Economic and Environmental Tradeoffs in New Automotive Painting Technologies
Painting is the most expensive unit operation in automobile manufacturing and the source of over 90 percent of the air, water and solid waste emissions at the assembly plant. While innovative paint technologies such as waterborne or powder paints can potentially improve plant environmental performance, implementing these technologies often requires major capital investment. A process-based technical cost model was developed for examining the environmental and economic implications of automotive painting at the unit operation level. The tradeoffs between potential environmental benefits and their relative costs are evaluated for current and new technologies.