Audi’s Precision Painting

Audi finishing engineers are deploying overspray-free painting technology in a pilot paint shop at the company’s Ingolstadt facility.

In manufacturing, individualization can run smack into the issue of economy, so Audi finishing engineers are deploying overspray-free painting technology in a pilot paint shop at the company’s Ingolstadt facility, which allows two colors to be used on a body in a single process without requiring masking areas and an additional spraying sequence.

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.