DETROIT – Painting a new vehicle is not just part of the manufacturing process — it is an intricate chemical operation requiring constant scientific monitoring. Trained experts, members of General Motors’ “Blue Suit Crew” follow elaborate precautions to ensure that final vehicle paint finishes are pristine.
Many everyday personal hygiene items – such as lotion, cologne, hair spray, deodorant and silicon — are prohibited in GM paint shops because their mere presence can cause the new paint to contaminate the paint.
Paint shop employees are constantly seeking the sources of paint contamination, looking for clues and hunting down potential contaminants.
“The process of painting a vehicle properly is much harder than the average person would assume. We have many different factors that we have to be cognizant of at all times,” said Anton Busuttil, paint shop area manager at the Orion Assembly Plant in Lake Orion. “The weather — including temperature and humidity — is one of those major factors over which we have no control.”
The goal for the Blue Suit Crew is a perfect finish. “There are precise stages each vehicle goes through in order to leave GM’s paint shop with phenomenal colors,” Busuttil said. “The vehicles are prepped, dipped in treatment, and sprayed with PVC antichip material, primer, base coat and finally clear coat. The vehicles are then checked to ensure they are in compliance in terms of quality, if they meet expectations they are sent to General Assembly to continue the build process.”