Alro has more than 30 years of experience in the KTL coating of metal parts. It is one of the best metal protection technologies available. Our current KTL line has been in operation since 1992 but a lot has changed in the automotive sector since then. Demand for KTL coatings for EV battery casings and parts keeps on rising. To meet that rising demand, we need extra capacity – lots of extra capacity, so we built a second KTL line at the Asitec site. That line has been operational since 27 June 2022. The new line has doubled our capacity so that we can help solve our customers’ new challenges. Now we are more than ready for the future.
Alro responds to growth of electric cars
In recent years, Alro has launched two major e-mobility projects. Both Audi and Volvo were facing challenges in terms of the treatment of their EVs’ battery covers. We developed a number of innovative technologies ourselves to overcome these challenges. There are many other players in the automotive industry jumping on the EV bandwagon. As a result, there is an increasing demand for battery part coatings. During the KTL process we use a current to apply an organic coat of paint in a 90,000-litre cataphoretic dip bath. The coat of paint is attracted by the exchange of electrons and is then deposited on the part. That is how we create an extremely even, sealed coat of paint.
Twice the capacity will result in additional projects in the future
“Because of the positive growth with our current customers, we needed to increase our capacity. That is why last year we decided to establish a second KTL line at the Asitec site,” Sales & Projects Director Dirk Broekhoven says. The new line has been operational since 27 June and has doubled our capacity. We can currently handle the organic growth generated by our existing customers, but we still have a lot of capacity available for new customers. The new KTL line responds to increasing market demand. “We see that a large capacity will be needed in the coming years to process the battery parts. We are already anticipating this now and have acquired additional capacity to realise more projects in the future,” Technical Director Carl Bruynseels adds.
The added value of the new KTL line
The first line was already one of the biggest in Europe. There was therefore no need to make the new line much bigger. Both lines are identical to each other in terms of pretreatment and KTL coatings. As the new line has the same size, it can also be used for KTL coating large parts such as EV battery casings and battery parts. The only difference is that the new KTL line is wider and can handle even more weight. The latter applies to both the conveyor system and the furnaces. It also allows us to apply a thicker KTL coat. The normal thickness is 20 µm, but the new KTL line enables us to go up to 35 µm and even more than that.
We handle all the engineering ourselves from A to Z
Our know-how has remained in-house, but for certain issues such as water treatment we did rely on external specialists. “Our own engineering and automation have enabled us to build complex paint treatment plants. We also expand that to the projects for our clients, in which we use our own services to tailor each client’s customised process. This allows us to take care of everything for our customers,” Dirk says. Alro’s Power & Free transport system also makes us very flexible. It allows us to easily lock in and lock out the paint racks holding the parts.
Thanks to our in-house engineering, Alro Group can respond to market demands very easily. Our patented fire protection coating system is another excellent example. Thanks to this innovative coating system, battery casings can withstand temperatures of up to 1,800°C for up to 30 minutes. It therefore significantly extends the time people have to safely exit the vehicle, which now exceeds the current Global Technical Regulation No. 20 for the automotive industry. “We have what we need to support the opportunities that are coming our way and provide an optimal solution to all our customers,” Dirk concludes.