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Audi's new paint process: two tones in single application

by Ben Hsu

The process saves time and materials, and has no overspray.

Two-tone paint jobs are having a resurgence in popularity in recent years, with everything from Rolls Royces to Toyota C-HRs offering dual colors. Audi has a novel solution to the time-consuming and expensive process of creating these finishes — by applying both colors in a single process.

Traditionally, multi-color paint jobs have required masking off areas of the body so that the overspray of one color doesn't contaminate the other. Of course, this requires extra time and materials to mask off the right sections, but Audi is now testing an no-overspray painting process that does away with the need to mask.

Since the most popular contrasting color area is the roof, Audi uses a "robot?controlled high?precision instrument" to measure the seam between the roof and side panels. A special applicator can apply the paint in strips with one-millimeter accuracy.

Right now, the process is undergoing a pilot program in the automaker's Ingolstadt factory paint shop. It's expected to be integrated into production lines in 2019.