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Home > Feature Articles > Logistics and Vehicle Fleet Management > Autos & Small Consumer Vehicles

Greener Painting Process Improves Performance of Ford's 3-part Wet Paint Application Process.

Reduce air conditioning and energy use with a three-wet application automotive painting process.

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DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 30 2007 – In their first month on the road, the world’s only vehicles painted with Ford’s environmentally responsible three-wet paint technology logged more than 400,000 miles – and still look fresh from the factory.

The 200 U-Haul trucks are Ford Econoline vehicles, built and painted at Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, Ohio. They are helping Ford better understand the long-term potential of this industry-first paint system. U-Haul purchased the vehicles from Ford, tagged them with eco-friendly stickers and began renting to customers on Aug. 6.

The technology combines an advanced chemical formulation of high-solids, solvent-borne paint with an innovative three-part, wet application process that requires a smaller, less expensive and cleaner paint shop than traditional automotive paint facilities.

In addition to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 15 percent, the new technology reduces Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions by about 10 percent.

The company estimates it can save approximately $7 per vehicle by cutting the time it takes to paint a vehicle by almost 20 percent as well as reducing the size of the traditional paint shop by nearly 15 percent.

“Painting vehicles has traditionally been one of the auto industry’s biggest environmental challenges,” said Michael Vandelinder, chief engineer, Global Paint, Facilities and Environmental Engineering. “Ford is leading the industry in environmentally responsible paint application. From the chemicals we use to make paint to the size of our paint shops and how we manage waste, Ford is showing the industry there is a better way – for our business, the environment and for the customer.”

Ford’s new high-solids, solvent-borne paint formulation produces fewer VOC and CO2 emissions than water-borne and current solvent-borne paints. Because the new formulation contains more color pigment, it requires less paint to cover a vehicle than water-based paint.

Furthermore, the new technology allows for three coats of wet paint to be applied to the vehicle one on top of the other, without baking after the prime coat, eliminating the prime-coat application and its related processes.

Additionally, there’s no need for the air-conditioning process or additional low-temperature oven, which are required in water-borne paint shops to evaporate the water from the paint.

The paint formulation contains new polymers and other additives that prevent running and sagging during the three-wet application process. And Ford’s laboratory tests show the high-solids, solvent-borne paint provides better long-term resistance to chips and scratches than water-borne paint.

Said Dean Cerimeli, U-Haul’s director of Truck and Trailer Product: “When it comes to the environment and sustainability, we are happy to partner with Ford in this important field test. We believe this is the most environmentally responsible way to paint vehicles. And we applaud Ford for leading the industry.”

In June, Ford won the “Best Technical Prize” for its new paint technology at SURCAR: The International Conference on Automobile Body Finishing in Cannes, France.

SOURCE: Ford Motor Corp.



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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