That is happening at Ford’s biggest European plant, in Spain’s south-eastern coastal city of Valencia.
After a vehicle has been painted – using a more energy-efficient “3-Wet” painting process that applies layers without the need for each coat to dry – it is scanned by multiple hi-resolution cameras. The computer matches the surface to ideal standards.
Imperfections, and their location on the bodywork, flash up on computer screens, and are colour-coded according to the severity.
A tiny fibre or dust spec gets a “red” warning. The car is taken away to be hand-finished.
The computer analyses 3,150 images in 15 seconds, keeping the production line moving.
Workers used to spend 70% of their time inspecting cars with their eyes, and 30% repairing the paintwork. Now they spend 10% on scanning and 90% on finishing defects.