Paint Usage Reduction in Automotive Paint Booths 2000-01-0021
Well known strategies for reducing paint shop VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions include conversion to powder and waterborne paints, and installation of abatement equipment on the exhaust stream to burn off the VOC's before they can be released into the environment. However, another strategy for reducing VOC emissions is to reduce paint usage. Technologies that improve the transfer efficiency of the painting process so that more paint is applied to the vehicle, and less goes up the exhaust stack, will directly reduce the amount of VOC's emitted because less paint must be sprayed for each vehicle that is painted. In addition, technologies that can improve the first run capability of the painting process (the percentage of vehicles that do not have to be repainted because of quality defects) will also reduce emissions. Fewer vehicles being repainted means less total paint is used. Noteworthy of a strategy to reduce emissions by improving efficiencies and increasing first run is the “win-win” benefit for both the environment and the company (and ultimately the consumer). The environment benefits because the paint shop emits less total pollutants. The company and the consumer benefit because reduced paint usage results in lower costs.
Ford Motor Company is demonstrating two significant technology opportunities that substantially improve both the transfer efficiency and the first run capability of the painting process. The first opportunity controls the air flow in the paint booth and produces a consistent air flow environment for the painting process that is uniform in both time and space.
The second opportunity involves developing a fundamental understanding of the rotary bell atomizer spraying process, from atomization to deposition, and using this knowledge to design improved atomizers that increase paint transfer efficiency and improve color quality.