Toyota to Adopt Eco-Friendly Painting
Cars are becoming more efficient inside and out. Engines discharge lower pollutants, transmissions use longer gearing to better fuel economy, and even interiors are being manufactured out of more recyclable materials. The next frontier is utilizing state of the art manufacturing operations that use less energy.
Japanese carmaker Toyota has turned its engineering eye to the paint shop at its Tsutsumi plant in Japan. According to Toyota, because of multiple coats and “drying ovens”, almost a quarter of all energy needed to build a car goes into the painting process. So now it is using a new approach called "3-Wet", which eliminates a “drying oven” and decreases energy usage by 15 percent.
The purpose behind a greener painting process is not difficult to understand. Hybrids and electric vehicles that Toyota is going to mass-manufacture in the future are mild on the environment, and the manufacturing procedures that go into making such vehicles should be eco-friendly as well. Luxury models like the Lexus sedans won’t use the technology since multiple finishes are needed for them, but eco-conscious models like the Prius will utilize the new paint technology.
Toyota feels this new energy-saver technology is necessary because of the nature of manufacturing. "Our production has grown over the last decade so much the energy required to manufacture each and every vehicle has also grown considerable overall," said Takeshi Uchiyamada, the executive overseeing production.