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Thursday, 05 April 2007 13:55

California faces stricter VOC regulations

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  BASF's Dave Brez speaks with one of the 300 invited guests at a March 28 panel discussion on changing VOC regulations in CA. Stricter regulations have been imposed by The California Air Resources Board to reduce the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the environment. This means a shift towards the use of waterborne paints to enable body shops to be in compliance.

Individual air districts will adopt these rules, some to go into effect as early as July 2008. Shops that are not compliant will face hefty fines. In response to the recent changes, we posed some pertinent questions to paint company representatives to learn more about making the transition from solvent borne to waterborne.
Akzo Nobel Sikkens Autowave www.sikkenscr.be/sikkens/corporate
Will shops need new equipment to spray your waterborne products?
 Richard Lawrie of Akzo Nobel explained the steps needed to switch to Sikkens Autowave. Shops in California will need to look at three pieces of equipment in order to maintain current levels of production and performance.
 Some type of air acceleration device is needed above and beyond what a shop may currently have in place. There are many different types of air acceleration devices on the market, ranging from $20 to $20,000. The shop should assess its need based on location and production requirements. Here’s how it works; in order for water to evaporate out of a wet film, it’s necessary to break up the water-rich microclimate hovering just above the panel. When the relative humidity is high (above 50%) the need is greater. When the relative humidity is low (10-20%) the need for additional air movement is less and quite possibly unnecessary. A cool damp area (coastal) would have a different need than a hot dry area (desert). Flashing is one thing; maintaining sufficient wet film mobility to ensure correct effect orientation of metallic is another.
 Because the cost of removing water waste is considerably higher than removing solvent waste, the shop should make every effort to minimize the amount of water waste it generates. A good way to do this is to replace its conventional metal gun cup with a plastic disposable gun cup. This will eliminate the production of about 90% of the shops potential water waste, thus reducing costs; it also makes for a happy painter. Most spray gun manufacturers make and sell a disposable gun cup. Aqueous gun cleaners are an option but may be seen as more of an inconvenience after some time because of the 25g/l restriction on cleaning solution.
 A painter will need to have a dedicated spray gun for spraying waterborne material. A stainless steel or chromed gun is preferable to avoid the possibility of corrosion inside the gun. The most important thing here is to avoid cross contamination with solvent. Cross contamination will cause paint to coagulate inside the gun and make for an unhappy painter.
What is the training time to convert from solvent-based product to waterborne?
 There are three components to converting a shop from solvent basecoat to water basecoat.
 After the mindset of the shop owner is in the right place, in other words he understands why he’s changing; he has confidence in his supplier and is finally willing to move forward, we begin.  First, an evaluation of the shop, its conditions and its equipment is done. This may take several days to complete and actions resulting from the evaluation should be addressed prior to installing waterborne basecoat. For example, the shop computer would need to be updated with all the new formulas. Air lines should be delivering clean air, new equipment installed; this kind of thing.
 Once the new paint is installed it takes about two days for the shop to be up and running. Actually it takes the painter about two jobs to get his confidence and me the rest of the time to be fully confident he’s getting everything I’m giving him. We always try to start out with the toughest colors possible, gold and silvers on new vehicles. Needless to say our technical folks are really well trained for this event.
 Finally, the weekly follow up, this is when we return to the shop for a day specifically to recap and make sure that newly installed SOP’s are closely adhered to. A painter can call at any time he feels he needs help and our response time is immediate.
What is the blendability?
 The blendability of Autowave is so much easier than a solvent borne basecoat. Consider that a painter has several reducers to select from when spraying solvent borne basecoat; he can often get caught short when there’s a spike in temperature, resulting in a difficult-to-spray basecoat. With water there’s only really one speed to worry about, slow. Actually water is about three times slower than a typical solvent-borne basecoat. It’s very easy to control the color and effect performance of Autowave via the three biggest influencers of waterborne basecoat; heat, humidity and air movement.
 An extreme Santa Ana condition for example, very hot and very dry, would represent the most difficult environment for waterborne basecoat because you can’t turn it off. There are some simple tricks to overcome this type of environment, all part of the training. Damp, cool conditions are easy to control and therefore make for very easy blendability.
