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The clear-coat on the Dodge Durango uses a new technology that not only provides a more-resistant surface, but which is more environmentally correct when applied at the Newark Assembly Plant.

A Clearer Clear Coat for Durango

The overall length, width and height of the Dodge Durango are 193.5, 71.3 and 70.5 in., respectively. If you do a bit of simple multiplication to determine the overall volume of the vehicle, you can figure that it is sizable. And much of that exterior volume consists of sheet metal. That sheet metal must be painted. And so the folks at the DaimlerChrysler Newark (New Jersey) Assembly Plant were concerned with the amount of paint—and the related volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions—that are involved in putting a coat on the sport utility vehicle.

As a result of this concern, the plant is employing an ultra-low emissions coating technology from DuPont. As Jim Wolfe, plant manager at the facility says, "By working smarter together with our supply partners, we were able to reduce our emissions at the source—the paint—rather than adding costly equipment to control the emissions at the end of the stack. This should be a benefit to the community through reduced emissions and paint odors from the facility." Emissions are reduced by at least 25% at the plant.

What they're using in Newark Assembly is what is called "Super Solids" technology for the Durango final clear coat. According to Edward J. Donnelly, group vice president of DuPont Coatings & Color Technologies, "Our new Super Solids technology represents an entirely new way of formulating coating products."

Prior to the implementation of the new technology, the highest solids-to-solvent ratio in the industry had been 50:50. But Super Solids is 65% solids. Because there are more solids than pollution-creating solvents, the clear coat is a whole lot, well, greener, than traditional paints.

In addition to which, the molecular engineering* that the DuPont chemists did (which, in part, reduces the size of the solids molecules, thereby allowing it to spray like a liquid), results in a coating that is said to be more scratch- and mar-resistant than conventional coatings.

It is important to note that the Super Solids coating technology can be used in existing paint facili-ties, which means that instead of taking a line that had been spraying liquids and replacing it with a more environmentally benign powder coating line, which could cost on the order of $20 million, the economics are in order.