Ford creates industry-first 3D dirt-detection technology for paint jobs

Limited to US-market models for now
Aug 23, 2013


Ford is taking mass-market automotive painting to the next level by creating the industry\'s first three-dimensional dirt-detection technology.

According to Ford, the system uses high-resolution cameras and reflected light to \"digitally identify surface imperfections finer than a grain of salt in final vehicle assembly.\" The high-resolution images--3,150 images are supposedly captured in 15 seconds for every vehicle made--are then stitched together to create a full 3D image that is digitally compared to a perfect computer model. If the system detects even a minute flaw on the surface, it then cues final-assembly operators on where to polish and buff out the imperfections.

The carmaker added that with the dirt-detection technology, Ford has improved paint quality and reduced customer complaints of vehicle surface finish by 82% within one year.

\"This is one of the most exciting integrations of optical science and digital technology in the automotive industry,\" said Ford\'s global paint applications project manager, Tom Dougan. \"By combining innovations in vision technology, processing speed and software, Ford continues to invent new technologies that give our customers better paint quality and surpass competitor offerings.\"

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Unfortunately for us, Ford\'s 3D dirt-detection technology will initially be used for US-manufactured models so the only way you\'ll get it locally is through the Expedition, the Explorer and the Mustang.

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