Up to now, contrast coatings have been achieved by masking, sanding and a second coating pass due to the conventional paint atomizers and the resulting overspray. Overspray-free painting (OFLA) revolutionises this time- and material-intensive process. Audi AG is the first car manufacturer to bring OFLA into series production and can therefore apply two different colours in the same paint pass. Up to now, the development focus has been on roof contrast painting without masking. A robot-guided, high-precision measuring device measures the laser soldered seam between the roof and sidewall frame of the car. An applicator then applies a black paint, specially developed for this process, in strips to the bodywork with millimetre precision and without spray mist. The precise stringing together of the fine colour stripes produces the contrasting paint - in just one pass. This saves time, costs and is environmentally friendly. Audi has intensively tested the new painting process since spring 2018 and has further developed it for series production. Since summer 2019, black roof contrast paintwork has been possible in the series production process. The OFLA technology not only reduces paint consumption, but also eliminates the masking material previously required. Audi is thus saving resources and at the same time expanding the range of individualisation options for its customers. The new process is being used for the first time in the "edition one" models of the A4 Sedan and A5 Coupé, which were revised in 2019.
The JOT/IST editorial team was on site for you at Audi in Ingolstadt, Germany, and will report in detail on overspray-free painting in the November issue of the German JOT.