Ford Spreads Its Green Painting Process Around the Globe

Ford Spreads Its Green Painting Process Around the Globe

Factories on almost every continent will soon begin using a painting process technology from Ford Motor Co. that can paint more cars in less time, saving money and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Ford's 3-Wet paint process, which was first put to use at its Ohio assembly plant, is in the midst of being installed at factories in Wayne, Mich., Romania, Mexico, India and China.

The technology allows Ford factories to apply three coats of paint -- primer, base and enamel -- one immediately after the other, without waiting for the coats to dry. The result is a painting process that takes 20 to 25 percent less time to complete than standard techniques.

On top of faster painting time, the 3-Wet technology cuts down energy use by consolidating painting machinery into a single integrated booth. The technology itself will also cut down CO2 emissions from painting by between 6,000 and 8,000 metric tons per factory per year, and reduce the emissions of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by 5 percent.

This is not the first paint-related innovation for Ford, or the auto industry as a whole. Two years ago, Ford installed a fumes-to-fuel system at a factory in Ontario, Canada, that turned the fumes from its painting process into 300 kilowatts of green energy for the facility itself.

And earlier this year, Mazda implemented a new addition to its own three-layer wet paint system that focuses on VOC reductions, cutting harmful emissions by 57 percent.