It’s really hard for the painter to be learning something new in a high production shop and still deliver his daily cars per booth. Some of our shops are up around 75 cars a week per booth. We guarantee their car count while we’re doing the conversion. Whatever your normal car count is for the week, by Friday you’ll still have that count.
We present a cost for the conversion, and we ask the painters to sign an agreement so that they compensate the shop if they leave too soon after being trained and converting.
We believe in cold turkey. We pull the solvent out and we stay there until the painter tells us to leave. Some of the panelists commented that sometimes the guys will start slipping their car count. We can’t be there for six weeks but we stay as long as we can. After two weeks of initial training we come back for about a week or so.
It doesn’t matter what paint line you’re using. The difference between the waterborne and the solvent is the strength of the toner, so we recommend that they go with this expert mixing system. All the toners for waterborne are high-strength now, and there’s no tolerance for overpours. If you overpour you’re going to change a blue to a green.
One of the first things I look at when I go to a painter’s mixing room is his toners, the lids, to see if he keeps them clean or not. We let painters know that we’re watching their usage so they don’t overpour. Mixing the colors is not a real hard task but a lot of painters are just busy and distracted. I can run a mixed usage report to see if they overpoured eight out of ten times without reformulating, and I bring that to their attention. Sometimes they blame the paint—which is not the problem—instead of their own process.
We can use an expert mixing machine made by DuPont and formulated to work with DuPont product. Cost runs about $150 a month. Using it, you can see that for one month overpours for toners can be way more than $150, just in the toner alone. If you try to tone it, with waterborne that’s an awful lot of spray outs. The best thing is to get it right the first time.
There’s also a camera which can scan each car and can reformulate DuPont’s whole library. If they’re doing 50 and 75 cars a week, we recommend the camera because they don’t have time for spray outs. We guarantee if they’re using it correctly with the color library it will get everything within a sprayable blend. Everything it mixes will be blendable. These cameras run about $5,000–8,000 to buy, but I make it part of our paint contract and I’ll put it in there. So as long as they’re buying from us, they can use it. It can actually help painters if they’re struggling with color. If he starts falling back in the car count, we will bring a camera to help him. If they’re still having trouble with usage in a shop, we can set the computer up where they have to enter an RO for every mix they make so management can see it.
It really matters how the painter’s mixing and how we track it because a painter might leave for another shop, and we get calls to see how he did previously. We are doing more than anybody else and in bigger shops we find we spent a couple weeks helping train and then we usually come back later for another week or so. We schedule them for school after we’ve done our training for two weeks and we school for two or three days. We will paint the cars for them while the painters are at school and when the painters come back they usually have a lot of questions. Some of the other programs will send painters to school first but the painter doesn’t get to learn to ask questions that way.
A longer version of this interview with additional discussion can be read at www.autobodynews.com. Mark D’Angelo can be reached at 818-266-8384, or the general number (818)-834-2774, or by email at email@example.com.