MARK NICHOLS: FORD PAINT RESEARCH SPECIALIST STRIVES TO KEEP VEHICLES ‘GREEN’

MARK NICHOLS: FORD PAINT RESEARCH SPECIALIST STRIVES TO KEEP VEHICLES “˜GREEN’

  • As technical leader, Paint Research, Mark Nichols is responsible for all paint-related research and advanced activities throughout Ford Motor Company
  • One of Nichols’ key objectives is reducing the environmental impact of the paint process
  • A native of Kalamazoo, Nichols resides in Saline, Mich., with his wife and two children

One might think that creating eye-catching exterior colors for cars and trucks is the main objective of Ford Motor Company’s Paint Research team.  But it’s just one chapter of a larger story, says Mark Nichols, technical leader of the group. 

“Our focus is on reducing the environmental impact of the paint process, either through the amount of energy consumed or the amount of waste produced,” said Nichols.  “To that end, we’re doing a lot of experimentation to develop new processes and new paint chemistries.”

One example is the Ford-exclusive 3-Wet paint technology, which is being rolled out across the globe.  The process allows three layers of paint to be applied one after the other while still wet, resulting in a superior product created with fewer pollutants and less expense. 

“This technology is a win for the environment, our customers and Ford,” said Nichols.  “It reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent without sacrificing quality.”

Nichols says the Paint Research team also is looking for innovative ways to expand the company’s patented Fumes-to-Fuel system, an eco-friendly, industry-leading pollution-control system that converts emissions from paint shops into electricity to help power the plants.  

“It’s our duty as citizens and as research scientists to make the environmental impact of painting as small as possible, while still being able to deliver the products that people want,” he said. 

“Part of our job is to think unconventionally and come up with new solutions.  We are constantly asking ourselves if there is a fundamentally different way to paint vehicles that is environmentally and economically responsible.”

Personal Insights and Fun Facts

  • Nichols is an experimentalist at heart.  “Any day that I have a good experiment going in the lab is a great day,” he said.  “The reality is that I love paint.”
  • Nichols has been with Ford Motor Company for 17 years.
  • When he’s not at work, Nichols enjoys playing guitar.  He also is an avid reader of books on evolutionary biology.
  • Nichols lives in Saline, Mich., with his wife and two sons, ages 15 and 12.  “My children are endlessly entertaining,” he said.  “There are many soccer, baseball and football games to attend.” 

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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents.  With about 201,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo.  The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.  For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.

Oct. 1, 2009

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