Axalta Building Waterborne Coatings Plant In China

Axalta has broken ground on a new phase of its Jiading plant in Shanghai, which the company feels represents an important new investment in environmentally responsible waterborne coatings by Axalta in China.

Axalta expects the plant will be operational by early 2021 and will position it to meet rising demand for sustainable coatings from automotive and industrial customers across southern and eastern China.

“This investment into waterborne coatings production is vital to the current and future growth of Axalta,” said Steven Markevich, Executive Vice President and President, Transportation Coatings and Greater China, Axalta. “Maintaining a leading position in the global waterborne coatings market is critical for Axalta and one that we intend to invest in for our long-term success.

“As the Chinese market for automobiles and industrial goods continues to grow, evolve and mature, we believe this investment will place us in an ideal position to meet growing demand among our customers for sustainable products and innovative applications across southern and eastern China. This new milestone will enable us to stay at the forefront of delivering the latest generation of waterborne coating products and positions us for future technology advances and customer requirements.”

China has the world’s largest automotive market and second-largest car parc, with a total vehicle population of 348 million at the end of 2019. The company says car ownership per thousand people in China has surpassed global averages, demonstrating ample potential for future growth in China’s automotive industry. Axalta believes China’s coatings market is being advanced by the government and the industry, which envisions a future where only businesses with environmentally responsible products and production can survive and grow.

“As the industry continues upgrading to sustainable products, the waterborne coatings market will likewise continue to grow in China,” said Willie Wu, President of Axalta Greater China. “The next generation of world-leading waterborne coatings technology that will be produced at our expanded facility is designed to benefit the industry and environment by creating superior appearance, lowering energy consumption, and reducing carbon dioxide and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.

“Our investment in waterborne coatings production will embody the principles of sustainable manufacturing, while ensuring we continue to meet both our efficiency and profitability goals. This win-win scenario will be a long-term competitive edge that will benefit our company and our customers.”

Axalta said the plant will combine its best practices with China’s local R&D advantages and implement a unique design process. It will include automated production technology to maximise productivity, reduce energy consumption and minimise environmental impacts.

“China’s automotive and industrial coatings industries are rapidly upgrading their manufacturing processes to continue delivering high-quality products, while becoming more sustainable,” said Sun Lianying, Chairman of the China National Coating Industry Association. “With its Jiading waterborne plant, Axalta set the gold standard in the industry in 2015, and this expansion is further proof of its commitment to the sustainable development of the Chinese market and the industries it serves.”

Axalta Introduces 1K Waterborne Stonechip Guard

Axalta says its new 1K Waterborne Stonechip Guard is designed to extend the lifespan of commercial vehicles on the road.

According to Axalta, 1K Waterborne Stonechip Guard is a highly flexible coating that provides excellent protection against damage caused by stones and other day-to-day road debris. It also acts as an anti-corrosive barrier for vehicle underbodies.

“This product is a great addition to our portfolio,” said Michael Busch, OEM and Military Manager at Axalta Australia. “It will allow our commercial vehicle customers to keep their vehicles on the road for longer. This is especially important for those whose livelihoods rely on their vehicles being in service on the road rather than in the repair shop for maintenance.”

Axalta says the product is easy to apply using conventional spraying equipment, is touch dry 30 minutes after application, and can be recoated after two hours at room temperature. The product’s waterborne nature makes it easier to clean up and provides better working conditions for painters.

For more information, contact your local Axalta distributor or call 1800 292 582.

Axalta Opens Online Training To Vehicle Painting Apprentices

Axalta has opened its online training platforms around the world to provide refinish training organisations and institutes with free access, saying that many vehicle painting students are no longer able to receive hands-on training in their courses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company says it has always been an advocate of the power of hands-on training when it comes to encouraging apprentices to pursue their career in refinishing.  While it prefers students to attend training at an Axalta training centre, the free access to the online training platforms are meant to bridge the gap in their learning until it becomes possible again.

Interactive virtual training courses are available for Axalta customers in each of the regions the company serves, including the US, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and Asia Pacific. In Australia, the platforms offered are Mikey for Standox, MyTraining for Spies Hecker and E-CTC for Cromax. Students will be able to access modules including Safety in the Workplace, Surface Preparation, Plastic Part Preparation and Repair, High-Performance Substrates, Colours and Colour Tools, Refinish Repair Process and Application Defects. All aspects of colour training in these modules are based on the company’s latest waterborne technologies.

“Our aim with students has always been to show these talented young people that they can have a rewarding career in auto repair and refinish,” says Paul Polverino, National Training Manager at Axalta. “Even though we are unable to support them in a face-to-face capacity, we have been able to find an alternate solution and we can provide support in an online environment. Students also earn two I-CAR points after the successful completion of all modules, which is a great incentive to get involved in this initiative.”

Axalta is offering the free access only for the next two months, so anyone who is interested is encouraged to contact Polverino on 0412 485 390 or to email [email protected]

Axalta Donates Protective Equipment, Hand Sanitiser

Axalta has announced that it will provide critical equipment and products to people and organisations in its local communities around the world.

