Steffen Zörn
Managing Director of Dürr México
Dürr México
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View from the Top

Resource Optimization Through High-Technology Implementations

Sat, 09/01/2018 - 10:01

Q: After the installation of Dürr’s paint shop at BMW’s facility in San Luis Potosi, what new opportunities have arisen for Dürr with other OEMs and suppliers?
A: In the field of paint application technology, Dürr has been the worldwide leading supplier for years. Dürr has achieved excellence in painting quality, application stability, transfer efficiency, emission reduction, as well as minimization of color change losses and life-cycle costs through constant technology development. Most vehicles produced in the world are painted with Dürr technology. We have won new projects from different OEMS and Tier 1s in Mexico and US in the last 12-18 months. Business volume slightly declined in that period but our current project pipeline looks promising. Moreover, we are in contact with different OEMs and suppliers to discuss further projects.
Q: How is Dürr ensuring sustainable and efficient energy consumption in manufacturing operations?
A: We work on constant optimization of material balance in the painting process. Projects begin with the design of an intelligent plant layout. We consider all areas, from pretreatment, electro-dip painting, modern paint booth concepts with robots and application technology, to new methods of oven heating. We round out the process with powerful exhaust air purification applications. These technologies are implemented in plants such as Audi’s and BMW’s where Dürr has presence.
Q: How can automation and sustainability combine to offer better results and cost efficiency to clients?
A: For the past 30 years, automotive finishing has transformed from a largely manual, empirical task with a high environmental impact to an efficient, fully automated production process with a clear focus on environmental compatibility. Today, a car body painted in an automated process ideally requires 400 kWh of power. A few years ago, even more than three times that amount was sometimes needed. Volatile organic compound emissions can now be pushed well below the permissible value of 35 g/m3. Water consumption has also been reduced by almost 60 percent. This was achieved mainly by dry overspray separation and the use of the Ecopaint RoDip rotation dip technology in pretreatment. Paint consumption could also be reduced by almost 50% through efficient application products such as Dürr’s atomizer family EcoBell3, dosing pump EcoPump9 and color changer EcoMCC3. Besides lower costs and less paint consumption this also means fewer residual materials and solvent emissions. Sustainable automotive paint finishing is not a vision, it has become a reality. Numerous individual solutions, products and systems contribute to this achievement.
Q: What new technologies are you bringing to the Mexican market to boost your position in the country?
A: We deliver technology following common worldwide standards. Mexico has built the most modern manufacturing plants in the global automotive industry and Dürr is proud to play a major role in this process. For the first time ever, Dürr installed its new painting robot generation and cloud-enabled control at a plant outside Europe. This system allows a multitude of sensors ensure networking of the robot’s data with higher-level maintenance software and control systems.
Q: Being leaders in the implementation of Industry 4.0 practices, how are companies like Dürr helping local companies in their technology integration processes?
A: The digital transformation has already reached the industry, making intelligent products, services, processes and factories possible. Dürr actively promotes digitalization with its digital@DÜRR strategy, which looks to increase productivity and availability of machines and plants. We are offering applications such as our EcoScreen Maintenance Assistant software, which determines the plant’s condition based on the number of switching cycles of the valves or the load profiles of the servo motors in the robots at the painting line. This enables preventive maintenance planning and reduces unscheduled downtime.