HIROSHIMA, Japan—Two researchers from Mazda Motor Corporation have received the 2011 "Japan Business Federation Chairman's Award for Invention" from the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation (JIII). The award recognizes outstanding inventions that make a significant contribution to the advancement of science and technology and the development of industry.
The Three Layer Wet Paint System is a one-step baking and drying coating method that applies three layers of paint in succession - primer coat, colored base coat and clear top coat - while still wet, without drying in between. Compared to the previous painting system, Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions from the paint shop are reduced 45 percent and CO2 emissions are reduced 15 percent.
In order to achieve the reduction in VOC emissions, Mazda developed new low-solvent paints with reduced VOC content for use with its Three Layer Wet Paint System. Generally, reducing the volume of solvent in paint raises its viscosity and makes the paint unsuitable for coating. To maintain a low paint viscosity, Mazda managed to reduce the size of the paint molecules. However, when low-viscosity, low-solvent paints are applied in three successive layers, the layers tend to mix, causing a deterioration in glossiness and cloudy discoloration. Mazda overcame this issue by developing an interface control resin and adding it to the primer coat. The resin forms a barrier at the interface of the paint layers to ensure a high quality coating. Thanks to the newly developed paints, Mazda was able to eliminate the drying process previously required after applying the primer coat. By directly applying the color base coat and clear top coat after the primer, CO2 emissions were significantly reduced.
Since completing development of the Three Layer Wet Paint System in 2002, Mazda has introduced it to all of its paint shops in Japan and overseas. Following its utilization for mass production at Mazda, the coating method has spread through the automobile industry. More recently, Mazda has successfully developed the Aqua-tech Paint System, a new version of this technology that uses water-based paint, further reducing paint shop VOC emissions. Currently, Mazda is progressively rolling out the Aqua-tech Paint System to its production facilities.
The JIII award presentation ceremony will take place on Monday, June 20, 2011 at the Hotel Okura Tokyo. The following two researchers outside Mazda will share the award:
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