BMW has adopted awesome new robotic technology that allows multiple colors and designs to be applied to the bodywork of its cars without stenciling or masking, but repairers don’t have to worry – the OEM has their needs considered, too.
The new technology, according to BMW, is a spray-free painting process that will increase customers’ ability to personalize their cars while reducing waste and energy consumption. The technology is being introduced on 19 BMW M4 coupes soon to roll off the production line at the BMW plant in Dingolfing, Germany, with custom two-tone paintwork and M4 identification on the hood and tailgate.
These first vehicles will initially be used in the OEM’s own fleet. The serial introduction of the pilot painting process is expected to begin in 2022 in the BMW Group production network.
The BMW Group has worked with mechanical and plant engineering company Dürr to develop the new EcoPaintJet Pro application process for water-based basecoats and 2K clearcoat. The technology is a coordinated combination of a robot, a measuring system and an applicator.
“The paint is applied using an orifice plate which allows high definition of the edges with a variable paint thickness between 1 and approx. 50 millimeters, ”said BMW. “This requires maximum precision from the robot and the application technology. It also means that two different paint colors can be used, for example for a contrasting roof, and stripes and other patterns applied – for example, on the hood.
“The development of technology and materials was focused on achieving the maximum range of applications. It will now be possible to paint every exterior component, giving customers virtually limitless customization options. “
The close-up videos found on Dürr’s website at https://www.durr.com/en/products/paint-shop-application-technology/paint-application/overspray-free-paint-application are almost hypnotic and are enough to make anyone want to throw away their rolls of duct tape.
What about when repairs are needed? They can be done with the usual masking process, Martina Hatzel of BMW Group told Repairer Driven News, without any access to an EcoPaintJet Pro system being required.
“When repairing, we rely on a common concept (regardless of the painting process), namely a plotter model, which should be available for each design,” Hatzel said. “The premises for this, such as the minimum distances between two lines, the smallest object, etc., were worked out in collaboration with colleagues from the after-sales service and are taken into account in the designs.
Featured image: With the painting of the small M4 series, the BMW Group is testing the possibilities of the new process.
The EcoPaintJet Pro system applies paint to a BMW M4. (BMW)
Durably produced and highly personalized: BMW M4 small series takes shape thanks to new painting process