First impressions count, so one of the most important details is the look of a car, and of course its colour. The quality processes also ensure the painted finish is capable of protecting the vehicles from the environmental influences and corrosion.
During quality inspections at several points throughout the process, all imperfections and any dust particles are removed. A unique process of "feather-dusting" the car using female ostrich feathers to remove any remaining dust traces is final preparation process before the colour paint layer is applied.
The final colour application processes have advanced to an efficient, state-of-the art automated processes, which delivers precise transfer efficiency of the water based paint materials with minimum waste. Paint material and water recycling facilities also ensure we support the environment.
It takes approximately 10 hours for a body shell to pass through the process of applying the various paint layers, from its corrosion protection layer through to its glossy Clearcoat layer; of course there is still the option to have a separate contrast roof colour.
Plant Oxford was the first BMW Group plant to use the environmentally friendly Integrated Paint Process (IPP), which completely eliminates the primer coat application and oven stage. It also brings energy savings and a reduction in emissions in the paint shop of well over 10%. For the introduction of the new MINI, the paintshop now has a new seam seal line and a fully automated top coat spray booth.
Facts and Figures
- The MINI paint facility was the UK's second biggest building project (after the Millennium Dome) in its year of construction and cost £80 million.
- The total area of the paint shop is 38,430m².
- All emissions from the paint shop ovens are collected and burnt in a catalytic incinerator.
- There are five ovens in the paint shop. The hottest is the electrocoat oven which operates at 180ºC.
- The estimated length of conveyors in the paint shop is 14km with 620 individual bodies on carriers being processed at any one time.
- The unique, naturally occurring electrostatic properties of female ostrich feathers make them ideal for dusting each MINI body prior to the final colour coat.
- There are 16 different body colours available to MINI customers and 5 contrast roof colours.
- Controlling the flow of air through the paintshop with greater precision has yielded a 730 tonne saving in CO2.
- New equipment has been added to the seam seal line to accommodate the extra doors of the new 5-door MINI.