If you enjoy watching those colour mixing videos on Instagram, which I admit I watch a lot, then you will love this one. It is the same level of paint mixing, but on a larger scale - the painting of a car. SEAT has given an insider on how a paint is settled upon and how it ends up on the car and how long does the process takes - believe it or not, it takes three years. You read that right, each colour, since the time it is created until it is applied to a vehicle, goes on a journey that lasts a thousand days. “Creating a colour is an inside job”, says Jordi Font from Seat’s Color & Trim department.
And Jordi has a good reason to say so. A specialised team analyses market trends and proposes the range of colours of new models to be launched. “In addition to following trends, a lot of intuition also goes into defining a new shade. You have to feel the pulse on the street and run with it”, assures Font. A total of 1,000 litres of paint are required to create a new shade.
Mixtures are carried out in the lab that makes the work of creating a new colour strictly an exercise in chemistry. Once the colour is defined, it has to be tested on a metal plate to verify its application and the visual effect it produces. “We check the depth and subtlety of the shade on plates that are exposed to sunlight and in the shade to make sure that the applied colour matches the one we designed”, adds Jesús Guzmán from the Color & Trim department.
A surgery room where 84 robots 'operate': In the booths, cars are painted at a temperature of between 21 and 25 degrees. Two and a half kilos of paint is applied on each car in an automated process performed by 84 robots that takes six hours per vehicle.
The paint booths feature a ventilation system that is similar to the ones found in a surgery room to prevent dust and other impurities from the exterior to settle on the freshly painted cars. Seven coats in all, each as thin as a hair width but as hard as a rock, which are baked in an oven at 140 degrees.
An all-seeing CAT scan: Once painted, all it takes is 43 seconds to verify there are no deficiencies in the paint application. The vehicles pass through a scanner that checks for smooth surfaces and ensures there are no impurities.