Study: Conservation on the OEM Coatings Line


Elimination of one step in the paint process at BMW Group’s Munich plant has allowed the German vehicle manufacturer to save 12,000 tons of CO2 annually during automotive production, according to a recent study.

The analysis—conducted by BMW Group, mechanical and plant engineering firm Dürr AG, and BASF’s coating experts—sought to determine how the eco-efficiency of the original equipment manufacturer coating process could be improved while also allowing for the conservation of resources.

“The paint process is one of the most energy-intensive process steps involved in industrial automotive manufacturing,” Dr. Hans Schumacher, head of Dürr’s Application Technology division, said in an announcement from BASF.

However, added Lars Nigge, account manager for BMW at BASF’s Coatings division, “We have consolidated the expertise of three companies in order to make paint processes even more environmentally friendly in the future.”

Comparing Coating Processes

Validated by German technical inspection and certification group TÜV, the group’s study specifically compared two primer-based coating processes to an integrated paint process without primer.

In conventional systems, BASF noted, the primer smooths surface irregularities and protects the cathodic e-coat, the undermost paint layer, from UV radiation.

BASF said it was able to substitute the primer by integrating its protective properties into a newly developed waterborne basecoat layer. In all categories included in the study, the integrated process proved to be the most beneficial, they reported.

Compared to the current primer process, the partners’ findings showed that the integrated process reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions by around 20 percent and saves costs.

When compared to a conventionally coated vehicle, a car coated with the shortened process can drive the first 420 kilometers (about 261 miles) with a net zero carbon footprint, the study noted.

Moreover, the integrated process saves as much energy as the amount needed by 250,000 Munich residents to wash one load of laundry every week, the companies said.

Examining Life Cycle Impact

When it comes to sustainability in the automotive industry, the focus is directed more and more closely on manufacturing and production processes, BASF explained.

baking on coating

BMW Group, Dürr AG and BASF’s coating experts conducted the study to determine how the eco-efficiency of the OEM coating process could be improved while also enabling resource conservation.

“It is no longer just a question of whether a product is sustainable in consumption but also whether it has been manufactured sustainably,” said Nigge.

“The study's findings provide compelling evidence that the integrated process is one of the most eco-efficient solutions,” he added.

According to BASF, the study was based on actual data from 2014 evaluated with its Eco-Efficiency Analysis method.

Developed in 1996, Eco-Efficiency Analysis helps to identify sustainability drivers of product by comparing the life cycles of products or manufacturing processes from "cradle to grave"—from raw materials sourcing, to product manufacture and use, to disposal, it says.

The analysis is intended to help BASF and its customers decide which products and processes are the best choices for a defined benefit, both ecologically and economically.

In addition to TÜV’s certification, the study has also been validated by the National Sanitation Foundation.

About BASF’s Coatings Division

The Coatings Division of the BASF Group develops, produces and markets a range of innovative and sustainable automotive OEM coatings, automotive refinishes, industrial coatings and decorative paints. The company shares skills, knowledge and resources of interdisciplinary and global teams for the benefit of customers by operating a collaborative network of sites in Europe, North America, South America and Asia Pacific. In 2015, the Coatings Division achieved global sales of about €3.2 billion ($3.4 billion).

BASF Group’s approximately 112,000 employees work on solutions for customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Its portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials and Solutions, Agricultural Solutions, and Oil and Gas. BASF generated sales of more than €70 billion (about $75 billion) in 2015.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Automotive coatings; BASF; Carbon footprint; Coating Application; Eco-efficiency; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Emissions; Energy efficiency; Environmentally friendly; Latin America; North America; OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers); Research and development

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.