“Axalta is committed to worldwide efforts to support the safety, health, and well-being of hospital professionals, first responders, and our employees,” said Robert Bryant, Axalta CEO. “Our entire global Axalta family is pulling together to use our collective energy and resources to help fight coronavirus in the communities where we live, work and raise our families.

“We are putting our manufacturing might and supply inventories to work in order to offer products that will make a difference where they are needed most, whether that be in hospital rooms, on ambulances or on the manufacturing floor. We will continue to look for opportunities to leverage our capabilities to the fullest and remain steadfast in our goal of serving our communities and the true heroes on the front lines of this fight.”

Axalta’s coronavirus relief efforts include:

  • Production of hand sanitiser: Axalta’s plants in the USA (Virginia and Michigan), Mexico, Brazil and Germany are shifting their manufacturing to produce thousands of litres of hand sanitiser that meets the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO). The product will be donated to local hospitals and first responders, as well as used at Axalta plants to ensure the safety of employees and their families.
  • Sending PPE to hospitals globally: Axalta is donating personal protective equipment (PPE) such as facemasks, including its N95 inventory, coveralls, closed hoods and protective sleeves to hospitals globally. These donations have occurred in the United States, France, Belgium and Germany so far.
  • Providing seat covers to medical professionals: Axalta is donating over 5000 seat covers to local hospitals that are low on protective supplies. Medical professionals use the seat covers in their own cars to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus when they are visiting people affected by COVID-19.

Axalta Concludes Review Of Strategic Alternatives Due To COVID-19

Axalta’s board of directors has unanimously voted to conclude its review of strategic alternatives due to the dislocation in global markets caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the nine-month review, Axalta explored alternatives to maximise shareholder value, including a comprehensive sale process, as well as an evaluation of the company’s operating strategies, core underlying businesses and standalone value creation potential.

Following evaluation of these alternatives, the board determined that shareholders are best served by the ongoing execution of the company’s strategic plan.

Axalta communicated with more than 50 participants, including companies in the coatings, chemical and industrial sectors, as well as financial sponsors throughout the US, Europe, and Asia regarding a potential sale of the company or components of its business. Axalta signed non-disclosure agreements with 18 potential purchasers to facilitate due diligence.

“Although the process has concluded, our board will continue to evaluate all opportunities to enhance shareholder value,” said Mark Garrett, Axalta’s Chairman of the Board and Chair of its Strategic Review Committee. “I would like to thank Robert Bryant (Axalta President and CEO) and the management team for their hard work in the review process and for the excellent job they are doing to navigate Axalta through a global crisis. I’d also like to thank our employees for their relentless commitment and outstanding contributions to Axalta’s success.”

Bryant said Axalta has taken “swift and decisive action” to address the impact of COVID-19 on customer demand, including executing adjustments to Axalta’s cost structure.

“We believe the actions we are taking, coupled with a strong balance sheet and ample liquidity, will enable us to emerge from this crisis in a position of strength. Our top priority is the health of our employees, customers and communities. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and take further action as appropriate,” said Bryant.

Axalta Global Automotive Color Popularity Report 2019

Released in November last year, Axalta’s Global Automotive Color Popularity Report 2019 revealed that grey was the most popular colour for new cars in Europe. With 24 per cent of the market, grey narrowly edged out white on the old continent (23 per cent), but white remained the world’s most popular colour. The third most popular choice in Europe was black, and Axalta says that together, these three colours have a two-thirds market share. Silver has a 10 per cent market share while the leading “bright” colours are blue with 10 per cent, and red with six per cent.

Elke Dirks, Automotive OEM Colour Designer for Axalta in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the rise of grey came as no surprise. “Grey stands for practicality and professionalism, style and elegance,” said Dirks. “A grey car signals that the driver does not need to draw attention to themselves with a bright colour. Thanks to new pigments and effects, the previously rather inconspicuous colour is now often very stylish. It takes around two years to completely develop a new colour, so we have to recognise tomorrow’s colour trends today.”

Axalta says the OEM colouristic team evaluates a wide variety of indicators. In addition to analysing colour statistics as well as customer and model-related properties, they look at fashion and “zeitgeist” (the defining spirit or mood of a period of history). “Trends in clothing, furniture and accessories, even articles in magazines – everything can provide clues,” said Dirks.

Not every shade that Dirks and her colleague Christiane Luedecke develop makes it onto a car. Sometimes a colour fails due to production-related reasons, and sometimes it is because of the development of a repair formula. “The paint development for a car manufacturer does not only include the production paint, but also the right repair paint, because at some point body shops must be able to repair paint damage perfectly,” explained Harald Kloeckner, Head of Standox Training EMEA.

During the colour development process, Standox (an Axalta brand) is in regular contact with its OEM paint colleagues. “This co-operation makes the development of suitable repair formulas and paints easier,” added Kloeckner.

According to Standox, close coordination with OEMs is not a matter of course as some production paint manufacturers are not active in the refinish area, and vice versa.

