The age of shiny, smooth, sparkling vehicles is slowly giving way to rugged, tough looks – at least in the category of heavy vehicles and SUVs. It’s the matt and sturdy finish that these vehicle owners are calling for. And it’s come as no surprise to the once insignificant bedliner service of the automotive industry. This was bound to happen someday; after all durable is the keyword catching up now.
Social media has been popping up the video of Line-X, a company that specializes in polymer coating that protects pickup beds in vehicles from scratches. The egg test in the advertisement has done a load of good with several automobile owners generously spending those few extra thousand dollars to get their entire vehicle sprayed with the thick coating of plastic protection. After all, if it can protect an egg from smashing to bits, it can do wonders for vehicles.
The newfound interest in the protective bedliner spray industry perked up my IP instinct. Line-X does not seem to own any patents in this space, but there are a few interesting patents and applications that describe this technology in great detail.
Stabilizing an archer’s bow
The bane of an archer lies in the long vibration that a shot-out arrow leaves behind. This could detract the performance of the bow over a period of time. Patent US7438070 describes the use of a polymer product, similar to the one used to protect automotive bedliners, that can absorb shock and enhance the performance of the bow.
Keeping punctures off boat hulls
Boat hulls come under extreme duress, making them heavily prone to wear and tear. But polymers such as those used to protect automobile bedliners can help protect boat hulls for longer periods of time. Patent US8387548 describes just that.
In a bid to protect boat hulls from punctures and water leaks, the patent suggests the use of a self-sealing material with a three layered coating. . It suggests the sandwiching of water-reactive beads in between two layers of high-elastomeric material. In the event of a puncture or wear and tear, the beads react with the water; and with the help of adjacent high-elastomeric material, immediately congeal, closing the punctured area.
In a similar invention, patent US5114783 describes steps towards providing an impact resistant finish for various materials, including those made of wood, glass, rubber, plastic and metal to name a few. If Line-X’s egg experiment is anything to go by, then acrylate polymers are good enough to provide a protective coating with good abrasion and chemical resistance properties.
The advantage of using this patented technology is that it ensures there are multiple layers – at least two layers – of coating that enhances durability. The inner layer that is sprayed directly on the product is made of soft urethane polymer, while the outer layer comprises of the harder acrylic polymer. This cross linking of a hard and soft polymer increases a product’s resistance to impact and ensures greater durability even under stress.
There are several patents describing such technology; but it’s interesting to find this entering the mainstream in such a big way. If it takes the market by storm, we may soon enjoy a season of dent-free vehicles.
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