BMW has collaborated with German plant machinery manufacturer Dürr to create a paint application system which allows for new levels of precision and the claimed elimination of overspray. The application process is called EcoPaintJet Pro, and instead of relying on an electrostatic charge to adhere paint to sheet metal, it uses an array of ultra-fine jets firing through an orifice plate to apply paint with high edge definition and variable thickness ranging from one to 50 millimeters.
The first project BMW is putting the new technology to work on is a small-series production run of nineteen examples of the G82 M4, which will feature model-identifying stencil-like designs on the hood and trunk lid. Rather than using a stencil or masking off areas of the body which are to be left in the original color, however, the designs are applied using the extreme precision of EcoPaintJet Pro at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing.
“We expect the highest standards of efficiency, sustainability, and digitalisation from our production,” explained Milan Nedeljković, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for production. “This smart painting technology meets all the requirements for an innovative production process and also offers unique customer benefits.”
Through its elimination of overspray and the need for masking, EcoPaintJet Pro greatly improves the sustainability of the paint process. Air containing overspray particles no longer needs to be treated, overall energy consumption is lower because paint no longer needs to be separated, and the time and materials necessary for masking are completely removed from the process. BMW estimates EcoPaintJet Pro can save approximately 7,000 operating hours, 6,000 megawatt hours, and reduce carbon emissions by approximately 2,200 tons per year.
The fleet of nineteen M4 coupes will be used internally as testing and evaluation of EcoPaintJet Pro continues at the BMW Group, while series production using a pilot version of the paint process is scheduled to begin in 2022. The video below from Dürr shows the new EcoPaintJet Pro in action.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]