Like a carefully choreographed dancer, the arms of a robotic paint sprayer pivot around a newly built HondaJet, applying layer after layer of paint in the colors selected by the buyer.
But it isn’t just simple fill-in-the-blank colors. The robotic arms are guided by laser projection technology, which tells them exactly where to spray the various layers of paint. Two robots are attached to a gantry inside the paint booth, and the gantry can move forward and backward, while the robot arms dart in, out, and in every direction.
“Our paint process combines modern robot application and laser projection technologies to display, paint, and measure internal schemes and the customer’s exclusive designs down to the smallest detail,” according to the company (Booth 3167, Static A502). “This technology allows us to produce intricate paint designs while remaining within FAA regulations on exterior paint thickness.” Honda Aircraft began painting with the robotic system in 2016 and is believed to be the only business aircraft manufacturer using this technology to paint the entire aircraft.
The various applications of paint effects available on new Honda Jets have been on display with recent versions of the new HondaJet Elite S. These include subtle pearl, low-light glass reflectance, and deep-color effects as well as matte finishes. When the Elite S was introduced on May 26, it was painted in a high-tech camouflage-style scheme. Another example includes the distinctively adorned “AlphaTauri” HondaJet, the airplane purchased by Red Bull that is flown by Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri for Formula 1 events.
The Elite S began deliveries in June and comes with a 200-pound increase in maximum takeoff weight, a nosewheel steering enhancement, and new paint color options. With a base price of $5.4 million, the GE Honda Aero HF120-powered HondaJet can fly 1,437 nm with four occupants and at a top speed of 422 ktas. The HondaJet can seat up to eight occupants, and its unique over-the-wing engine mount configuration creates a roomier cabin with a separate lavatory and spacious external baggage compartment.