Nissan Simulates Sunshine 24/7 To Test Paint Durability
29 December 2018 - motor1
The automaker can evaluate paint samples in half the time it would normally take.
We spend plenty of time talking about cars from a driver's perspective. Obviously it takes all kinds of research and development to see a concept through to production, but we suspect very few people actually know just how deep that rabbit hole really goes. Nissan occasionally opens a window into that world, and recently the automaker shared a bit of insight on something many people take for granted: paint durability.
It sounds like a simple process. Paint a car, stick it outside, and let Mother Nature do her worst. Unfortunately, that takes time and we've all heard the time is money cliché. To speed things up, Nissan built a nifty box it calls the Xenon Weather-Ometer (XWO for short), and its sole purpose is to simulate harsh UV environments – AKA searing sunshine – on various paint samples. It can hold nearly 100 samples at a time, and since the "sun" shines in the box 24 hours a day, Nissan can study the effects in roughly half the time it would take doing it the old-fashioned way.
The XWO is a fairly simple rig. It uses a single 4,000-watt Xenon bulb to emit the same kind of UV wavelengths as the sun, effectively baking all the samples at once. The paint chips are placed on a large ball-shaped holder that rotates slowly inside, simulating the earth's orbit.
"In addition to rigorous real-world tests, this tool allows us to create harsh environments," said Doug Prytula, a technician for body and chassis testing with Nissan North America. "It is one more step we take to ensure Nissan's quality standards are second-to-none."
The XWO doesn't simulate wind, water, or other environmental factors, but regardless of weather conditions, all cars feel the wrath of sunshine. Think about that the next time you're dropping a coat of wax on your beloved ride.