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.

Axalta’s Promotion To Celebrate New Partnership With Finixa In Australia

Axalta Coating Systems have unveiled their latest promotion ‘Reel Experts Can Tackle Anything with Axalta and Finixa’ to celebrate a new alliance with automotive consumables giant Finixa. By simply purchasing a Promotion Kit that includes a range of Axalta paint products and Finixa consumables, the purchaser will receive a free Daiwa Fishing Rod and Reel valued at $59.95. In addition, they can also enter the draw to win a brand new Quintrex 450 Fishabout Boat valued at $26,500.

Entry into the competition is easy. Simply purchase any branded promotional kit from a participating Axalta distributor, between 1 December 2017 through to 28 February 2018. Then head to www.axaltapromotions.com.au. Here you will find full Terms and Conditions, a listing of participating distributors plus information on how to enter the competition.

Each promotional kit includes:

  • Primer, Putty & Activator (Spies Hecker or Standox or Cromax)
  • Axalta 1K E-coat Aerosols
  • Sagola® MP300 Mask
  • Sontara® Tack Cloths
  • Finixa Introductory Consumables Kit
    PLUS, A BONUS Daiwa Fishing Rod and Reel valued at $59.95

With each promotional kit, you will be eligible for one entry to the competition, with the winning prize of a Quintrex boat including a trailer, safety equipment, registration and dealer delivery.

Finixa products are aimed at the collision repair sector that includes panel and paint preparation products, paint consumables, personal protection equipment (PPE), spray booth products and more. They are designed and manufactured in Belgium and are subject to strict testing criteria. And, like Axalta, Finixa continuously evolves to meet the ever-changing demands of the automotive industry, through extensive research and development that is focused on product innovation and improvement.

For more information on the Finixa range of products talk to your local Axalta distributor.

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.

Axalta Launches The New Acquire Quantum EFX Spectrophotometer

Axalta Coating Systems, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, introduces its fifth-generation spectrophotometer, the Acquire Quantum EFX, which packs innovative technology into a lighter, faster, and highly accurate unit that is capable of reading metallic, pearl, sparkle and effect colours, and more.

The ergonomically advanced Acquire™ Quantum EFX Spectrophotometer packs innovative technology into a smaller, highly intuitive colour measuring tool. The unit is almost half the size of its predecessor to enable comfortable, one-handed operation. Its aperture is also smaller by 20 per cent for improved accuracy on curved surfaces and hard-to-reach places.

The Quantum EFX has top-mounted high res full colour touch screen with 180° rotation capabilities, suitable for left and right hand users. The screen is also calibrated for high visibility even in bright outdoor light and can be used while wearing gloves. The unit also integrates seamlessly into the Axalta’s branded colour retrieval software for automotive repair, designed to improve productivity and efficiency of bodyshops.

“’The Acquire Quantum is lighter and smaller, in fact half the size of its predecessor allowing for easy one-handed operation,” said John Nettleton, Axalta Product and Colour Manager for Australia and New Zealand. “It fully integrates with our colour retrieval software and is more efficient at matching colour, which translates to improved productivity and profitability.”

The unit comes with a “smart cradle” for convenient charging and direct connection to a PC, without the need to plug in or remove cables. The Acquire Quantum EFX is also Wi-Fi enabled, allowing users to transfer data directly to Axalta’s signature branded colour retrieval software.
For more information on the Acquire Quantum EFX go to www.axalta.com.au/QuantumEFX or call 1800 292 582.

New Lexus Paint Inspired By A Butterfly

“Structural Blue” is the result of research into how technology can produce a finish that is deeper, more vibrant and “bluer” than anything seen before.

The Lexus research team’s inspiration for the new colour Structural Blue came from the American Morpho butterfly which is known for the deep, shimmering blue of its wings.

First presented on the Lexus LC grand tourer at the 2016 Geneva motor show, it has now been developed for production. Due to the intricate technologies and fine quality of the process, only two Structural Blue cars can be produced in a working day at the Lexus Motomachi factory, where the LC is produced.

The 15-year quest to develop Structural Blue was a collaboration between the company’s US and Japanese technical centres along with California-based VIAVI Solutions Inc., a provider of thin-film optical coatings and pigments.

