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Underneath the pores and skin: how the automobile portray course of goes inexperienced | Autocar

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In the course of the previous 12 months, new precision paint processes have emerged that promise to hurry up the manufacturing of automobiles, make it extra sustainable and permit producers to supply a wider vary of color choices and ornamental finishes.

Earlier this 12 months, Underneath the Pores and skin checked out ABB’s new robotised Pixelpaint, a know-how that applies paint in an identical solution to an inkjet printer, creating sharp edges to the paint moderately than the smooth blur related to typical spray weapons. It additionally means there’s no overspray and the corporate claims 100% of the paint is utilized to the automobile. Against this, round 20% of the paint utilized by typical methods results in the spray sales space filters. German firm Dürr has an identical know-how known as Ecopaintjet being trialled by BMW and the method is already in use at Audi

Historically, portray a automobile is likely one of the messiest and most wasteful points of the manufacturing course of. Prior to now, paint from high-pressure spray weapons would bounce off the floor of the automobile’s bodywork, making a mist of paint droplets that may be sucked away from the spray sales space by followers and filtered. Then got here HVLP weapons (excessive quantity, low stress), which made a substantial enchancment. However any two color processes (corresponding to differentcoloured roof panels) nonetheless contain the time-consuming means of making use of and drying the primary color, masking it with tape and paper to guard it from overspray, after which making use of the second color. 

The brand new robotic methods are fairly totally different. The Pixelpaint spray head is supplied with 1000 nozzles that fireplace tiny droplets of paint, the smallest of which is concerning the measurement of two human blood cells, giving pin-sharp edges to the paint because it’s utilized. The Ecopaintjet robotic is analogous, making use of paint by way of a nozzle plate perforated by 50 tiny holes from a distance of 30mm. Previous to any portray job, a measuring system makes paint-free passes over the shell, figuring out its exact form so the robotic can monitor its approach over the floor evenly. Software program makes use of that information to calculate the paths the applicator must take because it travels over the floor of the bodywork, controlling the pace and tilt angle of the spray head on the similar time. 

As soon as that’s carried out, the robotic can start portray, protecting about 1.8 sq. metres per minute and taking round two minutes to complete a typical automobile roof panel. To do the job within the conventional approach by eradicating the physique from the paint line, Dürr estimates that masking it and making use of the second color would take a number of individuals 50 minutes. The brand new technique additionally saves round 15 sq. metres of masking tape and movie per bodyshell. As well as, it’s reckoned that the brand new method makes power financial savings of as much as 25% in the course of the paint drying course of. 

BMW is testing the identical know-how on an in-house fleet of 19 M4 Coupés, making use of two-tone paint and M4 logos on the boot and bonnet. BMW estimates that if the system is adopted, the discount in power filtering overspray from the air in spray cubicles might make an power saving of 6000MWh over 7000 working hours and scale back the carbon footprint of its manufacturing processes by 2000 tonnes of CO2 a 12 months.

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