General Motors says it is the first automaker in the U.S. to use the innovative “three wet” paint process on the 2012 Chevy Sonic that makes it eco-friendly.
At the Orion Assembly Center
in Lake Orion, Mich, three layers of water-based paint are efficiently applied one after another while still wet before a single trip through the oven, instead of needing a special “oven” to bake each vehicle’s primer coat before color layers are added.
Thanks to this system, as well as other recent shop enhancements designed to minimize energy use and paint-solvent emissions, Orion Assembly’s paint facility will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 80,000 metric tons each year at full production, cut solvent emissions by about 108,000 lbs. annually, slice $40 of manufacturing costs from each vehicle and use 50 percent less process energy per vehicle—all while being heated by natural and landfill gas instead of more emissions-intensive coal-fired boilers.
“Cutting our greenhouse gas emissions and reducing our energy consumption were key to implementing our water-based ‘three-wet’ paint process,” said Mauricio Pincheira, paint manager at Orion. “We want to provide a durable paint that impresses our first-time Sonic customers and maintain the tough environmental standards we have across the company.”