How many years back do your waterborne formulas cover?
 Akzo Nobel will load the shops computer with every color from Acura to Zastava and everything in between, including motorcycle and fleet colors. Normal code retrieval can take the painter back to 1995, if he so chooses. However there are alternate methods for locating colors that go back even further. Colors are updated every six weeks with new releases and additional older colors. As of today a painter will easily access any car color he chooses with all available variants as far back as twelve years.
{mospagebreak}BASF Glasurit 90-Line www.basfrefinish.com
Will shops need new equipment to spray your waterborne products?
 BASF's regional manager, Dave Brez, said the conversion to waterborne base-coats will bring a change to some of the equipment used in the paint shop. However it is not as drastic as some people have predicted. Gun cleaners and waste handling systems designed for waterborne will be essential. They are not that different, they are simply geared to handle water rather than solvent. Shops and painters will need to invest in spray equipment that was designed for waterborne materials. Waterborne spray guns have Stainless Steel fluid passages instead of aluminum, which can corrode because of the water. Shops will also want to invest in some type of air movement system. This can range from the simple hand held venture units such as the SATA Dry Jet to the more complex fixed in booth systems like Jun-Air Quads or Garmat’s Accele-Cure. The shop’s environment and their production needs will dictate the best solutions.
What is the training time to convert from solvent based product to waterborne?
 Most shops can be converted and trained in a matter of a few days. At BASF we will usually work side by side with the shop’s painters and helpers for about a week. Glasurit 90-Line spray techniques are very much the same as solvent borne systems. The transition is not complex. Since Southern California shops already use low VOC primers and clearcoats that will be compliant when SCAQMD 1151 changes the adjustments. The necessary training is minimal. BASF also provides online training for shops as well as full certification training for Glasurit 90-Line at our Buena Park Training Center.
What is the blendability?
 Glasurit 90-Line blends very easily. That is one of the advantages of waterborne basecoats. The Glasurit 90-Line system also has a blending clear 90-M5 that helps a painter achieve the perfect blend.
How many years back do your waterborne formulas cover?
 Glasurit 90-Line has been used in the United States for the last 14 years. We have color formulation available in 90- Line that go back that far and beyond.
 We recently installed a Glasurit mixing system at one particular shop that specializes in custom cars and finishes. The first car to be painted with 90-Line was a 1968 Ford Mustang. There was a formula available in Glasurit 90 Line.
 BASF is very proud of our Color-Max2. It’s one of the best color tools available today. It uses actual Glasurit 90-Line color sprayed on chips to help painters choose the best formula and variation available.
{mospagebreak}DuPont Cromax Pro www.performancecoatings.dupont.com
Will shops need new equipment to spray your waterborne products?
 DuPont’s Rafael O. Ochoa said a lot will depend on the equipment that the shop already has in place; in addition to the climatic conditions associated with the location of the shop within California (e.g. coastal vs. inland). With waterborne technology, it is beneficial to have a facility that can effect some degree of climate control (temperature and humidity); air movement and heat are important variables. A downdraft booth with air make up will be very desirable for the future paint shop that uses waterborne basecoat. Assuming the shop is well-equipped and has the ability to influence temperature, some small upgrades will be very helpful to take full advantage of the benefits that Cromax® Pro waterborne basecoat can deliver.
 For those shops that need to increase air movement, several inexpensive options exist that can increase air speed to boost productivity gains. Aside from the elaborate booth systems, shops can greatly benefit from portable blower systems (venturi type). These portable blowers will improve drying productivity noted above and can be acquired at a fairly low price. The limitations are the size of the repair and the ability to create the turbulent air over the entire repair surface.  The primary variables that impact waterborne basecoats are air movement, temperature, humidity and film thickness.
 Additional equipment will include dedicated waterborne basecoat spray guns, plastic or lined mixing containers and 125 micron nylon mesh strainers will be needed. (Separate waste streams and waste removal is required. Be sure to contact your local waste hauler for information specific to your area).
