Today, you buy your new car or truck already painted in a colour which you would usually have chosen in advance. However, in the earliest days of the car, owners had to paint their cars themselves the same way you might paint the walls of your home. When the carmakers started to do it for customers, the time taken could be as long as 40 days to complete painting a car. But by the 1920s, a faster process using sprayguns was available and that basic approach has been used up till today.
However, the technology of painting cars has constantly been evolving and getting more sophisticated, all in the pursuit of higher quality and more attractive finishes. In many factories today, painting is done by robots which are a greater assurance of quality and consistency as well as speed.
One of the latest developments in this area of automobile manufacturing is the low temperature paint system or Low Cure clear coats technology. Ferrari is the first car manufacturer in the world to use this new technology which was developed in collaboration with PPG, a leading paint company.
The new two-component paint system incorporates a specially formulated clear coat which makes it possible for the car to be baked at 100 degrees instead of 150 degrees C., thereby cutting energy costs and enhancing the sustainability of the process.
The Low Cure resins contain a new hardener which enhances the chemical and mechanical resistance of the coating. The new formula also boosts cross-coat linking which simultaneously increases chemical hydrophobicity and reduces water permeability. Additionally, the new solution makes it possible to bake carbonfibre and composite components together with the bodyshell, resulting in colour uniformity between the various body components.
Thanks to the new technology, Ferrari has industrialised a process to produce no fewer than 61 different basecoat colours by combining metallic basecoats with a gloss or matte pigmented clear coat. Increased productivity and faster line speeds are also possible due to quicker cure rates, while enabling manufacturing flexibility and efficiency by allowing variable oven heat-up times.