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Porsche Plugging Holes for Paint Access with Patches

Adhesive patches are replacing plugs in the production of the Taycan.

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automotive painting, surface finishing

Robotically applying patches in the holes made in the structure of the Taycan. The holes are produced to allow access to cavities during the painting operation. These holes have traditionally been sealed after paint with plastic plugs. The adhesive patches are said to be superior. Photo Credit: Porsche

In producing the all-electric Porsche Taycan it is necessary to have holes in the vehicle structure so as to allow body cavities to be accessible during the painting operation.

But then those holes must be plugged because otherwise there is the potential for corrosion to occur down the road.

Ordinarily this is done by pushing plastic plugs into place—approximately 150 plugs per vehicle, or some 3,600 per shift. In some instances, it requires that the operator has to work under the vehicle and pushed in the plugs overhead.

What’s more, there are four different-sized holes, which means four different-sized plugs.

But the OEM, working with supplier Tesa SE, has developed what it claims is an all-new approach, with the Taycan to be the first-ever vehicle to have it: Sealing patches instead of plugs.

Process advantages

The patches are robotically installed, thereby revealing the manual labor of plugging.

What’s more, there is a single-sized patch rather than four different sizes, thereby making inventory easier.

And while the plugs can extend up to 6 mm outside of the body, the patches are essentially flat, with a thickness of 1 mm.

At present approximately two-thirds of the holes are being sealed with the patches.

Not what you wrap packages with

Dirk Paffe, Head of Planning for Paint Shop Processes at Porsche, the person responsible for implementing innovations in the painting operations, said, “It’s important not to confuse our adhesive solution with Tesa tape, which everyone knows from their office supplies.” (For those in the U.S., think in the context of that roll of adhesive tape on your desk from Scotch.)

The patches developed for this application form a strong bond. Paffe said, “Once the special Tesa sealing patches have been applied, they can only be detached again with a great deal of effort. They provide a durable solution that can also withstand the stresses caused by the motion of the vehicle, and last longer than the lifetime of the vehicle.”

The patches are being applied at the Porsche facility in Zuffenhausen. They will soon be used at the paint shop in the company’s Leipzig plant.

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