Honda Motor Company recently announced that it has developed what it is calling the 'Honda Smart Ecological Paint' (Honda S.E. Paint) process, a highly efficient painting technology that eliminates a middle coating layer from the commonly used 4-coat/3-bake vehicle body painting system, to move to a 3-coat/2-bake water-based painting process. Honda will introduce this new painting technology at its Yorii Plant at the Saitama factory in Japan, which is scheduled to become operational in July 2013.

Using conventional foundation layer basecoat technology, eliminating the middle coating process would have restricted the paint colors that could be used; however, Honda overcame this challenge by developing a special high-cover material for the foundation colour base coat. This material makes it possible to use any final paint color. This is an automobile industry first for a 3-coat/2-bake process, according to Honda’s internal research.

As well as the Honda S.E. Paint process, the carmaker will also introduce a wall-mounted paint robot system with a built-inquick load/quick wash paint tank. This will lead to a significant improvement in painting efficiency, reduction of the amount of paint materials and a 40% reduction in the number of operations compared to a conventional painting process. As a result, the amount of CO2 emitted during the painting process will be reduced by 40%.

In addition to this new painting technology, the Yorii Plant will employ a number of other innovative technologies (engineers there would not elaborate on these advances when contacted by APS) and begin production as a world-leading energy saving plant.