In general, the goal of these £250,000 United Kingdom government grants has been to cut carbon emissions substantially by altering the way automotive paint shops operate, both with regards to painting individual parts and the assembled vehicle. Thanks to this funding, new equipment is being developed that will deliver paint during the manufacturing process that differs from the current process, making it safer and more environmentally friendly.
How a factory's paint shop must currently operate out of necessity is of great concern to the automotive industry and government because of concern for the health and safety of employees who work in these sections. This fear is rooted in the volatile, toxic compounds released into the atmosphere by the painting, the longitudinal implications of which can be dire considering the potential longer term health ramifications and the costs that would be associated with addressing them.
It is believed these aspects of the automotive industry are responsible for a large amount of the pollution that is subsequently entering the environment, so a process is being sought that will allow colour to be combined with the plastic components directly in order to do away with the need to paint. It has also been argued that paint systems consume a great deal of electricity -- as much as half that used by the entire manufacturing facility. A new method to move forward with environmental awareness in mind could lessen the resulting carbon footprint by as much as 90 tonnes on a daily basis thanks to this British government funding.
A conventional new system is being developed by Wittmann-Battenfeld Ltd, and is comprised of two parts:
Stage 1: an exact amount of solid paint is distributed into the component mould for a short time under extreme pressure. This results in paint exploding into the mould interior and ensures an even distribution over the interior.
Stage 2: The plastic is added just a few moments later, resulting in an even and painted finish.
The whole procedure is less wasteful because of the way the painting process would be undertaken, avoiding sprays and high-energy compressors -- an economically and environmentally sound way to spend government money.
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