Nissan To Use Ultra-Strong, High-Formability Steel In More Vehicles

Nissan will expand the use of a new type of steel that enhances fuel efficiency and driving performance by lowering vehicle weight.

First seen in the Infiniti QX50 midsize SUV, the new material combines high tensile strength with a previously unachievable degree of formability, resulting in lighter vehicles that can help lower emissions.

Featuring a tensile strength of 980MPa, the material was jointly developed by Nissan and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. While maintaining the ability to absorb energy in a collision, the steel’s combination of stamping formability and strength makes it possible to form complex shapes that are thinner and lighter than those made of conventional high tensile strength steel. The ability for the steel to be cold pressed makes it suitable for mass production which will help contain increases in vehicle costs.

According to Nissan, the Infiniti QX50, which went on sale in the US in March, is the world’s first vehicle with front and rear side members made from 980MPa ultra-high tensile strength steel. The material is also used in a range of other body frame parts.

Nissan launched a sustainability plan in June that calls for lowering CO2 emissions from its new vehicles by 40 per cent by 2022, compared with 2000. The company is aggressively developing technologies to expand the use of ultra-high tensile strength steel, aiming for it to make up 25 per cent of the company’s ‘vehicle parts by weight’. The material makes up 27 per cent of the new QX50.

AkzoNobel Combines Digital Tools For Better Colour-Matching

A new standard in quick and reliable advanced colour-matching is available to vehicle body shops after AkzoNobel combined two of its most innovative tools into a single system.

The new offering combines the company’s Automatchic hand-held spectrophotometer with its MIXIT digital colour retrieval technology. Now known as Automatchic in MIXIT, the system creates a single, seamless workflow which allows customers to precisely identify any colour from an ever-expanding database of more than two million.

“We’re always looking for new ways to help our vehicle refinish customers access digital colour technology and gain maximum advantage from our expertise,” explained Peter Tomlinson, Director of AkzoNobel’s Automotive and Specialty Coatings business.

“Our huge cloud database of more than two million colours means we can provide the perfect colour match and formula, optimized for any individual vehicle. With Automatchic in MIXIT, customers can now measure and match colour with superior accuracy even faster, making it a valuable asset for any vehicle refinish body shop.”

Tailor-made to streamline operations, Automatchic in MIXIT’s ability to improve both accuracy and speed helps to increase profitability and throughput while reducing waste. This is part of AkzoNobel’s commitment to deliver 100 per cent digital colour solutions for its vehicle refinishes customers.

For more information, visit Colorvation.com

New Cromax Accelerator Speeds Up Air-Drying

Cromax has developed a new accelerator that helps Cromax High Productive Surfacers dry faster at ambient temperatures.

High Productive Accelerator AZ1050 changes the drying properties of High Productive Surfacer 1051R (white) and High Productive Surfacer 1057R (black) to cut air-drying times from 60 minutes to 30 minutes at 20°C, which is especially effective during the cooler months of the year.

“It’s important to us to support our refinishers’ aim of increased throughput and productivity, and the introduction of a dedicated High Productive Accelerator for our High Productive Surfacers certainly does just that,” said Jim Iliopoulos, Axalta’s Product and Technical Manager for Australia and New Zealand. “High Productive Accelerator AZ1050 is mixed with the High Productive Surfacers, for up to three coats, wet-on-wet with no flash-off times. This eliminates between 10 and 20 minutes of unproductive flash-off time, significantly improves the speed of overall application and drying, and makes the refinish process more efficient and economical, whilst also helping to save energy.”

The High Productive Surfacer is mixed with the VHS Fast Activator XK203 and High Productive Accelerator AZ1050 in a ratio of 5:1:2. This accelerated primer system has excellent vertical stability.

