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Metallic Migraines: PPG research says some metallic finishes interfere with ADAS

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Repainting bumper covers with certain metallic finishes can interfere with the operation of radar units located behind the bumper, according to recent findings from PPG.

The paint giant’s research was conducted in partnership with several automakers and aimed to calculate the impact of a variety of colours on repainted bumpers. The findings state that, while most colours do not affect the functionality of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), some metallic finishes “did pose an issue,” said Nick Tullett, global products and segments director said in the February issue of Coatings World magazine.

“At certain concentrations, the aluminum pigments used in metallic paints can reduce the transmission of RADAR signals and may interfere with the operation of the ADAS,” he said.

Tullett predicted metallic finishes and associated ADAS interventions will be “an increasing industry-wide issue,” as 85 percent of new vehicles sold in North America are expected to be equipped with ADAS functionality. PPG’s sources say approximately one in four new vehicles today tout a metallic finish.

He said suppliers have evaluated swapping the aluminum pigments in the metallic finishes to reduce impact and improve RADAR transmissions.

“These reformulated colours maintain a good match to the vehicle’s original finish while reducing the RADAR transmission loss so that safety systems can function as they should.”

Tullet also stressed that OEMs and paint and coatings suppliers “will need to take a greater role in setting the direction for repairs, with guidelines, technical and service bulletins, training and tutorials, to ensure drivers remain safe.”

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