05 September 2017

What temperatures should automotive masking tape withstand?

High temperature resistance is one of the key features of automotive masking tape and other masking solutions for the car refinishing sector. In this article, we deepen a topic that sometimes arises confusion in the field: what temperatures is a masking tape required to withstand during an average painting procedure? How long?

To answer the question, we have to go through the main steps of the painting procedure performed in body shops and car repair centers. Usually, masking tape is applied on the vehicles just once, in combination with masking paper or film, and has to stay in place and maintain its features throughout the whole process. To do so, it has to undergo several drying cycles without losing its adhesive power or leaving sticky traces on the underlying surface.

In the average car painting procedure, drying cycles include:

  1. Plaster drying: plasters are applied on the damaged area after sanding, to fill the scratches and level the surface. Every product comes with specific drying temperatures but, generally speaking, plasters drying usually will not exceed 65°C for 5 minutes*.
  2. Primer drying: primers are used to protect the surface against corrosion and to ease the adherence of the following products. They are applied over the plaster and commonly need to dry at 90°C for 15-20 minutes, or exposed at IR lamp at 110°C for 2 minutes*.
  3. Undercoat drying: a layer of undercoat painting is spread over the surface just after the primer application. The undercoat’s purpose is to cover all the small imperfections that may have remained after sanding and plastering. The undercoat usually dries with IR lamp at 70°C for 15 minutes.
  4. Basecoat drying: basecoat is what we commonly refer to as “paint”, what gives the color and the effect to the vehicle. Normally, the basecoat layer dries in booth at 60°C for half an hour*.
  5. Clearcoat drying: clearcoat is the last product to use when painting a car. It’s a glossy layer of paint that protects from UV rays and abrasion. Just like the basecoat, it usually dries in booth at 60°C for half an hour*.

To gain particular effects, such as pearlescent shades, an additional layer of basecoat is spread before clearcoat’s application. This layer usually dries at 50°C for 15 minutes*.

Let’s do the math

As it is clear from the data, a good masking tape for automotive refinishing has to withstand a maximum of 90°C for twenty minutes or 110°C for two minutes. Obviously, that’s not all to evaluate the high temperature requirements for a quality tape: we have to consider the exposure time to lower temperatures, too. A good tape has to resist an exposure of 60-70°C for about one hour and a half, or a bit longer if you are using double basecoat.

PPM Industries masking tape 3010 is designed to withstand 110°C for half an hour, 90°C for one hour and lower temperatures for even longer exposure times, so to offer a significant margin to the average requirements of a professional body shop.

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*Drying times and temperatures may vary according to the product and technology you use. All values reported are determined by PPM Industries during workshops with body shops and professional paints producers. Always read the technical data sheet of the products you use to determine the right drying temperature and times.

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