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TOMDOC may be able to help here (thought he worked at Wilmington) - assuming it's not secret, and he won't get in trouble.

Many paint systems today actually do just about all the painting with no people present at all - at least in the application areas, which are fully sealed, filtered, and pressurized areas.

The reason for this is simple: the majority of paint problems are due to debris in the paint. The main source of debris is human traffic in and out of sensitive paint areas.

Eliminate the people, and you eliminate over half of the problems associated with painting a vehicle. Robots also cover better and usually have less oragnge peel because the application rate and sweep rates are very consistent - unlike human painters, which have more variation in application head sweep speed, and have a tendency to try and "fog" or "feather" at times (partially apply the paint or over-apply). Robots don't have to go to the bathroom, nor do they get progressively tired toward the end of shift - and Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are all the same to a robotic painter.

However, Wilmington Assembly may or may not be this sophisticated.
 

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Well, orange peel is a difficult thing to do today - some of it comes from the lower and lower amounts of solvent and carrier allowed to be in the paint - higher solids (better for environment, worse for paint application) make it difficult to particulate the paint properly, the result being "blobs" or inconsisent fog density patches forming in the application spray.

Inconsistent sweep speeds also contribute, as well as inconsistent air flow in the vacinity. My understanding is using a programmed robot in a human-less environment, you can accomplish three things that should reduce orange peel:

1) consistent and accurate sweep speeds,
2) closer nozzle distance, reducing the tendency for the paint fog to become turbulent, and
3) less random air movement, 'cause there's no humans entering and leaving the area all the time.

I'd be willing to bet that Wilmington is doing everything they can to have the best process possible - and an unmanned environment is an important step here.
 
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