The paint shop is one of the least environmentally friendly divisions of any auto production plant. Work is being done however to reduce the impact of the painting process in producing new vehicles such as the announcement by Ford that they will partner with Henkel Corporation to produce the automotive industry's first production vehicle with a non-phosphate conversion coating process. The new multi-metal pretreatment conversion coating process, called Bonderite, streamlines the vehicle assembly paint pretreatment operations by improving paint adhesion and corrosion resistance of surfaces. Environmental impact and cost are also reduced by the manufacturing process.

The Bonderite process is said to reduced waste, VOC and CO2 equivalent emissions over current processes and incorporates phosphate-free and NPE-free cleaners; nickel-free conversion coatings; nitrite- and nitrate-free processes; phosphate-free conversion coatings; and chrome-free post treatments.

Analysis: As ever, when an environmental effort actually improves a company's bottom line, it's far more likely to get the green flag straight away. Everyone loves a great paint finish on their vehicle but no one wants it to cost the Earth.

[Source: Henkel]

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