SOUTHFIELD, MI – Enovate is a high-end travel technology enterprise integrating R&D, production, and the sales and service of electric vehicles. The new e-car factory, currently under construction by the Chinese manufacturer, is scheduled to start production this year. It includes a scalable paint shop built by Dürr, which can grow flexibly to meet demand. An important building block for the plant is the EcoProFleet of automated guided vehicles (AGV).

Enovate's brand concept focuses on design, quality and intelligent connectivity. The company aims to rethink smart design and green mobility and implement its ideas with innovative technology. The first ME7 model has been officially available since last fall. The new plant in Changsha, one of China's major cities, is designed for an initial annual capacity of 60,000 units. To enable Enovate to expand its production in response to rising demand, Enovate opted to use AGVs around its manual workstations. The AGVs are a flexible conveyor technology that is not restrained by cycle times and can be easily extended as production figures grow.

Unlike conventional in-floor conveyor technology, more AGVs can be added as additional workstations are built. This is economically attractive, especially for newcomers to e-mobility; they can begin with small quantities and gradually expand as demand increases. Driverless transport vehicles offer the flexibility to postpone expansion until it becomes a requirement for the manufacturer.

Resistant to paint and solvents, equipped with an integrated laser scanner and a speed limit for the utmost safety, EcoProFleet by Dürr is the first AGV designed specifically for paint shops. Four of the autonomous transport vehicles will be used at Enovate on an area of 60 by 36 meters to convey bodies between the manual workstations and the intermediate storage area. AGVs do not require breaks for charging; therefore they are ready for use around the clock. The charging stations where the AGVs hand over or pick up bodies enable a consistent energy source without interrupting the manufacturing process. In just 90 seconds, they draw enough power to cover the next section. Dürr developed different adapter solutions for transporting the bodies to the AGVs and handing them off to other conveyor technology. For example, from a roller track to an AGV. With the right adapter solution, the AGVs can be used with skids, as at Enovate, and without skids.

Enovate’s new paint shop is also the first in China to rely on the RoDip® E rotational dip process in pretreatment with a thin-film process and cathodic electrocoating. Unlike the RoDip M product variant established in many plants in China, RoDip E is electric. The electric power source allows Enovate to program each trolley to manage a specific car body’s requirements. This allows the flexibility to define an optimized immersion curve in terms of turning and travel speeds for each body type, resulting in the best possible draining and minimal carryover. All RoDip variants have a comparatively short immersion tank with a small tank volume to keep consumption of water, chemicals and energy as low as possible.

Dürr's EcoDry X system is installed for the topcoat spray booth. It uses cardboard filter boxes as a separating agent for overspray and is more environmentally friendly than processes that use a mixture of water and chemicals. For greater energy efficiency, the process air is redirected to the air recirculation system. This process reduces a paint shop's total energy consumption by around 30% compared with a conventional wet scrubbing system operated without air recirculation. EcoDry X also excels since the disposable cardboard filters can be easily replaced, even while production is underway.

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