Standox says the development of a paint repair formula is a lengthy and time-consuming procedure that includes microscopic analysis to identify pigments, the calculation of mixing formulas and the creation of spray patterns by robotics to obtain a neutral spray pattern. The results obtained are checked and refined.

Standox develops around 60 new mixing formulas every week and deploys them via its online colour software Standowin iQ. “It is a lot of effort, but we know we can ensure that our partners always achieve the best possible results,” said Kloeckner.

Axalta Receives Multiple Certifications From CESVI

Axalta has received seven certifications from the Center for Experimentation and Road Safety (CESVI), becoming the coatings company with the highest number of approvals granted by the organisation in Mexico.

The certifications recognise products that meet or exceed rigorous quality standards, specifications and performance metrics.

“We are honoured to receive these certifications from such a prestigious institution,” said Manuel Maestro, Regional Sales and Strategic Accounts Director, Axalta Mexico. “With more than 150 years of experience, we understand the automotive market and the needs of customers in Mexico and will continue to deliver the highest quality products, services and technologies that grow our customer businesses.

“Sustainability and high performance are central to our business. We are committed to introducing innovative products that help to increase throughput in body shops around the world.”

Axalta says it provides regular free training to automotive refinish painters at its body shops through the “Axalta on Tour” programme, which has helped over 20,000 painters in Latin America become better, more productive and more energy efficient.

In addition, Axalta’s loyalty programme in Mexico, “The Painter’s Club,” has over 3000 refinishers enrolled and “recognises the dedication and hard work of refinishers in Mexico”.

Axalta Services Announces Courses For 2020

Covering a range of topics, Axalta Services says the courses contained within its 2020 training schedule provide participants with valuable insights into the latest tools, techniques and methodologies needed to increase throughput and decrease cycle times within the body repair process.

The schedule kicks off this month with the first course named Pre-Lean. Axalta Services says attendees begin by going back to basics as they are re-introduced to ‘lean’ thinking in the collision repair industry. The course lays the foundations for a successful lean transformation and emphasises the need for basic processes to be in place before a business embarks on a ‘lean journey’.

According to the company, blueprinting, optimum parts management and solid production controls are important components of a lean system and understanding their effects on cycle times during the course prompts participants to focus their thinking.

“In the past, many of us have been guilty of trying to run before we can walk. This course recognises that and takes us back a step,” said Axalta Services Manager, Robin Taylor.

Axalta’s training alliance with I-CAR means that upon completion of any Axalta Services course, participants will be awarded credit that can be applied towards the I-CAR Gold Class Professionals and Platinum Individual designations, or be used to meet role-relevant annual training requirements. Each credit point earned will be submitted to I-CAR and recorded on the participant’s personal training record.

To view the training schedule, visit www.axalta.com.au/AxaltaServices.

Axalta Announces 2020 Global Automotive Color Of The Year

Axalta unveiled its 2020 Global Automotive Colour of the Year, “Sea Glass”, a turquoise blue that is inspired by nature’s waterways and oceans, and glitters in sunlight.

Axalta’s 2019 Global Automotive Colour Popularity Report stated that blue vehicles comprise seven per cent of the global automotive market, ranking fifth overall following white, black, grey and silver. The regions with the highest level of blue vehicles are North America and Europe at 10 per cent.

“The trend toward turquoise blues is growing,” said Nancy Lockhart, Axalta Global Product Manager – Colour. “Sea Glass was designed for all vehicle types, from compact and sport vehicles to medium sedans and large SUVs and trucks. Bright and pearlescent, Sea Glass is designed to be transmissible for radio detection and ranging (RADAR), meeting the colour trends of today for the autonomous vehicles of tomorrow. The transmission properties of Axalta’s Sea Glass, as well as many colours in our expansive colour portfolio, allow vehicle-to-vehicle detection to occur.”

Axalta Hosts WorldSkills Regional Competition At Gold Coast Training Centre

Axalta Coating Systems organised and hosted the WorldSkills Australia Regional Competition for the Queensland region on 26 November, allowing young apprentices to showcase their talents in the Vehicle Painting category.

Axalta is a Principal Category Partner with WorldSkills Australia, supporting the 2019 Regional Competitions and the 2020 WorldSkills Australia National Competition. The competitors used the Standoblue waterborne basecoat for all colour application, involving a two-tone design which was specified by WorldSkills. Axalta said one of the benefits of using Standoblue basecoat is that it could be hardened and dried quickly, ready to mask up for the second colour all within a very small time frame – essential to getting everyone finished on the day.

The winners were Aaryn Mckeegan with Gold, Olivia Agnew with Silver and Angelina Jasmine Aitken who won Bronze, with the three of them each receiving a Sagola gun from Axalta.

“We are very proud to support these exceptional young Australians and provide them with new opportunities for growth,” said Paul Polverino, Training Manager at Axalta. “Axalta’s passion for our industry and desire to secure its future through young professionals is what drives us.”

The 2020 WorldSkills Australia National Competition will be held on 13 – 15 August at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre. Axalta said it will continue its partnering role as sponsor and supporter of the vehicle painting competitors.