The new Ford Transit made its North American debut with more durable paint, due to what the company said is an industry-first paint technology now in use at Kansas City Assembly Plant.
The vehicles have a two-wet monocoat paint process developed by Ford and its paint suppliers. The technology results in more durable paint, uses less energy and water, and reduces carbon dioxide and particulate emissions compared with conventional paint processes, according to Ford.
The new paint was subjected to a battery of tests that simulates typical conditions the vehicle will see during 10 years. It was tested for its resistance to chipping and scratching, pollutants and sun exposure. Advanced weathering testing indicates that paint applied with the new two-wet technology will retain 90% of its gloss at four years in service compared to 1% gloss retention for paint applied using a conventional monocoat process, according to Ford’s initial testing.
In addition to making paint tougher, Ford claims the process reduces painting time and energy use by cutting the number of paint applications from three to two and the number of drying procedures from two to one.
The two-wet monocoat process uses a primer coat that requires only a few minutes of open-air drying time before the color coat is applied. The color coat is formulated with the same appearance and protection properties of the clear coat, which eliminates the need for a separate clear coat, according to Ford. The painted body is fully cured in an enamel oven after the color coat is applied. The total process removes one paint application step and one oven-drying step when compared to conventional paint processes.
The new paint process uses less energy and water, and reduces carbon dioxide and particulate emissions compared with conventional paint processes. 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 preliminary testing. A dry scrubber system will help save more than 10.5 million gallons of water, also a preliminary figures. Overall, the system should save 48,000 megawatt hours of electrical power, enough electricity to power 3,400 homes.
The new paint procedure is being used for white-colored vehicles, which accounts for 80% of Ford Transit production at Kansas City Assembly Plant. As each color must be developed uniquely for the two-wet monocoat process, other colors will be considered based on demand. A conventional three-wet process of primer, base coat and clear coat, remains in use for metallic-colored vehicles.
View a video of the new process below: