In its continuous efforts to improve sustainability, ŠKODA has introduced an innovative and more environmentally friendly paint technology that allows thinner coats to be used.
The focus on sustainability affects every aspect of the car; therefore, ŠKODA has introduced a new primer in the paint process. The primer is the first of four layers of paint that are applied to the bodywork, and now, thanks to an innovative technology, it is much thinner than before, a solution that delivers significant material savings.
"At ŠKODA we consistently work in close coordination with our partners to reduce the carbon footprint of our operations. We review established methods and update them using innovative, environmentally friendly materials, as in the case of our paint shop" explains Christian Putz, responsible for vehicle exteriors at ŠKODA Purchasing.
"By applying a thinner layer of paint, we save 720 tons of material per year, without making any compromises in terms of quality", Putz resumes. The savings will cut about 50,000 kilometers that would otherwise be covered by the trucks transporting the material.
Important to note is that the final coating maintains the same high quality in terms of appearance, durability and protective function. Needless to say, the new technology has been rigorously tested: for 10 months, vehicles painted with the new technology were exposed to direct sunlight, the impact of dust and gravel, and a wide range of climatic conditions. The tests confirmed that the new material is at least as durable as the previous one.
This outcome is possible thanks to the technological innovation behind the new material. In principle, the new primer is no different from traditional ones as it is always water-soluble and the ingredients are the usual ones - pigment, binder, filler and solvent - but the recipe for mixing them together is entirely new and, of course, secret. What is clear is that the use of this type of material helps to reduce the environmental impact of car production.
"We are already using the new material in all our plants in the Czech Republic. In general, we use high-tech processes in our production plants and are consistently developing them. The paint shop activated in 2019 in Mladá Boleslav is a benchmark for the entire industry in terms of sustainability and cost and process efficiency", explains Marek Jancák, Head of ŠKODA Car Production.
Toward the next step
The new primer is not the end point in the development of innovations for ŠKODA's paint shop, quite the contrary. The Czech company's researchers are working on other solutions, for example, the possibility of using a base color without the need for a primer - an option that could be viable by taking advantage of new, more effective waxes and using a thinner layer of clear coat. The plans include also an increase in the use of biomaterials in the entire painting process.
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