Monday, 30 April 2012 15:30

Matrix System Launches World’s First Premium Low VOC Solvent Basecoat

Written by Melanie Anderson
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Matrix System Automotive Finishes, a Michigan-based company that distributes nationwide and in Canada, recently launched an entire line of toners that deliver 3.5 pounds per gallon or less VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions. This revolutionary technology offers customers exceptional hiding with ease of application and no need to upgrade shop equipment.

Matrix, a leading U.S. aftermarket automotive paint manufacturer, unveiled its new line at the NACE Show in Orlando, Florida last October where professional vehicle refinishers were the first to discover the Matrix System’s MPB-LV Premium Low VOC Basecoat system. MPB-LV (Matrix Premium Basecoat-Low VOC) sprays like other premium high VOC solvent systems, which makes it “hard to believe that it is low VOC,” Ken Papich, Director of Sales, told Autobody News. Additionally, the MPB-LV utilizes the Matrix System Color Variant Selector System to ensure a great match every time. The new premium low VOC basecoat gives the California and Canadian markets, and other regions contemplating low VOC regulations, the opportunity to choose between waterborne or low VOC solvent basecoat.

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Matrix, a division of Quest Specialty Coatings, partners with several regional warehouse groups to distribute their products to “jobbers” – paint stores that sell to body shops and the retail public - across the United States and Canada. “Because of this network, Matrix now has inventories that are only hours, or minutes, away,” said Papich.  “This really helps lower the operating costs of jobbers and they no longer need to stock so much product. We also have relations with an international distributor which takes Matrix all over the globe. It’s a great American story, as we make all our paints in Michigan and export all over the world.”

Matrix System Automotive Finishes is one of the industry’s most successful manufacturers of high quality color, clear coats, primers, hardeners and reducers. Matrix was established as a company dedicated to developing high performance and affordable refinishing products that perform as well as or better than the leading national brands.  The company’s mission is to produce high-quality automotive finishes and provide great value to their customers. “Matrix products sell for less without sacrifice,” said Papich.

Matrix has been in business for 30 years, starting with the production of premium clear coats, primers, hardeners and solvents. “We started when there was little competition, as the major paint brands owned the entire market,” said Papich. “We built great relationships with raw material suppliers, and because of lower operating costs, produced premium products at nearly half the price of the major competitors. We never had to cheapen our products to keep the selling price low. This quest for staying true to our formulas paved the way for loyal end users.” Today, Matrix is one of North America’s largest clear coat manufacturers.

Back in 1997, Matrix introduced the first Intermix Paint System, called AccuShade. Since bursting onto the national scene, Matrix System has been selling its AccuShade® Intermix Paint Systems, FX Series custom colors, clears, primers, and reducers to over 350 paint stores and thousands of body shop customers. The AccuShade® Intermix System now leads the product line, giving body shops the ability to produce over 98,000 colors with exact formulas. It has been estimated that Matrix basecoat colors have been sprayed on over one million vehicles with accurate color match and excellent performance.

Like its entry into the clear coat market, Matrix was a pioneer as an alternative automotive refinish brand. “We were able to save body shops nearly 40% of the paint cost and provide a consistent income for our jobbers,” said Papich. Today, AccuShade has evolved to a multi-quality intermix systems - premium to economy-priced basecoats, single stage paints, and now the world’s first premium low VOC solvent basecoat – MPV-LV.

Not all the paints and products that Matrix offers are low VOC. Matrix sells multiple products for all markets, including international. 

“Many people think California must only use low VOC, but a large part of the state doesn’t require this. We comply by providing accurate information for our distributors regarding what’s legal and what’s not.” Moving forward, Matrix is creating “Coast 2 Coast” products that are legal in all of North America. “Our new paint products perform so well, we didn’t tell customers that they were using low VOC coatings because we felt body shops wouldn’t want to buy products they didn’t ‘have to’ or would have preconceived notions that they wouldn’t perform,” said Papich.  “So, some of our labels do not feature the scary words ‘low VOC’ but we do provide all the necessary regulatory information.”

While some may think the current regulatory environment is complex, Papich doesn’t think so. “If you take the time to read and understand the rules, they are very simple. I only wish the rules didn’t vary between counties or states.”

In addition to the Matrix label, the company manufactures coatings for several other brands and distributors. “Paint manufacturing is a complicated and costly endeavor,” Papich said. “Smaller distributors and manufacturers now contract with us for less than it costs to make paint themselves, and with consistent results.”

Papich grew up in the paint business, working in his family’s paint store in San Diego, CA in the early 1980s as a teenager. He helped grow the family store into two large profitable locations. “I always wanted to be in law enforcement, but couldn’t give up my passion for the paint business. In the early 1990s, we sold our stores to Sherwin-Williams and my dad retired. I continued to work for Sherwin-Williams in various roles, my last as the Regional Sales Manager overseeing 21 locations and 140 employees. In 2008, I moved to Matrix and have been truly blessed to work for such a great group of people.” Since 2007, the company has doubled in sales and Papich thinks it’s only the beginning. “Matrix is a lean company where we all wear a lot of different hats. I’ve learned so much in the past few years, and it’s all been fun. I look forward to our future as Matrix continues to experience record growth globally.

“Matrix has definitely earned our place in the market as a premium line at great value,” Papich added. “Today, we’ve become a viable alternative to the major brands, without sacrifice. We’re committed to adding additional field resources, along with developing state-of-the-art technology. I see continued global growth for Matrix as we strategically increase market share and brand awareness. Matrix is a great line worth looking into. We have a great story to tell and can prove it.”

Company Facts
Founded in 1983, Matrix employs over 100 full-time associates.
Matrix products are manufactured in a 52,000-square-foot modern production facility in Commerce Township, Michigan.
Matrix System's corporate headquarters, warehouse, and training facility are located in Walled Lake, Michigan.
1.4 million gallons are produced annually.
4.0 million dollars of modern production paint equipment.
Bulk resin and solvent tanks are hard piped to mixing tanks.
16 bulk resin and mixing tanks on electronic load cells hard piped to filling lines.
7 automated filling lines with batch coding systems and automated labeling systems.

Online Contest
Matrix is offering a “Peel to Win” online promotion to all their body shop customers who purchase a gallon of Matrix System’s MP-1000 “Coast to Coast” DTM Primer Surfacer Sealer. To qualify, customers need to purchase a specially marked gallon can of the MP-1000 DTM Primer Surfacer Sealer, peel the sticker, follow all instructions on the back and visit the Matrix website to register. Winning prizes include iPads, Iwata Air Gunsa spray guns, VISA gift cards, mixing equipment and more. The program runs until September, 2012.

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