The tests are being run on vehicles that have a contrasting black roof.
Before the body is painted, a measuring instrument on the end effector of a robot measures the laser-brazed seam between the roof and the side-panel frame, thereby determining location. Then the black paint is applied in individual strips on the roof with a specially developed application device. Each strip has a sharp border and there is no overspray. According to Audi, the strips are applied with “millimeter accuracy.”
Not only does this precise paint placement mean that masking and the related materials aren’t needed (it is worth noting that masking tape was developed in 1925 by 3M for auto shop painting applications), but as there is no overspray, there is less paint waste involved in the process.
Audi plans to put the painting process into production in 2019.
PPG's Application Development Center has cooked up a number of new recipes for powder coating, from changing color on the fly to cutting drying time. The company hopes the new processes will drop more than over spray to the bottom line.
On Tuesday Ford unveiled—using the social media channels of actor Dwayne Johnson (this has got to unnerve some of the auto buff book editors)—the 2018 Mustang, which has undergone some modifications: under the hood (the 3.7-liter V6 is giving way to a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four, and a 10-speed automatic is available), on the dash (a 12-inch, all-digital LCD screen is available for the dashboard), at the tires (12 wheel choices), on the chassis (MagneRide damper technology is being offered with the Mustang Performance Package), and on the exterior (three new paint colors). And while on the subject of the exterior, there are some notable changes—a lower, remodeled hood, repositioned hood vents, new upper and lower front grilles, LED front lights, revised LED taillamps, new rear bumper and fascia.