Ford’s new two-wet monocoat paint process used on white-colored versions of the all-new Transit isn’t only more durable, but it is also more environmentally-friendly. Compared to a conventional paint process, it saves energy and water while reducing carbon dioxide and particulate emissions.
One of the ways in which the process cuts painting and energy use is by cutting the number of paint applications from three to two and the number or drying procedures from two to one. The reduction in paint and energy consumed is expected to result in 9,500 tons fewer carbon dioxide emissions and a 35-ton savings in particulate emissions on an annual basis, according to Ford’s initial estimates.
Reduced Water Consumption & Carbon Dioxide Emissions
A conventional paint process uses water filtration — known as a wet scrubber system — to remove the overspray from the air in the paint booth that produces sludge. The new dry scrubber system pumps the air through a filter containing limestone, which can be recycled. The dry scrubber system alone reduces energy use and carbon dioxide emissions by 44 percent, and cuts particulate emissions by 99 percent while using 75 percent less water annually.
Overall, the system should save 48,000 megawatt hours of electrical power, enough electricity to power 3,400 homes.
An Space-Efficient Paint Shop
But the benefits of the two-wet monocoat system don’t end there, as the system also helps increase production efficiency. The new and more streamlined painting procedure takes the vehicle body through an electrostatically bonded corrosion-resistance (E-coat) bath. What’s unique about the corrosion bath is that the Transit body remains on a carrier that is lowered into the E-coat by four pendulums, rather than being manually removed from the carrier and attached to chains to be taken down, only to have to repeat the same steps before moving on to the paint booth.
The pendulums take the vehicle body into and out of the bath at steep angles, reducing the length of the bath by as much as 320 feet, thereby saving space within the Kansas City plant. In fact, the space required for the Transit’s paint operation is less than that of the smaller Ford Fiesta.
Ford’s Goal: Reduce CO2 Emissions By 30%
The two-wet monocoat process is another example of the innovative technologies Ford is implementing to support its global manufacturing strategies with regard to carbon dioxide emissions and water use. The automaker’s plans call for a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions per vehicle produced from 2010 to 2025, and a 30 percent reduction in water use per vehicle produced from 2009 to 2015.
“The two-wet monocoat process allows us to design a system considerably smaller than a conventional paint shop, especially with regard to a vehicle of this size and complexity,” said Dennis Havlin, Ford global paint engineering development and launch supervisor.
Ford’s Kansas City plant is the first to use the two-wet monocoat procedure in North America. The technique is currently only being used on white-colored Transits, since each color must be uniquely developed for the process.