Ford Rolls Out Eco-Friendlier Paint


Ford Motor Company today announced that it’s testing a new ‘eco-friendly’ paint technology that reduces overall CO2 output by 15 percent. And with a little luck, or calling around, you might be able to sample it yourself at a neighborhood U-Haul outlet.


About 200 Ford E-Series trucks made at the automaker’s Avon Lake, Ohio plant and placed into duty as U-Haul rental vehicles have been painted with the new technology and will be put to use around the country as a way for Ford to test how well the new finish works in a heavy-use pattern. At U-Haul, the vehicles will be distinguished from the rest of the fleet through their “eco-friendly decals,” according to a Ford release.


The new paint technology employs a high-solids (formulated with polymers), solvent-borne paint applied wet in three applications, with no prime coat. A smaller and cleaner paint shop compared with traditional painting facilities, and there’s no need to ‘bake’ the paint.


Besides reducing CO2 emissions, the new system also cuts volatile organic compounds (VOC) by about ten percent, which gives it an advantage over both common solvent-borne and the water-borne paints being phased in by some companies. The water-borne paints, in general, carry a reputation for being more delicate than solvent-based coats.


“We have high hopes for this technology based on our laboratory testing,” said Joe Hinrichs, vice president, North America Manufacturing, at the annual Center for Automotive Research Management Conference in Traverse City, Michigan , where the automaker made its technology announcement. “Once we understand how it performs in the real world, we’ll determine how best to apply it to other manufacturing facilities.”


The new system should also have no problem getting the green light from the company bean-counters; it’s estimated to save more than $7 per vehicle versus traditional paint methods, according to the company, with the paint process taking about 20 percent less time per vehicle.

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