Lexus said the creation of Structural Blue is an achievement that presented exceptional technical challenges. In the company’s search to create the new colour, the team studied the structure of the Morpho butterfly’s wings to determine how a similar iridescent effect could be achieved with vehicle paint.

Despite their appearance, the wings are colourless. The blue seen by the human eye is created by light interference on the microscopic lattice surface structure of the butterfly’s wings.

Replicating such high luminance and colour saturation required unprecedented efforts to develop a new kind of multi-layered pigment. At first it seemed the challenge was simply too great; the desired quality could be secured only by using a pigment with 40 separate layers. But the team persevered, constantly improving the process until the effect could be achieved with just seven layers, making it practical for use on highly exclusive vehicles.

The pigment is used to produce a new paint in a production process taking eight months, including 12 production steps and 20 quality inspections. The paint is applied to the LC’s bodywork in a 15-micrometre layer between the primer and clear coats. Nano-structures – super-small flakes – in the paint generate iridescence, giving the impression of the colour constantly changing with the light.

Conventional pigment paints reflect less than 50 per cent of incoming light as a visible blue colour, but with Structural Blue the level is nearly 100 per cent. In total, 300g pigment with 300 billion pigment flakes are used for one LC.

LC models in Structural Blue will feature a cabin presented in the LC’s Breezy Blue colour combination, with a mid-blue semi-aniline leather for the upper door trims, steering wheel, instrument panel and centre armrest. This contrasts with white fine leather-accented seat upholstery and vivid orange for the shift lever surround and the draped Alcantara door panels. The headlining is also finished in Alcantara.

In Australia, Structural Blue will be offered in extremely limited numbers on the LC flagship from the first quarter of next year.

Auto Repairs Direct Running Big Sale

Auto Repairs Direct, an industry “new kid on the block,” was established in Australia some 18 months ago to provide the next wave of body shop owners, purchasing managers, panel beater specialists and general DIY shed warriors an online alternative in the quest for buying affordable and quality auto refinish products. The company is now offering 20 per cent off all its products for visitors who sign up for an account.

The company says it was established to serve the needs of busy shops with growing customer demands. As body shops gradually accept the idea of purchasing stock online, Auto Repairs Direct says it hopes to be just ahead of the curve in the automotive refinish industry, with the aim of supplying all major customers nationally.

The company’s customer base was modest to begin with – when it first started, online procurement was only beginning – but now, 18 months later, Auto Repairs Direct’s customer base is in the thousands and the owners say they couldn’t be happier with what they’re providing.

Now, Auto Repairs Direct is launching a 20 per cent off storewide campaign for any customer who simply signs up to the company’s website. According to the company, it wants to grow a community of “great” customers, in return offering “some unbeatable prices to help garner the bond between online store and customer”. Auto Repairs Direct says it also plans to build a content side to its website that includes referrals for the best body shops around Australia, DIY information and a forum for experts and newcomers to connect and share hints and tips.

Auto Repairs Direct’s range can be found at www.autorepairsdirect.com.au.

The Jollift 1330 Fast Repair Bench

Looking for a space saving repair bench with all the features of a large bench? Can you park a car over the top of your current repair bench?  With the Jollift 1330 Fast Repair Bench you can now equip each work bay with a quality European-manufactured car bench.

The flexibility of the modular design means that multiple benches can share one pull post, one set of clamps and one set of wheel stands which makes it totally affordable for each work bay to have its own repair bench. The Jollift 1330 is ideal for small to medium repairs and while it can be used for stripping, refitting and pulling repairs it is also a great tool for estimating.

The SAPE Group has been representing Jollift benches in Australia for many years. They’re made in Italy by the FI.TIM Company, and these benches have been a great success for SAPE. The best part about the Jollift 1330 Bench is the ability to ‘mix and match’ any combination of components to suit your body shop’s needs. “We have customers who have purchased three benches with lifts but only two sill clamp sets and one pulling post,” say the staff at the SAPE Group. “It is a very versatile unit which doesn’t take up much space, but when lowered to its 100mm height does not take up the car bay. It is low enough that a car can be parked over the top of it.”

The company says the modular Jollift 1330 Bench is the perfect combination for the body shop and fi t up area. To find out more call (02) 9772 9013 or visit shop.sape.com.au/products/FITKIT1330.