Manufacturing Savvy

GM's Paint Sticks to Plastic and Doesn't Foul the Air

Using a flame treatment technology that allows paint to stick to plastic vehicle parts like instrument and door panels without using primers is one way that GM, and hopefully other companies as well, is helping to eliminate an environmental hazard.

GM is now managing solvents through recycling, conversion to energy and superheating the gases to break them down. However, these are energy-consuming, costly processes. However, this new technology instead uses an energy-efficient, robotic system to create a molecular change to the surface of the plastic, making it bond with the paint. The process eliminates the need for an adhesion-promoting primer.

By using this technology on the Cruze as well as Sonic and Volt) GM suppliers are able to:


Reduce solid and liquid waste (filters, cleaners, solvents and coatings) from 48 tons a year to less than one.
Decrease air pollutants from 810 tons a year to 80 tons a year.

Turns out it's a good financial decision as well since the capital expense for the technology pays for itself in less than four months, according to GM.

GM learned about this technology through Suppliers Partnership for the Environment , a working group of U.S. automakers, their suppliers and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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