Waterborne Paint: The Beginner’s Guide – Part 7


Adopting a new product and new techniques is never going to be easy, especially with staff that may be rigidly stuck in systems that have been successfully doing the job for many years. Converting to waterborne paint is going to mean training for everyone involved, from the top to the bottom, so if you are looking to make the switch, plan it in as importantly as any piece of hardware you’re proposing to buy to go with the move.
The key to a successful transition is awareness. Everyone involved in the paint repair process should have a good understanding of what is going to change relating to product and process procedures prior to the change over. This also includes office staff and management. As it takes a number of years for a spray painter to perfect not only application technique but also problem solving, it could be said “it would be unrealistic to expect the change over from solvent to waterborne to be hassle free.” However this is not the case, as the repair process is virtually identical and most painters would find the transition easy with some basic training and awareness.
Thirteen years ago when Aquabase came into the repair industry it didn’t work because the industry wasn’t ready for it, the acceptance wasn’t there. The message has to be driven home, that people have to change the way they think.
“Spray painters are practical people and therefore think visually,” explained Glasurit’s Technical Sales Support Manager, Ian Johnson. “To become efficient in waterborne it requires not only a theoretical awareness as mentioned above but also a process of hands-on, practical lessons. Before a shop makes up its mind to go to waterborne the senior staff should go and see the product, in application and in a finished form. Most paint companies run evaluation days of some form to allow the customer to come and have a look at the product.
“You’ll want to see the product being used in a typical repair scenario, not just painting a small panel or area showing how quick waterborne can dry. Ideally look for a paint job to the front end of a vehicle, or a three-panel repair or in a blend scenario, then you can see how it works and how you might use it in your shop.”
Having seen it in use, then consider the implications of the change. Do not proceed with the idea unless everyone involved – management and staff – is one hundred per cent committed to the process. Any resistance will lead to problems.
Once your mind is made up that you are going to make the change it is recommended that some form of formal training take place. “Any reputable paint company will give you the level of training required,” said Johnson. Ensure your paint supplier has a credible change over programme, this will ensure down time is keep to a minimum. Part of that is ensuring your painters follow recommended procedures and are efficient in the way they’re using solvent product, because if they’re not, or if they’re into taking shortcuts. If so they will more than likely have problems resulting in rectification.
A competent painter ought to require about four to five days of training, partly in-house at the paint company and partly on-sight.
A worst case scenario is that a waterborne paint system is just dropped off and left to the painter to find his own way. All that will do is leave another bad taste in the painter’s mouth and he’ll never want to touch it again.