Audi has developed a process for the partial ‘matting’ of painted surfaces. A special powder roughens the clear lacquer on the surface to a depth of a few thousandths of a millimeter so that individual markings become visible.
The process developed by Audi experts allows desired symbols or graphics to be applied to components after being painted, the process can easily be integrated into normal series production. This option is offered for the first time in the Audi exclusive program in the Audi R8 Coupe and Spyder models.
Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl, Member of the Board of Management for Production at Audi AG comments, “The method of partial matting is an excellent example of the flexibility of our production. Being able to implement individualization in normal series production is one of the aims of our smart factory”.
Audi’s current process of painting vehicles includes a cathodic dip coating to protect against corrosion, followed by at least three further coats: filler, base coat and the transparent lacquer as the top protective coat.
With the newly developed process, a template of the desired pattern is first placed on the component. A blasting system then sprays a special powder onto the surface, which roughens the clear lacquer to a depth of just a few thousandths of a mm – less than a tenth of the thickness of a human hair. This creates the effect of a matt and homogeneous pattern. At present, components with a size up to a meter by a meter can be processed in this way.
The Audi paint shop can apply almost any pattern that a customer might desire as long as it does not affect any third-party rights. Customers can also choose their individual lettering and graphics to be applied to the side blades of the R8 Coupe and Spyder. Moving forward, Audi plans to offer this customisation option for other models within the range.