In the ongoing effort to reduce the environmental impact of building cars, automakers are re-evaluating their paint systems (see here). Mazda has introduced a new water-based system at its Ujina Plant No.1 that slashes volatile organic compound emissions by 57% compared to current systems
Water-based painting systems have been used for many years, because the use of water rather than solvents releases so much less VOCs. However, the process of drying the paint to evaporate the water has been energy intensive. Mazda claims to have developed a more efficient air conditioning and evaporator system for its paint shop that addresses the problem. The Aqua-tech system also cuts the number of steps in the painting process. The implication is that only a newly developed top-coat paint is used without any primer. The new top-coat apparently has the same qualities as the previous primer/top coat process.

[Source: Mazda]

Mazda's New Aqua-tech Paint System Leads in Reducing Environmental Impact
- Aqua-tech has the world's lowest environmental impact of water-based paint systems
- VOC and CO2 emissions from Aqua-tech technology are among the lowest in the world

HIROSHIMA, Japan-Mazda Motor Corporation today announced the successful launch of the newly developed Aqua-tech Paint System for vehicle body painting at its Ujina Plant No.1 in Japan. The innovative new technology achieves the world's highest standards for limiting emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) contained in paint as well as carbon dioxide (CO2) gas generated from the energy consumed during the vehicle painting process.

The Aqua-tech Paint System maintains the same world-class low CO2 emissions volume as the Three Layer Wet Paint System - Mazda's paint system currently installed at all of its production facilities in Japan - and reduces VOC emissions by a further 57 percent. At only 15 grams per square meter of vehicle body surface, the extremely low VOC emissions volume makes Aqua-tech the least polluting water-based paint system in the world. The new system also delivers improved paint quality.

Water-based paints tend to produce far lower VOC emissions than solvent-based paints due to their low VOC content. However, drying water-based paint consumes much more energy because the water must be evaporated through a drying process. The large amounts of carbon dioxide produced during this process have long been an issue associated with water-based paint systems. Mazda has solved this problem with the introduction of this new, innovative coating technology.

The Aqua-tech technology includes the introduction of an improved paint shop air conditioning system and a new, highly efficient evaporation system that removes the water contained in the paint. In addition, Mazda has managed to consolidate the coating processes by developing highly functional top coat paints that exhibit additional properties usually provided by the primer paint. These include brightness, durability and resistance to chipping and light damage. As a result of these technical breakthroughs, Mazda's Aqua-tech achieves extremely low VOC emissions without increasing CO2 volume.

Going forward, Mazda will continue to advance new technologies based on its long-term vision for technology development, Sustainable Zoom-Zoom. With cutting-edge production facilities that include the paint shop with the smallest environmental impact in the world, Mazda is committed to producing vehicles that offer driving pleasure in harmony with environmental and safety features.

The Ujina Plant No.1, one of Mazda's main vehicle manufacturing facilities, is located near Mazda's headquarters in Hiroshima.

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