Canadian Finishing and Coatings Manufacturing

 

March 24, 2023

  

Paint Assembly LineThe first thing you notice when you pick up a new car is the gleaming paint job. And to the naked eye, it may seem perfect. But the reality is, no two cars ever receive the exact same colour or coating. In fact, the process is so intricate that the defect rate is significant, with some estimates as high as 25 per cent. That means parts are often pulled off the line or repainted, causing paint specialists to work in a constant cycle of problem solving and making the paint shop one of the highest polluters in the automotive supply chain due to increased emissions and waste.

Now a Toronto-based startup with a passion for cars and automation is making great strides in solving the issue. Mazlite Inc.’s unique technology—an advanced spray monitoring platform that combines sensors and analytics to deliver high quality coatings—works in real time to detect slight changes in the automotive spraying process. For the first time, paint shops could have the visibility they need to prevent problems before they occur on the production line.

“The whole colour matching and environmental aspect to painting new cars is extremely complex and yet, it’s taken for granted,” said Amirreza Amighi, Mazlite CEO and co-founder. 

Production line colour challenges range from mismatched hues when plastic and metal car parts are combined, to defects in materials or dirty nozzles, and human or robotic errors. Mazlite is tackling these issues by applying a scientific lens, tapping into the cutting-edge expertise of student researchers hired through Mitacs, a national innovation organization that helps solve business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions.

Currently, quality control typically occurs after a paint job is finished. Mazlite’s intelligent, cloud-based sensors work like an automated inspector, measuring spray patterns every few minutes on the line to ensure the coating thickness is correct. The sensors also continually monitor paint materials to avoid defects due to changes in colour or poor finishes.

Easily integrated into existing production lines, the sensors are constantly gathering information and performing complex calculations in the background to determine whether or not a spray is going to meet specifications before being applied. The system provides alerts to notify employees and pinpoint exactly what went wrong when a problem does occur. 


By automating the process, Mazlite is also helping to solve the challenge of an aging paint shop workforce. Car paint specialists accustomed to current, manually intensive processes are retiring and it can be difficult to attract newcomers to the field, explained Amighi.

“When they see our advanced technology, it excites them,” he said. “We’re helping the paint shop to be more environmentally friendly, we’re increasing quality, and by adding smart sensors, we’re making it possible to introduce newer, cooler colour choices to consumers down the road,” he added, explaining that the reason most cars are white, black or red is that those are currently the easiest colours “to get right” at the moment.

Mazlite is currently working with several OEMs and tier one and tier two suppliers to the automotive industry to advance its technology and plans to have its first full-scale implementation under way by the end of next year.

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