Volkswagen AG’s Audi unit is launching the first volume production application of a partial matte paint finish on its Q2 small crossover and R8 supercar.
The technique allows words, symbols, logos and photos to be embedded into a painted surface. Audi first offered the feature on a limited-edition version of the 2016 R8 (right), allowing buyers to personalize the vehicle’s carbon fiber sideblade.
The patented process is achieved by sticking a thin plastic template of the desired design onto a body panel. A thin powder of crushed glass is sprayed onto the surface, which shaves off a few thousandths of a millimeter from the top layer of clear lacquer to create the embedded matte finish.
The initial R8 applications were done via a time-consuming hand process. Audi now uses an automated method that takes about a minute.
In the Q2 application, a pattern is embedded on the D-pillar sideblade (left). R8 buyers can choose their own designs or words.
Audi launched the option in Germany last week and plans to expand it to other markets in coming months. No decision has been made about availability in the U.S.
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The last Porsche 911 Turbo with an air-cooled engine went out of production 20 years ago, but the craftsman at Porsche Classic have taken a body shell from the 993 generation and spent 1.5 years assembling “Project Gold” (based on the Golden Yellow Metallic paint used), a car with a new 450-hp 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat six, the same output of the circa 1998 vehicle.
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.