BMW launches spray-free painting method at Dingolfing plant

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BMW’s new painting process allows painting robots to create multiple colors and patterns without masking.

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Painting a car is an inherently messy process. Think about it; you use compressed air to atomize the paint which then lands on the vehicle. It makes sense that not all of the pigment particles end up where they are supposed to end up, and paint that isn’t is called overspray.

Overspray is wasteful, and since paint and its components are somehow bad for the environment, this overspray harms Mother Nature, which is not good either. It also wastes time with masking and extra prep. But BMW said on Friday that it believes it has found a solution to the overspray problem, and no, my friends, it doesn’t use brushes and rollers to paint the car. It’s called Eco PaintJet Pro and it’s a new robotic painting system without over-spraying.

The way Eco PaintJet Pro works is best defined by the differences with conventional paint. An ordinary factory paint application gun has a rotating bell that rotates at approximately 30 to 50,000 RPM. The paint comes out as an aerosol and is then electrostatically attracted to the surface. The new process abandons all that and uses an orifice plate which is controlled much more precisely. This means you get crisp edges without the need for masking.

BMW predicts that this new painting process open customization for buyers at levels that haven’t really been seen outside of the hyperluxe space – think Rolls-Royce or Bentley – because not having to hide means a huge reduction in costs.

The process is first used on 19 special edition M4 coupes that not only have two-tone paint jobs but also have graphics painted on the trunk lid and hood – all without having to mask the car for each color. These particular M4s will not be sold to the public, at least not initially, which is unfortunate. Instead, BMW plans to keep them in its fleet.

The Eco PaintJet Pro system is already in place at the BMW plant in Dingolfing, Germany, and the company plans to put it into service in 2022.


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