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Balzers, Liechtenstein, 20 August 2015 – Standing Oerlikon Balzers customer Zanini Auto Grup will put into operation their first automated Paint Line, the INUBIA P6 system for UV lacquer coating of plastics components. Together with the existing PVD coating technology from Oerlikon Balzers, Zanini will be able to deliver metallized plastics components to the automotive industry and meet the highest expectations in regard to the glossy, metallic appearance of the popular chrome look, while also fulfilling stringent protection and environmental demands.

Zanini Auto Grup, Spain, invests in Oerlikon Balzers technology
Zanini Auto Grup, Spain, invests in Oerlikon Balzers technology

Plastics metallization is a technology that has been attracting the interest of designers and major industry sectors for many years now. Consumer products which bear components with an attractive metallic look are fashionable and raise the perceived value of the end product as a whole. Environmental necessity has led scientists and developers to strive for new surface technologies and to develop alternatives that provide new coatings with comparable visual and protective properties - but with less or no environmental impact.

Oerlikon Balzers has developed their ePD technology, a surface technology that not only provides the glossy look of metal – the most popular being the chromium look – but also satisfies the high protective requirements that a coating needs to offer. Furthermore, ePD is the more environmentally friendly alternative compared to out-of-date metallization techniques. No harmful agents such as chromium VI or other heavy metals are used in the process.

Zanini Auto Grup, based in Parets del Vallés, Barcelona, Spain, has been a full service supplier for automotive exterior and interior parts for more than 50 years, their portfolio including plastic moulding as well as plastics metallizing. Their wheel trim products, radiator grills, back door handles, emblems, strips and airbag covers are today part of well-known automobile brands all over the world. Zanini has been relying on Oerlikon Balzers PVD technology since 2005 and – working together closely with Balzers technology experts in the past – has gained vast experience in automotive interior and exterior deco parts.

With their new INUBIA P6 equipment, Zanini will be able to supply coatings based on ePD technology licensed from Oerlikon Balzers. “We see this as the beginning of a successful collaboration, as we plan to extend our capacities based on Oerlikon Balzers’ ePD technology within further systems in Europe, the USA and China, in accordance with market needs,” says Xavier Serra Monté, Manufacturing and Engineering Director at Zanini. In a further step, Zanini has the option of increasing the capacity of the equipment by adding a fully automated in-line PVD coating system, thus combining PVD coating and UV paint technology to a fully integrated system.

“ePD significantly improves material efficiency and safety, eliminates worker exposure to Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) and has no negative impact on the environment. It is more sustainable than conventional chrome plating as it saves resources and consumes less energy,” explains Bernd Fischer, Head of Oerlikon Balzers. Furthermore, ePD includes no hazardous substances and produces low emissions (no toxic waste). Because it operates entirely without the use of toxic substances such as chromium derivatives, Zanini will not be affected by the restrictions arising from the European REACH environmental regulations that will apply to coating technologies requiring chromium VI.

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