Part of being a field service tech means driving all kinds of commercial and industrial vehicles from one job site to another — sometimes through dirt, mud, dust, or worse. Dirty jobs make for dirty vans.
But a nascent materials technology could change all that for neat-freak fleet managers. New industrial coatings are emerging from research labs that can keep dirty vehicles looking as good as new with nothing more than a light rinse. The Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands has developed a vehicle surface coating that not only eliminates the need to ever clean it again, but also has a self-repair feature for minor scratches. According to a university release, superficial blemishes “will be self-repaired and the water droplets simply roll off the car, taking dirt with them. An occasional rain shower is all that’s needed to keep the car clean.”
The new tech could also be applied to devices like smartphones, making them scratch-resistant while on the job. When the outer surface is scratched, small “stalks” that hold specific chemical groups in the coating underneath reconstruct the previous surface.
Before all that hits the market, fleet managers may have another option as well: Global paints and coatings company AkzoNobel recently unveiled a new do-it-yourself product called Stickerfix that allows body shops to make quick surface repairs for minor damage. This technology will initially be released for the consumer market, but could have potential applications for industrial vehicles.