12-26-2007, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Color Me Green: U-Haul Fleet Uses Ford’s “Eco-Paint”
f you think there’s nothing green about this E-350 cutaway, guess again. Approximately 200 E-series cutaways in U-Haul’s national fleet are now sporting Ford’s “green paint,” a process and treatment designed to reduce the traditional emissions and inefficiencies in the painting process.
Ford starts the treatment with a new paint mixture, which uses considerably more pigment. This allows the same color to be applied with considerably less paint involved. This new formula also doesn’t require drying time between coats, air conditioning or going through additional low-temperature ovens, reducing painting times by nearly 20 percent.
Ford claims that the process reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent, while the output of volatile organic compounds are down by 10 percent. An added bonus? The process saves Ford nearly $7 per vehicle. That may not sound like much, but considering automakers aim to reduce part costs by even a whole penny, that’s a considerable amount - especially on a purchase sized like U-Haul’s ($1400).
We’re wondering how the new paint holds up to wear and tear, but that’s where U-Haul comes in. The 200 E-series cutaways are essentially a test fleet, letting the trucks go through traditional rental abuse on a daily basis while Ford monitors the results. If the color holds up well, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this process become a production standard for future Fords.
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 26, 2007 – Ford Motor Company and U-Haul launched the industry’s first fleet of vehicles painted with Ford’s environmentally responsible new technology, which reduces greenhouse gases by 15 percent and cuts Ford’s production costs.
More than 200 Ford E-Series trucks painted with this new technology were delivered to U-Haul facilities around the country. U-Haul began renting the units, tagged with eco-friendly decals, to customers this week.
The technology combines an advanced chemical formulation of high-solids, solvent-borne paint with an innovative three-wet application process that requires a smaller, less expensive and cleaner paint shop than traditional automotive paint facilities.
In addition to reduced CO2 emissions, the new technology reduces VOC emissions (volatile organic compounds) by about 10 percent. The company estimates it can save approximately $7 per vehicle by cutting the time it takes to paint a vehicle by almost 20 percent as well as reducing the size of the traditional paint shop by nearly 15 percent.
“Painting vehicles has traditionally been one of the auto industry’s biggest environmental challenges,” said Mary Ellen Rosenberger, paint manager of Ohio Assembly Plant where the new technology was launched. “Ford has found the solution. It’s environmentally sound. It’s cost-efficient. And it produces beautifully painted vehicles with long-term durability.”
Ford’s new high-solids, solvent-borne paint formulation produces fewer VOC and CO2 emissions than do water-borne and current solvent-borne paints. Because the new formulation contains more color pigment, it requires less paint to cover a vehicle than water-based paint. Furthermore, the new technology allows for three coats of wet paint to be applied to the vehicle one on top of the other, without drying between coats. This eliminates the prime-coat application and its related processes, which means a smaller, more efficient paint shop.
Furthermore, there’s no need for an air-conditioning process or an additional low-temperature oven, which are required in water-borne paint shops to evaporate the water from the paint.
The paint formulation contains new polymers and other additives that prevent running and sagging during the three-wet application process. And Ford’s laboratory tests show the high-solids, solvent-borne paint provides better long-term resistance to chips and scratches than does water-borne paint.
Said Dean Cerimeli, U-Haul’s director of Truck and Trailer Product: “When it comes to the environment and sustainability, we are happy to partner with Ford in this important field test. We believe this is the most environmentally responsible way to paint vehicles. And we applaud Ford for leading the industry.”
In June, Ford won the “Best Technical Prize” for its new paint technology at SURCAR: The International Conference on Automobile Body Finishing in Cannes, France.