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Nissan - New Paint Plant

  • Workers polish the roof of a new Nissan vehicle 

New Paint Plant

Showcase Project: Nissan

Location

Smyrna, TN

Project Size

250,000 Square Feet Footprint

Financial Overview

Project Cost: $200 Million

Annual Energy Use (Source EUI)

Baseline
(2010)
7.9 MMBTU/Vehicle
Expected
(2013)
5.5 MMBTU/Vehicle
Actual
COMING SOON

Expected
Energy Savings:

30%

Annual Energy Cost

Baseline
(2010)
100%
Expected
(2013)
70%
Actual
COMING SOON

Expected
Savings:

30%



Background

Nissan has built a new paint plant at its Smyrna, TN facility that is projected to be 30% more energy efficient than the body-on-frame plant it has replaced. The new plant, referred to as System 1, Paint 4, was designed and constructed with energy efficiency as part of the specification. It replaces a vehicle paint plant that had been in operation since 1981.

Solutions

Nissan applied continuous improvement in the operation of the original body-on-frame paint plant, including many kaizens and small capital projects. These incremental innovations helped Nissan improve performance and grow through one of the most severe recessions in decades. In its first full month of operation, this new plant is delivering a 30% reduction in total energy use for body-on-frame painting.

Other Benefits

The construction process followed an eco-friendly approach. Management of construction site waste and recycling of onsite materials were included as project requirements, with 72% of identified recyclable commodities (e.g., wood, metal, concrete, cardboard, masonry, and co-mingled waste) being diverted from the landfill, accounting for approximately 4,060 yards of material. Controlling utilities usage during each phase of construction was also a priority. Metering was utilized to track the construction site activities and plant startup.

New cars move through Nissan's Paint Plant 4

Background

Nissan’s Smyrna vehicle plant was originally built in 1981 with production starting in 1983. Today, the plant covers 6 million square feet and manufactures the Nissan Pathfinder, Maxima, Altima and the Infiniti JX. In late 2012, the Smyrna vehicle plant launched production of the all-electric Nissan LEAF, as well as the lithium-ion batteries that power the car.

Paint 4 is now one of three paint systems at the Smyrna site, which collectively account for approximately 70% of the total energy consumed by the Smyrna vehicle plant—a typical proportion for the auto industry, and why attention to detail and innovation in this portion of the process can produce a significant reduction in vehicle manufacturing intensity.

Click here to view a series of photos of Nissan's new paint plant.

Solutions

In 2010, a bold initiative was launched to replace the old body-on-frame paint plant and build a new one. The new design would incorporate the latest innovative features to make the plant more efficient, flexible and productive—in a way that continued incremental measures could not achieve.

Innovative energy-saving technologies and processes Nissan deployed in Paint 4 include:

  • Application of a “3 wet” process: A “3-Wet” paint process eliminates one high temperature oven bake step with a typical 30 minute cycle time and replaces it with a 3 minute cycle time low temperature flash off oven. Ovens typically represent 30% of the electrical power use and more than 40% of the fuel use in paint plants, so the elimination of a high temperature bake step is a significant improvement.
  • Compact spray booth design: The new paint shop features a compact robot zone that saves space and requires less supply air. In addition, exhaust air systems are smaller in size and use less electricity. With reduced supply air, conditioning costs are lower and less energy is required for exhaust abatement. Typically, spray booths use more than 30% of the total electric power and 35% of the fuel use in a paint plant—compact design yields a significant reduction in energy use.
  • Re-circulation of air: The energy cost associated with Nissan’s spray booth has been reduced through recirculation of 75% of the booth air in prime, base, and clear zones. This limits the amount of outside air that must be conditioned resulting in significant energy savings.
  • Lower temperature phosphate process: The pretreatment of metal surfaces before painting are performed in the phosphate line to protect the metal surface against corrosion. The phosphate bath in the new paint shop uses chemical formulations that operate at lower temperature resulting in savings in energy used to heat the bath.
  • Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs): All of the new paint shop’s fan and pump motors that are used in processes that can benefit from speed adjustment are controlled by variable frequency drives. These drives optimize motor speed to match load requirements.
  • White polyvinyl chloride (PVC) roof: Nissan’s new paint shop roof is made of white PVC roofing systems that absorb less sunlight than a conventional dark-colored roof. Less absorbed sunlight means a lower surface temperature that reduces the heat gain through the roof, and saves electricity used in the plant’s air-conditioning system.
  • Chilled water plant design: Paint 4 requires chilled water year round to control the humidity of the returning booth air. Taking advantage of energy efficiency improvements at Nissan’s Canton vehicle plant, two water-cooled chillers were able to be re-deployed at the new paint plant in lieu of the initially proposed air-cooled chillers. Use of this repurposed equipment saves upfront capital cost and energy cost for the life of the project.
  • Dedicated natural gas hot water generators: Multiple smaller size natural gas hot water generators are used instead of large steam boilers. Dedicated hot water boilers serve individual processes. Each process uses only what it needs, when needed.
  • Sub-metering of energy sources: An energy management system, using sub-metering, was implemented to track energy used in different paint processes and to benchmark the paint process energy intensity. The sub-meters also inform operations and maintenance staff by providing more detailed regular feedback through monitoring of important processes.

Other Benefits

Temporary construction trailers were required to have a number of important environmental features, including ENERGY STAR® qualified HVAC appliances, occupancy sensors, automatic hand dryers, programmable thermostats, energy-efficient lights, and white roofing.

An added environmental value is the reduction in Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions as compared with the previous paint plant body on frame operations.

The new paint plant will significantly contribute to Nissan’s global carbon reduction goals of the Nissan Green Program 2016 (a 20% reduction of CO2 emissions in 5 years), ENERGY STAR plant certification, the DOE Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge goal and Superior Energy Performance (SEP) Platinum certification.