SANT'AGATA BOLOGNESE, Italy – Automobili Lamborghini has inaugurated its new paint shop for the Super SUV Urus in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy. The plant is inspired by Lamborghini's Factory 4.0 model in combining craftsmanship and digitalization and is the first in the world to integrate new frontiers of artificial intelligence. Its new modular structure offers greater flexibility in the process and consequently a range of color personalization never before seen.
The concept for creating a technologically advanced paint shop at the production site in Sant’Agata Bolognese came from the company’s desire to integrate, according to the maximum quality standards, a key process of the overall production phase that is particularly complex. This complexity derives from the high level of personalization in the color choices offered to customers thanks to the Ad Personam program, the crucial component of specialist craftsmanship required by the process, and the aesthetic impact of the entire painting process on the finished car.
Ranieri Niccoli, Chief Manufacturing Officer of Automobili Lamborghini, said, “The new painting facility completes our strategic plant expansion project for the Urus, which has just reached the important threshold of 5,000 vehicles produced in a year. This is an extraordinary success that justifies the substantial investment, which also reflects our desire to safeguard our know-how, employment growth in the territory, and our brand identity.”
The significant investments on the industrial front were accompanied by new hires and a training plan aimed at consolidating and increasing the specialized skills of personnel who are working on the new project. The company currently has more than 1,750 employees. The new Urus paint shop makes it necessary to further increase the workforce by about 200 people from the start of the project to the achievement of full production capacity, and more than half of them are already working in the new plant. In order to guarantee the highest standards of quality on products with such a high level of personalization, the newly hired personnel underwent 12 months of training before going to work in the factory.
This was also made possible by the stipulation of a specific trade union agreement, signed in 2017, to make the decision of investing in the Sant’Agata Bolognese site competitive and sustainable, reflecting the climate of positive relations between the company and the union representatives.
Features of the New Paint Plant
The paint shop completed the expansion of the production site, which grew from 80,000 sqm in 2016 to now extend over 160,000 sqm of built-on area. The creation of the new buildings and the installation of innovative technologies involved the work of over 600 enterprises with a total of 3,600 external workers.
The new facility features technologically advanced systems with low environmental impact and workers with highly specialized skills. Like the Urus Super SUV assembly line, the new paint shop is characterized by the use and further evolution of the Factory 4.0 model, which integrates new production technologies to support the workers in the assembly process. Manifattura Lamborghini thus reaches a new level of development in a manufacturing model characterized by modularity, flexibility and maximum personalization.
Production in the new plant features an innovative modular process, which is very different from the standard linear process used traditionally in automotive painting systems. This innovation makes it possible to activate a certain process and path according to the color required, thus ensuring the maximum process flexibility and production efficiency.
The new paint plant is also the first in the world to be equipped with artificial intelligence able to recognize the priorities and program the processes. The intelligent system maintains a memory of each process carried out, calculates the time needed for each vehicle, and “learns” to program the subsequent steps based on past experience: for example, the quantity of a particular color needed to paint a vehicle.
The warehouse, the heart of the process, is completely automated and handled via the artificial intelligence system, guaranteeing responsiveness and greater flexibility in process programming compared to traditional warehouses.
The painting process is carried out with a combination of manual and robotic phases. The robots perform the jobs that are the most repetitive and demanding in terms of ergonomics, while the human operators provide their crucial added value of manual skills required to complete the process. Another particular feature is the painting of exterior aesthetic elements such as the bumpers and mirrors, which is carried out in parallel with the bodywork to guarantee color uniformity.
With the new paint shop, Lamborghini can offer its customers infinite color options. The colors are divided into four types: standard, special, matte and Ad Personam.
Through the Ad Personam program, customers can not only choose to personalize their car with the colors and graphics they prefer, but can also create their own unique special color in a true work of art.
The new plant also confirms Automobili Lamborghini’s longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability. The verticalization of the new plant enabled a significant 30% reduction in footprint with respect to a comparable painting plant. The building is rated Class A with perfect insulation and is equipped with the latest generation of LED lighting.
Ninety-five percent of the colors used are water-based. Solvent emissions are very low thanks to an afterburner that can recover the heat and reuse it to heat the ovens of the painting line. This technology provides a 25% reduction in energy consumption.
The cutting-edge technologies of the air-misting systems enable high efficiency in terms of paint consumption. Eighty percent of the paint is actually applied on the bodywork, which is twice as high as on standard systems.
Finally, E-Cube technology makes it possible to capture the overspray during the painting process, which reduces water consumption for air filtration to zero.