One of the most fascinating aspects of auto manufacturing is putting paints on. For accuracy, auto makers have over the years engage robots to do the job. Even at that, lots of painstaking activities go into this aspect of auto making, as you would read from this report on SEAT…
According to Jordi Font from SEAT’s Color&Trim department, creating a colour is an inside job. “Its journey begins with a market study and ends when the paint is applied on the vehicle,” he pointed out. “In this process, personalization strengthens its position as an obvious trend.”
1,000 litres of paint for a symphony of colours: A specialized team analyses market trends and propose the range of colours of new models to be launched.
“In addition to following trends, a lot of intuition also goes into defining a new shade. You have to feel the pulse on the street and run with it”, assures Font. A total of 1,000 litres of paint are required to create a new shade.
Science behind a Pantone colour guide: Mixtures are carried out in the lab that makes the work of creating a new colour strictly an exercise in chemistry. In the case of the colour palette for the SEAT Arona, “by mixing 50 different pigments and metal particles we’ve created nearly 100 variations of the same colour to see which shade is the most suitable”, says Carol Gómez from the Color&Trim department. “Colours get more sophisticated every day and the demand for customization is a growing trend”, says Font.
An example of this is the new SEAT Arona, which gives customers the opportunity of choosing from among more than 68 different colour combinations.
From mathematical formulations to real life: Once the colour is defined, it has to be tested on a metal plate to verify its application and the visual effect it produces.
“We check the depth and subtlety of the shade on plates that are exposed to sunlight and in the shade to make sure that the applied colour matches the one we designed”, adds Jesús Guzmán from the Color&Trim department.
A surgery room where 84 robots operate: In the booths, cars are painted at a temperature of between 21 and 25 degrees. Two and a half kilos of paint is applied on each car in an automated process performed by 84 robots that takes six hours per vehicle. The paint booths feature a ventilation system that is similar to the ones found in a surgery room to prevent dust and other impurities from the exterior to settle on the freshly painted cars. Seven coats in all, each as thin as a hair width but as hard as a rock, which are baked in an oven at 140 degrees.
An all-seeing CAT scan: Once painted, all it takes is 43 seconds to verify there are no deficiencies in the paint application. The vehicles pass through a scanner that checks for smooth surfaces and ensures there are no impurities.