Surface Treatments Solutions

Our Surface Treatment Solutions Help Ensure High-Quality Results, While Improving Efficiency, Sustainability and Generating Cost Savings

Surface treatment technology is essential in advanced manufacturing as it prepares metal surfaces for subsequent operations, such as painting, welding and bonding.

Henkel’s expertise coupled with a full range of conversion coating solutions enables our customers to effectively use our solutions with consistent/predictable, quality results.

Our comprehensive support includes:

  • In-house testing of corrosion performance
  • Expert team with access to more than 130 analytical methods
  • Broad range of modern surface analytical and spectroscopic methods
  • Process testing on small samples to large parts

Data-enabled services, such as our BONDERITE® LineguardX Smart Manufacturing System, offers a cloud-based analytics platform to maximize efficiency and reduce costs through providing early warning of potential issues.

Our solutions meet our customers’ needs, including:

  • Effective surface treatment across a wide range of single and mixed-metal types
  • Efficient processing through a reduced number of steps
  • Improved sustainability through a reduction in waste, as well as in energy and water usage

Contact us to find out how Henkel can provide personalized surface treatment solutions.

Iron Phosphate Coatings

Simple, Flexible Process That Inhibits Corrosion and Improves Adhesion to Metallic Surfaces

Iron phosphate conversion coatings are formulated for spray and immersion applications on steel, aluminum, and zinc surfaces. The iron phosphate process changes the topographical and chemical nature of the surface, producing a uniform non-metallic iron phosphate conversion coating that inhibits corrosion and increases the adhesion and durability of paint finishes.

The iron phosphate pretreatment chemistry supports a wide variety of applications ranging from a single stage spray application to multi-stage spray or immersion systems. The single stage application simultaneously cleans and develops a conversion coating, while the multi-stage systems can employ a separate cleaner and conversion coating stage. The specific iron phosphate coating application method generally depends on the size of the parts being treated and the desired corrosion performance.

The iron phosphate coating process has a wide variety of uses in industries, which include general manufacturing, automotive, HVAC, and aerospace and compatible with today’s paint systems such as iron phosphate for powder coating, electrocoat, and water or solvent based applications.

Henkel is a leading provider of a wide range of iron phosphate products under the BONDERITE® M-FE naming. These Iron Phosphate products range from single stage cleaner/coaters to multi-stage products designed to coat multi-metal operations of steel, zinc, and aluminum. However, to successfully treat zinc and aluminum surfaces in an iron phosphate solution process, some modifications to the formulation and operating parameters are required.

In combination with customer performance requirements and Henkel’s expertise, we will recommend the appropriate application layout to meet your customer’s expectations and requirements.

Iron Phosphate Process Summaries

The iron phosphate conversion coating process is designed to remove surface contaminates while creating a non-metallic conversion coating on steel, zinc, and aluminum prior to paint applications. There are specific formulations and operating parameters required to successfully process zinc and aluminum through an iron phosphate bath solution. Once applied and in conjunction with the paint system the iron phosphate conversion coating promotes paint adhesion and corrosion protection. Henkel’s BONDERITE® iron phosphate conversion coatings are compatible with most paint systems, such as powder coating, electrocoat and water or solvent based applications.

Benefits of BONDERITE®'s Iron Phosphate Coatings

BONDERITE® iron phosphate coating products combine processing and commercial benefits that can make a significant difference to the everyday processing efficiency and economy of your business.

Henkel’s portfolio of iron phosphate coating solutions include:

  • Lower processing costs
  • Fewer operational steps
  • Simple control parameters
  • Flexible process

Zinc Phosphate Coatings

Excellent Corrosion Protection and Paint Adhesion

The zinc phosphate conversion coating process used today converts the metal surface into a non-metallic, polycrystalline coating containing iron, manganese, nickel, and zinc phosphates.  This coating provides an excellent base for paint adhesion and corrosion protection. As zinc phosphate conversion coatings incorporate additional metal ions into the coating to increase the alkaline resistance, it makes an excellent paint base offering superior adhesion and durability.

The zinc phosphate pretreatment process may be applied by either spray or immersion and can be used on a wide variety of substrates including bare steel, hot-dip-galvanized and electrogalvanized steels, zinc-nickel alloy, and aluminum. This pretreatment process typically incorporates three to four chemical stages.

The first step in the zinc phosphating process is cleaning the incoming surfaces of all contamination. This ensures the proper deposition of the zinc phosphate coating. The second step is the treatment of the cleaned surface with a surface conditioner. The conditioner provides nucleation sites for the zinc phosphate, thus promoting a dense microcrystalline zinc phosphate coating.