High Productive Surfacer 1051R (white) and High Productive Surfacer 1057R (black) are part of the ValueShade concept, which helps to deliver the optimal undercoat for every topcoat colour. Different shades of grey are matched to different topcoat colours, delivering a combination that requires less paint. All Cromax colour retrieval tools specify the right ValueShade for every topcoat, which can minimise preparation time, increase colour hiding, decrease paint consumption and help to reap improved productivity and profitability.

Cromax Launches New Ultra Performance Energy Clear

Cromax, one of the premium brands of Axalta Coating Systems, has launched a new high-quality, low-energy clear that dries in five minutes at 60°C. The new Ultra Performance Energy Clear CC6700 is the most productive clear available from Cromax. Parts can be assembled after only 15 minutes, and it also dries at room temperature, so body shops need very little energy to work with it.

Body shops no longer have to choose between a top appearance and high output with CC6700, they can have both. Extensive field tests of Ultra Performance Energy Clear CC6700 have demonstrated high productivity and an exceptional, mirror like finish. Compared to conventional clear coats, CC6700 significantly reduces the energy consumption of a typical paint job either in a short bake cycle or in curing at room temperature.

“We wanted to offer body shops a practical solution to improve their work processes,” said John Nettleton, Cromax Product and Colour Manager for Australia and New Zealand. “Based on a new resin technology, it is the only top appearance clear coat to dry this quickly. It will help body shops maximise their output, whilst making significant energy savings without any extra investment.”

The new Ultra Performance Energy Clear CC6700 is conveniently available in a five-litre pack size. It is easy to apply in 1.5 coats and be used in conjunction with one of two Cromax activators – the AR7702 Energy Activator Standard or AR7703 Energy HT/HH Activator.

It is now available from your nearest Cromax distributor or visit www.cromax.com.au/CC6700.

Tesla Approves Spanesi For Its Body Repair Programme

Tesla, Inc. announced it has added three new Spanesi structural repair benches and the Touch Measuring System to its OEM approved equipment list, for Tesla Approved Body Shop programme.

“Spanesi is excited to be a part of approved list of collision repair equipment recognized in the Tesla Approved Body Shop programme,” said Timothy W. Morgan, COO and Managing Director of Spanesi Americas. “We look forward to providing state-of-the-art collision repair equipment to those facilities that are working on the highly complex vehicle structures and substrates being produced by Tesla today.”

“Tesla’s growing vehicle model line-up continues to push the tools and equipment industry to provide modern solutions to support the collision repair industry,” continued Morgan.

Clear Simplicity with PE2600 From ChemSpec USA

The Montana Big Sky PE2600 2K Clearcoat from ChemSpec USA offers what the company describes as “clear simplicity”. The clear is renowned worldwide for being user-friendly and can be applied under a range conditions found throughout Australia – from the hot summers in Queensland to the cool winters in Victoria.

Using urethane technology, PE2600 offers the flexibility needed for spot, multi-panel and overall refinishing. With a 2:1 mix ratio, a high film build can be achieved after the application of two full coats. ChemSpec USA says the final result is a deep rich gloss with premium durability.

The PE2600 Clearcoat is available in a five-litre pack with activators offered in Fast and Medium speeds. It is part of the Montana Big Sky product range, which is based on performance and value. ChemSpec USA says the customer can be confident that the company’s products deliver desired results, with the Montana Big Sky line enjoying a history of repeat customers.

ChemSpec USA is now part of the Axalta Coating Systems family of brands and is dedicated to growing and strengthening relationships with customers in the USA and worldwide. In Australia, the company continues to improve its brand offering and expand its footprint with support from ChemSpec USA representative, Corey Smith and a network of distributors.

For more information on ChemSpec USA in Australia, call local representative Corey Smith on 0419 552 868 or email corey.smith@chemspecpaint.com.

