Harry Christman, Cromax brand manager for Axalta Coating Systems, explains the company’s mission in the industry and discusses the paints attendees will spray at the training session.Mike Fowler (mask up), head trainer at the center, shows attendees how to hold and use a spray gun before they start painting.A select group of automotive editors “suit up” with the proper safety gear before entering Axalta’s custom paint booth at the Pomona Training Center.

Axalta demos advantages of Spies Hecker Permahyd Hi-Tec and Candy CFX

Industry press invited to learn and test latest new coatings and technology during training session

Pomona, Calif.—A group of eight automotive editors were recently invited to attend a three-hour training session at the Axalta Training Center, in Pomona, Calif., to learn about and test the company’s latest new coatings, including waterborne paints, new candy paints, and its new wet-on-wet (WOW) basecoat. 

“Unlike our competitors, Axalta is a standalone paint company,” Harry Christman, Cromax brand manager for Axalta Coating Systems, said. “Since paint is our sole focus, all the money we make and research and development we do gets invested back into coatings and paints that help the industry.”

When paint companies first started encouraging U.S. body shops to use their waterborne products about a decade ago, many shops resisted, Christman said. However, they are now widely accepted and used.

“For the most part, painters resisted waterborne at first because they’d been spraying solvent for many years and had developed expertise with it,” he said. “That rebellion was quite understandable. Any time there’s new technology, it’s bound to cause some pushback.”

However, waterborne paint is a practical and viable alternative to traditional solvent-based products, Christman said, especially for shops that need to comply with low-VOC mandates or reduce their cycle times.

“Most of what we sell goes to collision shops and if you’re in the collision business you need to go fast, and you need it to be simple, so that’s what we focus on,” he said. “And, insurance companies want cars in and out as quickly as possible so it’s our job to develop coatings that help shops do that.”

For the training session, conducted in the center’s custom paint booth by Mike Fowler, head trainer, half of the attendees used Axalta’s Spies Hecker Permahyd Hi-Tec waterborne paint. The other half sprayed Candy CFX, which is a candy basecoat used for custom paint jobs.

“Permahyd Hi-TEC is an innovative 1 1/2-coat wet-on-wet (WOW) waterborne base coat that is fast, versatile, and simple to blend,” Christman said. “Candy paint jobs typically require eight to 14 coats applied as a ground coat and separate mid coat, but Candy CFX only requires two to three coats applied as a single base coat. Both products then require a final clearcoat finish.”

Christman added that custom shops lay down the majority of their color with the Candy CFX, and then use a standard candy process for special effects such as highlighting, blends, and fades.

Editors were outfitted with proper safety gear for painting and Fowler showed them how to hold a paint gun and paint a panel correctly.

“Whether it’s Axalta or any of our competitors, there’s nothing in a can of paint that’s good for you,” Christman said. “So whenever you’re using automotive paint, you need to protect yourself.”

Programs are offered in 11 Learning and Development Centers in North America, in an office or shop, online, or through a mix of blended learning methods as needed per customer. Programs are available for refinishers, body shop technicians, managers, owners, and educators.

For information, visit AxaltaLearningCampus.com, or call 610-358-5354.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.

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