After conditioning, the surface enters either a spray or immersion zinc phosphate bath. The zinc phosphate bath changes the morphology and chemistry of the surface by depositing a dense polycrystalline zinc phosphate conversion coating. Depending on the metal substrate being processed, the zinc phosphate coating may contain iron, manganese, nickel, and zinc phosphates. Incorporating these additional metal ions into the zinc phosphate coating changes the chemical nature of the surface, increasing alkaline resistance and paint durability.

The final step in the process, which is optional, is the application of a post-treatment or sealer. The post-treatment/sealer chemistry reacts with the zinc phosphate coating, as well as any uncoated substrate, reducing the porosity of the surface and increases its corrosion resistance.

Once the zinc phosphate conversion coating has been successfully applied to the metal surface, the coating provides an excellent base for powder paint, electrocoat, and water- or solvent-based liquid paints. The final zinc phosphate coating and paint application creates a finished surface with excellent adhesion and corrosion resistance.

BONDERITE® Zinc-Phosphate “2-Step Process” or “Flex Process”

The use of aluminum is increasing, especially in automotive manufacturing, as manufacturers continue to mix metals to reduce the weight of vehicles while maintaining global safety standards. This increase of aluminum through the zinc phosphate pretreatment process presents some unique challenges. For the pre-treatment of these lightweight and mixed metal substrates, Henkel has developed our innovative Zinc Phosphate 2-Step Process.

The 2-step process employs the same cleaning and surface conditioning steps described above, however, the conversion coatings change depending on the substrate being processed. In the case of hot-dipped, electrogalvanized or zinc-nickel (Zi/Ni) alloyed steel, the traditional zinc phosphate coating is deposited on the surface by spray or immersion. In the case of aluminum, the zinc phosphate spray or immersion bath chemistry is modified to reduce the etching of the surface to prevent the zinc phosphate coating from depositing on the aluminum surface. The conversion coating deposited on the aluminum costs from the passivation or sealer stage. This stage deposits a cutting-edge thin-film zirconium conversion coating on the aluminum surface while acting as a post-treatment/sealer for the other substrates.

At Henkel, we supply a range of BONDERITE® zinc phosphate products, including traditional tri-cationic, 2-Step, and nickel-free conversion coatings - all specially formulated to promote adhesion and corrosion protection on various metal substrates prior to paint application.

Conditioners for Zinc Phosphate

Surface conditioners directly precede the zinc phosphate solution and help promote a dense, uniform zinc phosphate crystalline structure. By changing some of the surface conditioner operating parameters, such as concentration, pH, or time, the final zinc phosphate conversion coating properties will be affected. For example, by using a higher concentration of the conditioner, finer zinc phosphate crystals are allowed to form, thereby reducing the total coating weight. To ensure optimal adhesion for zinc phosphate conversion coatings, it is necessary to prepare the surface prior to treatment. This preparation removes oil and grease by using aqueous or solvent-based cleaning solutions to create the ideal bonding surface for subsequent treatment.

Henkel supplies a range of BONDERITE® surface conditioners (either titanium- or zinc-based) specially formulated   to prepare metallic surfaces for zinc phosphate coating, thereby helping to ensure a tough, long-lasting, and high-quality finish.

Post Treatment and Sealers

Further treatment following zinc phosphate coating, especially in the case of aluminum, has been proven to have a significant beneficial effect on long-term performance. Post-treatmentand sealers will reduce the porosity of the surface, thereby improving its overall long-term adhesion and corrosion resistance.

Henkel offers a broad portfolio of specially formulated BONDERITE® post-treatments which further enhance the performance of the zinc phosphate conversion coating.

Benefits of Zinc Phosphate Treatment

The zinc phosphate coating process, applied by spray or immersion, is a trusted pre-treatment designed to prepare metal surfaces for painting by providing an excellent foundation that promotes paint adhesion and corrosion protection.

Key benefits of the zinc phosphate coating process include:

  • Suitable for use with a wide range of metals, bare, hot-dipped or electrogalvanized steels, zinc-nickel alloys, and aluminum
  • Compatible with spray and immersion applications
  • Generates a uniform dense polycrystalline coating serving as an excellent foundation for subsequent paint applications
  • Compatible with a wide range of paint applications; electrocoat, powder coating, solvent-based, and water-based paint coatings
  • Automatic control
  • Surface conditioner products are available for use with a wide range of water types

Thin Film/Zirconium

Thin Film/Zirconium conversion coatings are modern/state-of-the-art pre-treatment solutions which are more sustainable substitutes to zinc and iron metal phosphate coatings. The coatings provide superior paint adhesion and corrosion protection while significantly reducing environmental impact.