Axalta Unveils StarLite As Its Automotive Colour Of The Year 2018

Axalta Coating Systems announced the release of StarLite, its 2018 Automotive Colour of the Year. StarLite is a modern, technology-savvy, premium colour for vehicles of today and tomorrow. Borne from Axalta’s ChromaDyne line of colour coats developed for automotive OEMs, StarLite is a light and reflective hue that uses Axalta’s tri-coat process, which is formulated with synthetic pearl flakes to create an eye catching pearlescent effect. It is a sophisticated colour that is designed to look great on all vehicle sizes while also providing functional benefits.

“From a popularity perspective, there will never be a better year to highlight StarLite as an automotive pacesetter,” said Nancy Lockhart, Axalta Global Colour Marketing Manager. “While we see white cars everywhere, the rise in popularity of pearlescent pigments that reflect light underscores StarLite’s role as a modern, luxury colour.”

Axalta’s recently released 2017 Global Automotive Colour Popularity Report, which documents vehicle colour trends by geography, reported white as the number one colour in the world for the seventh consecutive year. Globally, nearly 40 per cent of buyers chose white in 2017, which is up two full percentage points from 2016. White surpassed black, the second most popular colour globally by 23 per cent. Pearlescent white, the category that includes StarLite, grew four percentage points to 13 per cent overall in 2017.

“Highly reflective colours can contribute to the functionality of driverless vehicles because lighter colours, like StarLite, are more easily detectable by LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) systems,” Lockhart continued. “So, while StarLite may not apply to all autonomous detection systems, Axalta believes these shades will become increasingly important to automakers.”

Car manufacturers consider many factors when designing a vehicle, including how to protect it from harsh road conditions and environments, safety, emission outputs and fuel efficiency. Researchers at the Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area showed how a vehicle’s colour affects fuel economy and emissions. Berkeley Lab’s tests found that using white or similar paint instead of black paint could enable manufacturers to downsize a car’s air conditioner and raise fuel economy by 2.0 per cent, decrease CO2 emissions by 1.9 per cent, and reduce other automotive emissions by about one per cent.

“This research appears to support what we felt all along; StarLite is a cool colour,” added Lockhart.

For more on StarLite, visit www.axalta.com.au/StarLite.

Nissan’s Miniature Car Wash Means Better Paint, Worry-Free Washing

A miniature car wash, about the size and shape of a popcorn machine, plays an important role at the Nissan Technical Centre North America in Michigan.

Equipped with a spinning brush that has vibrant blue bristles, this highly specialised machine allows engineers to test paint samples to make sure Nissan’s exterior paints hold up to the tough environment of automatic car washes.

Long before a Nissan ends up on dealer lots, engineers have made sure that every shade of exterior paint will stay looking great, even if customer frequently takes their Nissans through the rigours of an automatic car wash.

To mimic an automatic wash cycle, Nissan’s miniature car wash spins the brush at around 180 rpm, causing the bristles to harshly slap the paint sample as water jets spray and “Arizona dirt” replicates the harsh and abrasive real world.

In the pictures below, the red 1:16 scale model of the 370Z is for illustrative purposes only. In actual testing, Nissan paint is applied to rectangular plates which are placed into the miniature car wash and tested multiple times to ensure a top-quality finish that lasts.

Standox Provides Practical Tips For Repairing Liquid Metal Colours

Liquid metal colours are among the most spectacular car paints, which is why they are frequently used for sports cars or luxury sedans. But the extremely fine pigmentation of liquid metal colours makes their repair quite demanding. Axalta Coating Systems’ National Training Manager for Australia and New Zealand, Paul Polverino, shares tips on how best to approach these specialised colours.

Refinishing liquid metal colours, such as Alubeam by Mercedes or Liquid Metal Silver by Porsche, is an art. The repair demands the highest technical proficiency, as well as precision when preparing the substrate and premium quality paint products.

“Because of the composition of the liquid metal colours, even the smallest deviations from the original colour tone are immediately noticeable,” said Polverino. “Their aluminium flakes are considerably thinner and flatter than the ones used in conventional metallic paints and they reflect the light with greater intensity, so they are unforgiving of the smallest imperfection in the substrate, which must be taken into account in the preparation stages.”

