May 30, 2002

New Chrysler/Dupont paint technology reduces emissions by 25%

Auburn Hills, Michigan – Chrysler Group’s Newark Assembly Plant is the first automotive plant in the world to take advantage of new painting technology that reduces emissions at least 25 percent while improving the paint quality of the vehicles.

Chrysler Group worked with its supplier, DuPont, to set a new benchmark for clear coat paint, which is the final protective paint layer for the Dodge Durangos built at the assembly plant.

“By working smarter together with our supply partners we were able to reduce our emissions at the source – the paint – rather than adding costly equipment to control the emissions at the end of the stack “, said Jim Wolfe, Plant Manager, Newark Assembly. “This should be a benefit to the community through reduced emissions and paint odours from the facility”.

Paint shops present the greatest emissions challenge in automotive assembly plants. This is due to the amount of solvents that are mixed with the powder to create the clear coat. The “Super Solids” technology increases the amount of solids in the paint while reducing the amount of pollution-creating solvents.

In the 1950s, when lacquer was used to paint vehicles, solvents were approximately 90 percent by weight of the paint mix. In the 1970s, lacquer gave way to enamel paints, and the solvent content was approximately 60 percent by weight of the mixture. In the 1980s and 1990s, urethane and waterborne paints became the norm and solvents were approximately 50 percent by weight. With the “Super Solids” technology solvents make up approximately 35 percent by weight, with a goal of reducing the solvent content to about 15 percent.

A technology breakthrough using molecular engineering research has allowed DuPont to reduce the molecular weight and particle-size of the solids content in paint so it sprays more like a liquid during the application process. In the past, increasing the solid content prevented the paint from spraying properly. This breakthrough via molecular engineering allows the solid content of the clear coat to be increased and the solvent content decreased, reducing emissions.

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