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PPG to showcase future automotive colour styling and application technology

PPG experts will share the future of sustainable automotive colour styling and application technology in presentations at the Surcar Europe 2021 automotive engineering and design show, which is being held this week in Cannes, France.

Sabine Griesbeck, PPG digital transformation technical manager, will discuss the future of colour development using digital colour styling.

A presentation by Sven Reil, PPG automotive application manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa, will cover paint as an enabler for precision application.

PPG claims its digital styling program will enable automotive designers to execute exceptionally realistic three-dimensional modelling of automotive colours and effects on virtual car designs and surfaces, significantly speeding up the process of developing new colours and reducing waste.

“Prior to the development of PPG’s digital colour styling program, the time taken from the designer’s vision to a final colour could be as long as nine months,” said Griesbeck.

“The colour team developed several different variations of a colour. These are then applied to test panels that are sent to the customer for review. This generated waste, and having small panels does not give a good real-world representation of the colour.”

PPG’s digital styling library features a proprietary “speed shape” that accurately depicts the interaction of colour, geometry and light. It also offers the option to download digital colour files that are fully compatible with industry-standard colour-rendering software. This enables design teams to collaborate with PPG experts directly, remotely and in real time.

“This is the first step in fully digitising the entire colour styling process for PPG customers,” Griesbeck said.

“Imagine if in the future you can adjust a colour virtually according to your wishes, and the new colour design is digitally born and ready to use in production. There are also significant sustainability benefits, as we expect this new way of working will reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint through lower material and energy consumption.”

Individualisation and customisation are also leading to an increased demand for two-tone schemes. PPG’s precision application technology for automotive coatings significantly streamlines the painting of these schemes, producing crisp paint edges without the use of masking and other time-intensive steps currently required to achieve a two-tone finish.

“The conventional process requires that a vehicle be fully painted before paint shop personnel mask off areas that will not receive the second colour,” said Reil. “The vehicle must then be run through the paint line or a repair line a second time to apply the contrasting colour. In addition to reducing paint shop capacity, this second run can add significant material, labor and energy costs to the total unit cost of the vehicle.”

The precision process uses a specially designed PPG coating as well as innovative application heads that apply the paint directly without overspray. This can reduce paint shop time by approximately 50 minutes per two-tone vehicle, according to PPG.

This process also advances customer sustainability goals by reducing CO2 emissions and eliminating energy-intensive air-filtering systems that handle overspray from the paint application process, reducing costs and improving efficiency.

“The process uses a direct printing approach rather than conventional spraying, eliminating overspray and masking,” Reil said. “It allows the application of coatings in an extremely precise manner, giving the ability to combine both sustainability and customisation. In the future, complete cars might be painted using precision application technology, offering manufacturers even more options to enhance the appeal of their vehicle models.”