Craftsmanship joins forces with robots at Nissan for two-tone painting

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 26 Sep 2020


The automobile painting process relies on craftsmanship and hi-tech precision and two–tone paint combinations answer customers' desire for personalisation. Now Japanese carmaker Nissan says it has managed to combine craftsmanship with robots to deliver the two-tone painting to a Nissan Juke.

The task of developing the comprehensive range of body colours fell to Nissan's colour design studio at Nissan Design Europe (NDE), London, while the Nissan Sunderland plant handled the precision painting process. The team at NDE in London, led by Lesley Busby, Colour Manager, NDE, identified the colours and developed two-tone combinations that would make up the Juke's full colour palette. Clare Errington, Paint Shop Manager at Nissan Sunderland, was responsible for ensuring the colours would be accurately reproduced and applied to the Juke at the factory.

Hi-tech art form
Lesley, Clare and their respective teams worked for over a year before the first customer car was painted with a rigorous trial process to ensure the accuracy of the colour. Working in measurements of less than a hair's width, microscopic precision is key to success as Nissan elevates the vehicle painting process into an art form.

There are clear specifications for how the colour should appear on the car, how much paint should be applied, and the quality of the paint required. To guarantee a flawless finish every time a rigorous cleaning regime is required. The tiniest specks of dust must be removed carefully to ensure the paint can be applied on perfect surface. Paint shop operators also wear lint-free clothing to avoid contaminating the environment and special lighting is used to allow highly trained inspectors to identify and remove any imperfections before they complete the process.

Clare Errington commented, "We have to adapt to meet the changing customer demands. We are guided by our customers on where we need to go, how good we need to be and how to deliver on those expectations. The production line is a marriage between robots and humans who work in harmony to go above and beyond for our customers. The end result is the perfect combination of technological precision and craftsmanship in order to produce a stunning and distinctive JUKE that reflects our customers' tastes".

Reflected in the richness of every two-tone option, this process champions attention to detail in every respect, with the body of each two-tone Juke receiving a comprehensive series of treatments. From the electrocoat primer and careful dipping procedure, to the sealant and underbody paint application, every stage is optimised to deliver the perfect blend of durability and beauty.

Using Nissan Sunderland's four state-of-the-art paint shops installed as part of a 111 million euro investment for Juke, Nissan's skilled operators apply several coats of paint to the Juke. The high-tech procedure ensures each vehicle leaves with a lustrous, eye-catching presence to match its bold personality.

Clare continues, "We put our heart and soul into launching new models at Nissan and feel a sense of ownership and loyalty towards the car. We take great pride in our work, especially with a vehicle like the Juke where it is vital to capture its personality through dynamic colours, which are at the heart of its appeal".

Two-tone tailoring is a colour trend which is seeing a resurgence among car buyers; Nissan says 30% of customers choose a two-tone paint combination for their new Juke – the most popular being Pearl White with a black roof.

The dual-tone trend is driven by a need for personalisation, where motorists want to express their own unique style through their vehicles.

"The colour and finish are a key part of a car's personality and Juke's 11 body colour options and 15 two-tone combinations mean that there is something that will appeal to every customer." added Clare.

Lesley concluded, "The Nissan Juke continues to push the boundaries of distinctive and bold design, maintaining the ‘rebel child' position of the Nissan family through its playful demeanour – a small car but with a big character. The coupling of human craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology means this distinctive personality carries through the whole vehicle."