What is the training time to convert from solvent based product to waterborne?
 DuPont Performance Coatings offers waterborne certification courses that provide the latest waterborne technology, products and processes; courses are available today at our California training centers.  For the latest course schedules visit, www.performancecoatings.dupont.com.
What is the blendability?
 Blending is the process skilled Refinish Painters use to transition the basecoat color on the repair panel to match the original color. DuPont™ Cromax® Pro is easy to implement and requires very little adjustment to the everyday process.
How many years back do your waterborne formulas cover?
 DuPont Performance Coatings will continue to offer extensive coverage for color formulas; in addition our patent technology (VINdicator™) enables users to enter the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to isolate a color formula that was created for a specific assembly plant. VINdicator™ technology allows Paint Shops to continue to select the correct formula alternate to ensure the correct flake appearance is achieved. 
{mospagebreak}PPG Aquabase Plus and Envirobase High Performance www.ppg.com/cr-refinish/phase1/frmhome.asp
Will shops need new equipment to spray your waterborne products?
 Doug Beuke of PPG said, “While our waterborne systems do function adequately without major equipment changes some shops may want to consider improvements in the following areas.”
 Air movement equipment is beneficial to get the true production benefits of waterborne basecoats. Increasing the air flow across the panel will help flash of the basecoat allowing our systems to dry faster than today’s solvent basecoats. Many options exist from hand held blowers to new booths or booth retrofits. Typically all double the feet per minute (FPM) and the choice will be highly dependent on the shops production output requirements.
 Painters may also want to consider a new spray gun dedicated for waterborne application to limit the risk of cross contaminating with solventborne products and corrosion of the internal components. Also, many gun manufacturers have made advancements improving the application of waterborne making an easy-to-blend system even easier.
 Many shops already have good air filtration systems, but if not they should look at this as the time to pay attention to this area. Clean, dry air is even more critical with water and will help minimize any potential rework resulting from contaminated air.
 Lastly the waste stream for water must be managed separate from the solvent waste stream. Many companies offer solutions to help with the transition to a secondary stream, including new waterborne gun washers.
What is the training time to convert from solvent based product to waterborne?
 As part of our Convert with Confidence program that is designed to minimize the impact to our customer during the transition, we schedule the technician into one of our training centers for an extensive one-day, hands-on session. To shorten the learning curve, our classes will be small and focused on application, allowing a lot of one-on-one interaction with our waterborne training instructors. Directly following the off-site training a conversion specialist for PPG will work with the shop at their location making sure they are comfortable with the transition to this new technology.
What is the blendability?
 Easier than solvent! That’s what I continually heard from our European counterparts and their 16,000 plus shops, but until I started working with the product in our shops in California last year I would not have believed how easy it was. Blending and metallic control are truly benefits gained from the transition to our waterborne lines
How many years back do your waterborne formulas cover?
 Both our Aquabase Plus and our Envirobase High Performance systems have over 19,000 formulas each with formulation coverage dating back to 1986.
{mospagebreak}Sherwin-Williams AWX www.sherwin-automotive.com
Will shops need new equipment to spray your waterborne products?
 Rebecca Rizzo said that Sherwin-Williams will conduct in-depth facility assessments to determine each shops individual equipment needs. Minor modifications will need to be made to provide   optimum performance. Since AWX Waterborne Basecoat performs similar to a solvent borne system, it requires very low capital equipment cost.
What is the training time to convert from solvent based product to waterborne?
 Sherwin-Williams offers multiple training courses to inform and teach new users of the AWX Waterborne paint application process. Since AWX performs like a solvent borne, the training time to switch to our waterborne paint system is minimal.
What is the blendability?
 The blending process of AWX is very simple. Since the AWX product produces a very fine particle size, we are able to teach an easy-to-learn finesse blending process that produces consistent blends, every time.
How many years back do your waterborne formulas cover?
 The AWX Waterborne Basecoat system provides hand matched color formulas dating back to 1998. Other color codes previous to 1998 may also be hand matched based on frequency of mix in  our online formula system, Formula Express. Other color codes will be computer matched.

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