Technology Reflecting Real-World Experience
Early in 1989, following the successful launch of the high-density, integrated painting system at Suzuka, EG began developing a new paint system for implementation at HAM's East Liberty Plant. The U.S. Congress was then preparing for a 1990 vote on a proposal to drastically amend the Clean Air Act, first adopted in 1970. The proposed amendment promised to impose tighter restrictions on the use of conventional solvents containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Therefore, to ensure compliance with the new law, the development team designed a water-based coating system incorporating Honda's original facility and a water-based method already available on the market.
Due to the characteristics of the coating material, however, the use of a water-based coat in the outer panel's coating process resulted in the deposition of metal ions. In response, the EG staff developed a new supply system for the coating material. Another problem was the conductivity of the water-based coating material, which indirectly resulted in an electrostatic coating process having decreased coating efficiency. EG continued its effort to improve the system in order to establish a more effective proprietary water-based coating technology.
EG also developed and installed original wall-mount type robots for the inner-panel coating process. The robot, actually a modified version of the floor-installation type that could be mounted on the wall, had a slim arm that moved very smoothly. It contributed to improved air circulation in the coating booth, where the air would often become stagnant. Moreover, it enhanced the attraction of the coating mist to the body. Coating efficiency was further improved with the installation of a shift base enabling the robot to move in accordance with the movement of the body. The new system even prevented the coating material from splashing back onto the robot and minimized quality problems relating to the coating itself. The result was a much greater degree of productivity at this stage of production.