Most trucks are made of steel. And sooner or later, steel rusts. The vehicle is a significant part of the external image of your transport business, and a high finish on component surfaces is therefore desirable, while wear resistance and corrosion resistance are requirements.
Let’s start by finding out how rust can affect your business. A few small rust stains here and there surely don’t do any harm, do they? Well, when it comes to the total cost of ownership, rust can actually be a very costly factor. It is estimated that about 3% of the world’s total GDP is lost annually due to corrosion. A key to reducing rust, or corrosion – technically the electrochemical oxidation of metal, is surface finishing. The better and more durable the surface finish, the less corrosion, and thus a longer service life for the steel component.
Surface finishing, or surface treatment, refers to a range of processes that give materials and equipment desirable properties. These properties can be completely different. For the uninitiated, it is important to point out that surface finishing is not simply applying a little rustproofing and paint.
The functional properties of the surface finish make the surface resistant to rust and hard wear. Cosmetic characteristics, i.e. the product’s colour, glossiness or dullness in the selected surface finish, help to give your steel components a stylish look.
When it comes to trucks, high demands are placed on both functional properties and cosmetic characteristics. The surface finish or finishes that will be durable in the long term for your business depends on the conditions under which the component will be used. But in general, a durable – and in the long run – profitable surface finishing process is both time consuming and complicated.
In terms of the functional properties you want to achieve, surface finishing is carried out in several steps. This, of course, raises the price of the product as the material for this finishing is costly and the process is more time consuming than if you choose a simple surface finishing. But then you can be sure that the vehicle – from the moment it leaves the assembly facility – will be better able to withstand surface stresses such as mechanical wear and stone chipping, compared to components with simpler surface finishing.
When it comes to the most exposed parts of a truck, it is important to view the surface finish as a long-term investment. The right surface finish will translate to a lower total cost of ownership – the components simply last longer before damage must be repaired or they must be replaced. A functional product with a maintained finish is also positive in terms of resale value.
To create the best possible corrosion protection, wear resistance and a high finish, VBG’s sheet metal components go through a complicated multi-step process that meets the automotive industry’s toughest requirements regarding corrosion.
To begin with, the product undergoes two types of pre-treatment. A mechanical treatment as well as a chemical treatment in which the surface is undergoes abrasive blasting, cleaning and conversion. This is followed by electrophoretic deposition (EPD) in the form of an extremely thin coating which covers the entire product. The EPD coat has very high penetrability to provide maximum barrier protection, and it is the first step in the coating. The topcoat on VBG’s products consists of powder coating, which is applied via friction charging and then cured in an oven. This produces a hard, durable and chip-resistant surface that will last for many years to come.