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Axalta products deliver speed, simplicity

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - 08:00
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POMONA, Calif — Looking to learn more about Axalta products? Get hands on and in the booth during an Axalta training session.

On Jan. 31, Axalta hosted trade publication editors for a Wet on Wet Roundtable at its training facility in Pomona, Calif. 

Axalta Trainer Mike Fowler explains product features and demos the paint products in the booth.

Fowler and ABRN Managing Editor Krista McNamara work with the Spies Hecker Permahyd Hi-TEC paint.

Axalta Brand Manager Harry Christman and trainer Mike Fowler gave an overview of Axalta products and the company’s two main focuses — speed and simplicity. “We work to create paints that are faster. Anything we can do to speed the process means more cars getting repaired and more revenue for the shop,” Christman said. Along with speed is making the products and process as easy to use for the painter as possible.

Axalta Automotive Refinish boasts five paint brands under its umbrella — Cromax, Spies Hecker, Standox, Nason and Metalux from its recent acquisition of ChemSpec.

Event attendees suited up with Christman and Fowler to try their hand in the paint booth spraying two of Axalta’s products — Spies Hecker Permahyd Hi-TEC, a waterborne paint that goes on in 1.5 coats with wet-on-wet technology, and Cromax CFX Basecoat, a candy-colored basecoat that goes on in 2-3 coats.

To enhance speed, the Permahyd Hi-TEC paint allows painters to do a mist coat immediately over the initial wet coat, Christman said. Once applied, the coating may appear bumpy because of the water content, and as the water evaporates out, the paint adheres to the surface and flattens out.

“Solvent paints flash dry, but with waterborne products, the water has to evaporate out. Air movement helps to accelerate the evaporation rate," Christman said. “That’s why productivity-minded shops may choose to install blowers in their booth.” Fowler demonstrated how a bit of air from a hand-held blower caused the paint to quickly dry right before the group's eyes.

The candy paints, a big trend in automotive painting, have a very rich, deep appearance. Normally a metallic ground coat is laid down first, followed by 4-10 coats of translucent "candy" color mid-coat, depending on color coverage. The translucent candy color must be painted on evenly, or variations in the thickness can be easily seen as color differences. Finally, a clearcoat is applied to protect the entire system. The layers of translucent color sitting over the metallic ground coat give candy paints their depth and dimension, Christman said. With the Cromax CFX paint, the metallic and color are mixed, and sprayed together like a traditional basecoat in 2-3 coats, depending on coverage. This saves lots of process time, and assures even application. After clearing, the candy dye migrates up into the clearcoat to provide the same depth of color achieved by layers of candy in the traditional process.

Christman also stressed the importance of safety and protecting oneself in the paint booth. “Let’s be real — there's nothing in any can of paint that you want to breathe in,” he said. So proper ventilation, masks and personal safety need to be top of mind.

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