Ford has announced that it is adding four more plants to its network of manufacturing operations that use its 3-Wet high-solids solventborne paint process. The process will be added to two facilities in the U.S., as well as one in China and one in Spain.
Ford, which was the first automaker to implement the high-solids solventborne 3-Wet technology in 2007, currently has eight plants in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe that use the process. The 3-Wet process has helped Ford reduce CO2 emissions by 15 to 25 percent and VOC emissions by 10 percent at those facilities where the process is used; similar reductions are expected at new 3-Wet facilities.
High-solids solventborne technology refers to a paint formulated to minimize solvents, resulting in a concentrated pigment and resin mixture with fewer VOCs released. The technology will be in place in 12 plants in 2013, then expand to additional facilities worldwide over the next four years.
“The 3-Wet paint process is significantly more advanced than conventional technologies in applying durable paints in a high-quality, environmentally sound and cost-efficient manner,” said Bruce Hettle, director of manufacturing engineering.
The 3-Wet process derives its name from three layers of paint applied one after the other prior to earlier coats having cured. The process eliminates stand-alone primer application and a dedicated oven required in the conventional process that was used before. Advanced chemical composition of 3-Wet paint materials allows for the three layers of paint primer, basecoat and clearcoat to be applied while each layer is still wet.
Enabling the 3-Wet high-solids solventborne paint formulation technology is a combination of process and product developed by Ford and its suppliers. Together, they have created a system they claim saves 20 to 25 percent of process time. Due to the eliminated stand-alone primer application and dedicated oven both reducing the paint booth size Ford saves electricity from the blowers that circulate massive volumes of air through paint booths, and reduces its use of natural gas needed to heat the air and ovens. This results in significant reductions of CO2 emissions, as well as reductions in VOC compared to current medium-solids and solventborne paints.
Locations where Ford is installing the 3-Wet process in 2013:
Flat Rock Assembly Plant, Flat Rock, Mich.
Kansas City Assembly Plant, Claycomo, Mo.
Jiangling Motors Co. Ltd., Jiangxi/Nanchang, China
Valencia Assembly Plant, Valencia, Spain
Locations with 3-Wet capability in North America:
Ohio Assembly Plant, Avon Lake, Ohio
Cuautitlan Assembly Plant, Cuautitlan, Mexico
Michigan Assembly Plant, Wayne, Mich.
Louisville Assembly Plant, Louisville, Ky.
Locations with 3-Wet capability in Asia Pacific:
Chennai Assembly, Tamil Nadu, India
CAF 2, Chongqing, China
Ford Thailand Manufacturing, Rayong, Thailand
Location with 3-Wet capability in Europe:
Craiova Assembly Plant, Craiova, Romania