How to get it right with Standoblue using a Mercedes liquid metal colour Alubeam repair.

Step 1 – Preparation

Apply a Standox VOC filler, please refer to the car manufacturer’s approvals. Drying and sanding should be carried out as normal. Then apply Standocryl VOC Xtra Clear K9560 onto the sanded filler to obtain a smooth surface. The clear coat must dry thoroughly, so give it a little more drying time than usual.

Step 2 – Sanding of the Clear Coat

Sand the clear coat surface of the repaired part and the old coating using P1000 to P1500, but sand corners and edges by hand with P3000. Very important: under no circumstance sand through!

Step 3 – Applying the Colour Blend

Apply Standoblue Colour Blend or Standoblue Color Blend Long to the blending zone. The product should be applied up to approximately 10 – 20 centimetres from the repaired area.

Step 4 – Blending In

Blend in. The ready-for-use setting for Standoblue is as follows: mixed Standoblue colour Alubeam + 50 per cent Standoblue Adjustment Additive Long. Apply the first spray pass up to the edge of the still wet Color Blend. With this spray pass you should almost entirely cover the area of repair.

Step 5 – Fading In

Apply the effect spray pass to the repair area and into the still wet Color Blend at a greater spray gun distance. As long as the Color Blend and Standoblue Basecoat are still wet, this step can be repeated, if required. The basecoat must have dried completely until it is matt before the clear coat can be applied.

Step 6 – Application of the Clear Coat

Apply the Standocryl VOC Xtra Clear K9560 to the entire repair area and then dry it according to the instructions on the technical datasheet.

Full, illustrated guidelines for repairing liquid metal colours can also be found in the Special Colours Standothek. It can be downloaded from www.standox.com.au/standothek. For specific information, the new online reference tool www.standox.com.au/standopedia is extremely useful for practical expert refinish advice. It covers the most important technical topics and is continually updated and expanded by professional Standox refinishers.

Symach Expands Production Capacity With New TRUMPF Equipment

Symach is designing a cutting-edge 3000-square-metre technical department in a facility at Calderara di Reno in Bologna, Italy. It will be equipped with a complete TRUMPF machining line including a TruPunch 3000 Sheetmaster machine for cutting sheet metal and loading, unloading and selecting parts, as well as a TruBend Series 5000 bending machine.

“TRUMPF is the world leader in sheet metal processing automation,” said Osvaldo Bergaglio, owner and president of Symach. “We are making a significant investment of approximately 1.5 million euros in this equipment, which will provide Symach with the best tooling for optimising production and having direct control over the quality of our products.” In addition, Bergaglio said it will increase production capacity by almost five times, allowing Symach to reduce delivery times and costs, as well as improve on quality assurance of the company’s product.

Machine installation is scheduled for January 2018 and the department is expected to be fully operational in March 2018. Currently, departmental staff are completing training at the TRUMPF headquarters in Milan, Italy, to learn how to best utilise the machines.

Symach said it has specialised in body shop design, construction and installation of its state-of-the-art technology and equipment worldwide since 2010. “We take pride in supporting our customers in the customisation of their bodywork and in staff training,” said Bergaglio. “We plan to continue investing in technology and product research and focus on continuous innovation as a key to success.”

There are now more than 70 customers around the world using the Symach FixLine model, working closely with Symach consultants to ensure their business goals are met. Symach said the new department marks a further evolution of its history in the direction of customer satisfaction.

“We support our customers in the achievement of increased production, efficiency, delivery of service and their profitability goals,” said Bergaglio. “The attestations of gratitude and friendship that come from them continue to give us the motivation and dedication to continue doing our work well.”

Bergaglio added that the spirit and mission that drive Symach demonstrate how the company will provide tangible innovation to the collision repair industry in the years to come.