Paint Line Replacement with Surface Finished/Compression Molded Paint Film (Recycling Existing Assembly Plants) 2002-01-1966
Social and environmental issues drive technical advancements to reduce pollution and energy consumption in the automotive industry. Paint elimination and weight reduction are recognized goals. “Out of the Box” thinking positions film finished plastic to virtually eliminate production emissions and to reduce vehicle weight. Valtek LLC, supported by the Valyi Institute for Plastic Forming (VIPF)/UMass Lowell, is developing a new molding process that incorporates a dry film finish in place of wet paint. The process named Surface Finishing/Compression Molding (SFC Molding®) is capable of molding and finishing large exterior panels in one-step1,2. The SFCM surfaced panels can then be attached to exterior modules; i.e. hoods, roofs, doors and fenders. Existing assembly plants can be re-engineered to use this new technology by re-allocation of the vacated paint area. The former paint space may be leased to Tier One suppliers or used by the OEM to mold exterior panels and assemble body panel modules. The new SFCM surfaced modules, are then transported to the OEM operated assembly area for attachment to vehicle frames. This can be accomplished with considerable savings in weight, operating cost, capital investment and dramatically reduced environmental impact.