Lexus claims paint process is so complex only two Structural Blue LCs can be made a day

Lexus claims paint process is so complex only two Structural Blue LCs can be made a day

Toyota's Lexus is making a new type of paint available on the limited run LC Structural Blue Edition.

The quest to develop Structural Blue paint was undertaken in a 15 year collaboration between the company's tech centres in both Ann Arbor and Japan, and VIAVI Solutions, a leading provider of thin film optical coatings and pigments based in California.

Engineers worked with the basic principles of light to create a special effect colour that appears 'bluer' than any blue pigment thought possible.

Producing such high luminance and colour saturation called for unprecedented efforts to develop a new kind of multi layered pigment.

At first it seemed the challenge was simply too great: the desired quality could only be secured using a pigment with 40 separate layers. But the team persevered, constantly improving the process until the effect could be created with just a seven layer structure. This made it practical for use in the production of highly exclusive vehicles.

The pigment is used to produce a new paint in a production process taking eight months, including 12 production steps and 20 quality inspections. The paint is applied in a 15-micrometre layer between the primer and clear coats. Nano-structures – super-small flakes – in the paint generate iridescence, giving the impression of the colour constantly changing with the light. Conventional pigment paints reflect less than 50% of incoming light as a visible blue colour but with Structural Blue the level is nearly 100%. In total, 300g pigment with 300bn pigment flakes are used for one LC.

Such is the fine quality of the process, only two Structural Blue cars can be produced in a working day at Lexus' Motomachi factory where the LC is made.

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