Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has introduced a metallic water-based paint free of harmful solvents for its top coat painting process at all of its vehicle body paint lines in Japan. Toyota said this would greatly promote measures to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Toyota began the introduction of water-borne paint, which is more environmentally friendly than conventional paint, at its Takaoka Plant in August 1999. TMC recently introduced the paint at its Motomachi Plant. This has resulted in an average VOC emission level of 30g/m2 (unit of weight per painted surface area) across all lines, compared to 55g/m2 in the 2000 financial year. This represents a 45 per cent reduction, enabling TMC to meet its Environmental Action Plan goal for the year to reduce VOC emissions to an average of 35g/m2 or less on all lines.
VOCs generate suspended particulate matter and photochemical oxidants, both of which are thought to contribute to atmospheric pollution and negatively affect health. The shift from organic-solvent paints to water-borne paints in the vehicle body painting process, which is one of the major sources of VOC emissions in automobile manufacturing, is an important step in promoting further reduction of VOCs.
TMC intends to reduce VOCs further to an average emission level of 25g/m2 or less on all paint lines by 2010. To achieve this goal, it is currently expanding the introduction of water-borne paints to the vehicle body surfacer coat (middle coat) painting process and to bumper painting lines.