down the road. We have also found that they stand up way better to rock chips and other common road damage,” adds Luke.

During the Brisbane Truck Show, CIMC will showcase one of its retractable skel trailers, which has been finished in KTL paint. CIMC is exhibiting at stand 81, foyer.

By adapting the most advanced technologies and continuous improvements to its product range, CIMC’s commitment is to deliver exceptional products and services to its clients.

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