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Aussie auto coatings company hits the spot

Camry interior: Coating and Industrial Technologies (CIT) counts Toyota among its local clientele.

CIT wins GM certification, US licensing deal as one-process coating takes off

General News logo15 Mar 2011

By RON HAMMERTON

A SMALL Australian company specialising in coatings for automotive interior plastics has signed an agreement with leading global paint supplier Red Spot to take its world-first single-process coatings to world markets.

Coating & Industrial Technologies (CIT), which was established in 2004 in Victoria to develop and make new coatings, has also received global certification from General Motors for its advanced Sigma Colour Series coatings that can be applied to directly polypropylene parts without the usual ‘flame treatment’ and/or priming, saving car companies and their suppliers both energy and money.

Based in Dandenong, CIT already supplies its Gamma coatings to all three Australian manufacturers for the Holden Commodore, Ford Falcon, Toyota Camry and Toyota Aurion.

The coatings are developed and made by the small team at the Dandenong plant for the car-makers’ Tier 1 suppliers, who spray the coatings on to polypropylene/TPO parts such as console mouldings and door linings.

Now, US-based, Japanese-owned Red Spot Paint & Varnish has signed a collaborative agreement with CIT to make the Australian company’s Sigma and Gamma ranges of coatings, not only for the North American market but also for Asia – including Japan and China – and Europe.

Red Spot already supplies its products for major motor manufacturers, including GM and Toyota.

The deal, announced earlier this month, pitches CIT into the big league against painting giants such as DuPont, PPG and Nippon.

80 center imageLeft: Holden Commodore Omega interior.

CIT director of administration and marketing Eric Schell told GoAuto that the Red Spot licensing agreement and the GM certification had both come within the past month.

The GM certification means CIT’s Sigma range meets the latest and most stringent standards laid down by the company for global suppliers. It was announced in mid February, while the Red Spot deal followed on March 1.

Mr Schell said that when GM had expressed an interest in primer-less Sigma coatings, CIT representatives had travelled to the US to discuss an arrangement with potential partners to supply overseas customers.

He said Red Spot was the stand-out company for a potential collaboration, as it already had strong links with GM and other companies.

“For us, Red Spot has always been the technology leader in that particular field of expertise,” he said.

Mr Schell and other CIT partners founded the small company in 2004, coming from a background in the automotive supply business, making bodykits and plastic parts such as bumpers for local car-makers. Part of that business required robotic painting of plastic parts.

“A lot of the technology that was available then was relatively old technology and things had moved on, so we thought there was a niche to develop new coatings,” he said.

“One system that we have developed, called the Sigma Colour Series, is ground-breaking, because it does away with the normal flame treatment and/or priming of polypropylene components.

“We have the Sigma series approved for the new interior performance specification that General Motors is introducing.

“At the moment, there are not that many companies that have achieved that specification.

“For us, more importantly, we are the only company in the world that has achieved that specification with our system. There is no other system where you don’t use flame and/or primer to get it to actually stick to it.

“It is a good product for cost savings and also good for the environment. Technically, this Sigma system is quite a feat.”

Mr Schell said it had taken CIT about two years to get its Sigma system approved by GM’s certification process, which includes tests for durability.

He said tests involve resistance to UV exposure and everyday chemicals such as sunscreen and mosquito spray, which are tough on such coatings.

Mr Schell the GM certification and Red Spot licensing agreement were “almost like winning a world championship, in a sense”.

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