These cohesive, inorganic, high-density coatings are significantly thinner (<100 nm) than traditional zinc phosphate coatings and have been developed for all metal surfaces, e.g. steel, zinc, and aluminum. The Thin Film/Zirconium technology contains no heavy metals, reduces the complexity of the pre-treatment process, and leads to superior corrosion resistance with minimal environmental impact.  Additionally, Henkel’s M-NT range enables our customers to process a high amount of aluminum in the metal mix while delivering on a number of other key benefits:

  • Reduced energy and water use
  • Reduced chemical consumption
  • Reduced sludge generation
  • Fewer processing steps

Etch Passivation of Aluminum

A unique process for Aluminum pretreatment is the Etch-Passivation-Process or 2040-process. Typically, any of the Aluminum pretreatment processes involve deoxidizers and etchants for metals help to remove oxides and contaminations from the metal surface - a process called surface etching. This is an essential part of the aluminum surface preparation for painting. Subsequently, a passivation coating is applied on the surface.

In order to reduce the floorspace required for an Aluminum passivation line, Henkel has developed the so called etch-passivation-process or 2040-process combining the deoxidizer and passivation stage into one. This significantly reduces the number of rinse stages and, thus, floorspace required as well as chemical consumption.

The 2040-process starts with an alkaline degreaser to remove dirt, grease, and oil from the surface. In the etch-passivation stage the surface is slightly etched and simultaneously a thin Titanium-conversion coating is applied on the Aluminum offering excellent corrosion resistance and paint adhesion.

2040-coating can be used to stabilize the surface resistance of the parts, as the Ti-conversion layer prevents the re-oxidation and re-passivation of the Aluminum surface for several weeks up to months. Due to this surface stabilization it is possible to process parts like structural castings or battery boxes in welding and adhesive bonding processes long after they have been treated. This process is approved and specified for the use on such components by the major OEMs, e.g. VW TL 82428, DBL 4952.11 and many more.

Autodeposition Coatings

Revolutionary Auto-Deposition Coating for the Best Protection of Complex Steel Components

Autodeposition is the process of applying a resin/pigment-based coating on a steel surface without the use of a pretreatment/electrodeposition process or a pretreatment/electrostatic application system used in today’s industry. Henkel’s BONDERITE® M-PP autophoretic coating process applies this resin/pigment-based coating through a chemical reaction with the steel surface and not the pretreatment and electrical requirements required by the other applications.

Without the pretreatment/electrical requirements, the application equipment for the autophoretic coating process reduces the overall initial installation costs, operational costs, reduced maintenance cost, ease of control all while increasing a company’s profitability. Another unique feature of the process is that the coating is deposited only on steel surfaces being processed leaving plastic and rubber components uncoated. It’s this attention to detail and drive to provide our customers with the best possible products and finishes that makes Henkel the world’s leading autophoretic coating suppliers.

Autophoretic Coating vs. E-coating

Henkel’s BONDERITE® M-PP advanced coating system for ferrous metals provides users with benefits in coating quality, operational efficiency, environmental responsibility, and cost reductions, making the autophoretic coating vs E-coat applications worth reviewing.

Making the switch from a conventional painting process or installing a new autophoretic process to BONDERITE® M-PP technology is straightforward. Furthermore, the return on investment is recovered quickly through greater operational efficiency and reduced operational and energy costs. To help you improve your process efficiency, our team will work with you to help you assess your current process, establish main objectives, and decide upon the necessary steps to implement the changes efficiently and with minimal disruption.

Key features and benefits of the BONDERITE® M-PP autophoretic coating process include:

  • Professional assessment of current plant and objectives
  • Greater overall plant efficiency
  • Better quality finish
  • Quick return on investment with any installation
  • Reduced energy requirements when compared with traditional pretreatment/electrocoat or pretreatment/electrostatic applications.
  • Environmentally sustainable

Simple, Automated Bath Control

The autophoretic coating process is a simple, seven-step process with minimal processing control parameters. The necessary autophoretic coating chemicals are a replenisher and starter, which are required to control and maintain the bath chemistry. Adding water is also necessary to control the bath-operating level.

Improved corrosion performance on complex ferrous parts

BONDERITE® M-PP autophoretic coating provides excellent adhesion and corrosion protection, meeting multiple industry requirements. Because of the coating mechanism, vulnerable areas such as cavities or sharp metal edges are not compromised.

As an example, in Neutral Salt Spray tests (NSS), the autophoretic coating exhibits excellent corrosion resistance up to 1000 hours of testing. The autophoretic coating offers excellent flexibility and can be used as a stand-alone system or as a primer before top-coating.

BONDERITE® M-PP autophoretic coating offers:

  • Exceptional adhesion and corrosion protection
  • Excellent flexibility
  • Edge and cavity protection


An innovative smart manufacturing execution system for remote monitoring and predictive maintenance BONDERITE® LineguardX is a cloud-based remote monitoring system that can help improve your Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) capabilities and overall production efficiency. It does so by serving as a manufacturing analytics platform that can be applied to quality management optimizing line efficiency and giving you the ability to remotely evaluate and maintain your facilities. LineguardX is an integrated IIoT monitoring system which allows for constant monitoring of different processes allowing you more control of plant maintenance operations.

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