PPG Says Waterborne Paint Conversions Gaining Momentum - BodyShop Business

PPG Says Waterborne Paint Conversions Gaining Momentum

According to PPG, more and more collision shops are making the transition to waterborne basecoat from solvent-based systems in anticipation of new air quality regulations in California and Canada. The move, intended to reduce VOC atmospheric emissions and improve air quality, has so far resulted in more than 700 collision shops making the transition to PPG’s Envirobase High Performance and Aquabase Plus waterborne basecoats.

While some shop owners were wary of making a change in technology at first, the conversions have made “converts” of owners and paint technicians alike.

“We weren’t sure about the change, but once we did it, we were glad we did,” says Richie Kizirian, president/owner of Jim & Jack’s Collision in El Segundo, Calif. “Waterborne is easy to use, quality is excellent and color-matching is simple and accurate. My painters would never go back to the old way.”

“Everybody can spray this paint…it’s easier, much easier,” says Ignacio Rosales, paint technician for Precision Auto Body in Reseda, Calif.

To ensure a smooth transition, PPG initiated a waterborne conversion program called “Convert with Confidence” more than a year ago in California. The program provides shop owners, managers and technicians with training, advice and support before, during and after the conversion. A similar program is underway in Canada.

“Transitions are going very smooth,” says Jim Downey, PPG senior regional manager. “We convert an average of 15 to 20 shops every week. The program employs a methodical implementation plan for managers, then painters coming to class at our training centers. While they’re in class, we install the new equipment at the shop. When they return, everything is ready to go with a PPG training team there to help.”

In what may be a surprise to some, many California shops that have recently converted to waterborne are located in regions still not under any regulation mandate to use waterborne technology.

“We want to be ahead of the game, because eventually we’ll be forced to do it,” says Lisando Allende, co-owner of Uptown Body & Fender in Oakland, Calif. “If we do it sooner, we’ll have more experience when the time comes to comply with the VOC regulations.”

In Canada, PPG Product Manager Debbie Nucciarone reports similar success. "Many shop owners were eager to make the conversion early. They knew regulations would make the change inevitable, and they wanted to adapt quickly knowing we would provide them with the training and support they needed.”

Canadian shop owners who have made the change have been pleased with the results.

“Everyone was nervous about the shift to water-based paint, but the move has been positive in every respect," says Richard Marsh of Emeryville Collision in Tecumseh, Ontario. "Our staff prefers it. It’s a better product to use and it’s cleaner and less hazardous.”

Elvis Cervone of Enviro Car Paint & Collision Services in Aurora, Ontario, echoed Marsh’s comments. "We don’t miss solvent basecoat at all. Plus, it’s easy to clean up.”

In California, VOC regulations are taking effect in stages with the densely-populated southern part of the state, known as the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The rules there will go into effect July 1, 2008. In Canada, the regulations will take effect nationwide on January 1, 2010.

PPG is encouraging shop owners in both regions to take advantage of the “Convert with Confidence” program as soon as possible to ensure they’ll be “shop ready” when regulatory deadlines take effect.

For more information, visit www.ppgrefinish.com.

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