More sustainable coatings for trains

Covestro collaborates with industry partners to advance low-carbon coating systems for railway transportation

  • Cooperation agreement signed with China’s CRRC Tangshan and Paint-Key
  • Production efficiency, energy and carbon reduction, waterborne solutions in focus of industry’s green transformation
  • Waterborne topcoat solution for high-speed trains meets commercial standards after completing 300,000 kilometers of off-road test

Materials manufacturer Covestro has entered into a cooperation agreement with CRRC Tangshan Co., Ltd., a Chinese rolling stock manufacturer, and Suzhou Paint-Key Material Science Co., Ltd., a paint maker. This partnership, formalized during the China International Import Expo (CIIE), aims to advance the development and implementation of low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) and low-carbon emission coating systems in the railway transportation industry, supporting the sector’s transition towards more sustainable practices.

Covestro will leverage its innovation capabilities and local market insights through this partnership to address the challenges facing the industry in its transition to sustainability, such as high energy consumption resulting from complex multi-step baking processes and the low efficiency associated with manual coating application.

“In alignment with the objectives of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, which emphasize green advanced manufacturing and the high-quality development of railroad vehicles, CRRC Tangshan has been proactively engaging with innovative materials manufacturer Covestro and paint maker Paint-Key to explore energy-saving and emission-reduction solutions,” said Ma Xiaofeng, Director of Manufacture Technology Center at CRRC Tangshan Co., Ltd. “We have already made tangible progress, and with this partnership, we are excited about our role in guiding the railway transportation industry into a new era of sustainability.”

“Paint-Key is committed to fostering scientific and technological innovation. Our primary focus is to transform scientific and technological breakthroughs into specialized coating solutions that effectively address industry-specific challenges,” said Ye Fuqiang, President of Suzhou Paint-Key Material Science Co., Ltd. “The cooperation agreement with Covestro and CRRC Tangshan aims to advance various aspects of railway transportation painting, including production efficiency, energy conservation, carbon reduction, and the promotion of water-borne solutions.”

Covestro’s low-carbon emission coating solutions for the railway transportation industry play a pivotal role in CRRC Tangshan’s transition towards a greener, low-carbon future, serving as the central focus of the latest cooperation agreement.

High-speed railroad car components, such as wheel bogies, traditionally require multi-layer coating and multi-step baking production processes. Covestro’s low-carbon coating solution is designed for two-component, non-baking systems, enabling rapid curing and direct to metal (DTM) application for enhanced efficiency. This innovation empowers CRRC Tangshan to streamline its coating processes and significantly reduce workshop energy consumption related to coating baking. Consequently, this solution is expected to save approximately 20 million kilowatt-hours annually in the final production workshop. This estimation is based on an annual production of 1,000 carriages, equating to roughly 25 percent of the current energy consumption. Additionally, the adoption of a non-baking system is expected to contribute to an annual reduction of approximately 24,000 tons in CO2 emissions.

Traditional putty used in railway vehicle bodywork relies on unsaturated polyester systems and manual application. Covestro’s low-carbon solution revolutionizes this process by enabling automated spraying and sanding of putty, along with rapid ambient curing. This breakthrough has the potential to significantly enhance vehicle production efficiency, with an estimated reduction of 40 percent in the production cycle time.

“We’re committed to a ‘customer-centric’ approach, leveraging our robust research and development capabilities to comprehensively support urban rail and high-speed rail in elevating their green manufacturing standards,” said Li Jinqi, Vice President of Covestro’s Coatings and Adhesives segment in Greater China. “Beyond our energy-saving and carbon-reduction solutions, we also provide cutting-edge waterborne coating solutions for the railway transportation sector, providing practical greener solutions from the raw material end. By doing so, we aim to transform the vision of a circular economy into reality.”

Covestro’s waterborne topcoat solution for high-speed trains has successfully completed 300,000 kilometers of off-road testing, fulfilling commercial standards. This solution exhibits outstanding weather resistance and chemical durability, capable of withstanding adverse factors like wind, sand, stones, and changing weather conditions, satisfying the stringent requirements for high-speed train topcoats. It also delivers a high-gloss finish that meets the aesthetic design requirements of premium trains.

For a closer look at Covestro’s solutions for a fully circular future at the CIIE, visit us at booth 3B6-05, at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) from November 5 to 10, 2023.


About Covestro:

Covestro is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials and their components. With its innovative products, processes and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, cosmetics and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself.

The company is committed to becoming fully circular and is striving to become climate neutral by 2035 (scope 1 and 2). Covestro generated sales of EUR 18 billion in fiscal 2022. At the end of 2022, the company had 50 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 18,000 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).

Forward-looking statements

This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at www.covestro.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.