For some months now, people keep asking me why I haven’t recently contributed to Autobody News. The answer is simple, I didn’t feel I had anything interesting or of value to write about. This changed a few weeks ago.
As a paint manufacturer’s rep, there is not a month that goes by without being put in the middle of collision repairers and insurers, expected to chime in on a dispute about what is necessary for a proper repair.
One of my customers asked me to provide feedback on an issue that I feel most collision repairers and insurance professionals would be interested in.
As a paint manufacturer’s rep, there is not a single month that goes by without being put in the middle of collision repairers and insurers; expected to chime in on a dispute about what is necessary for a proper repair. In the July 2010 edition of Autobody News, I wrote an article on the debate about Color Match, Blending or both and no matter how many industry experts since then have expressed a similar point of view—this debate never seems to loose momentum.
In an Autobody News column last issue, the point was made that Southern Califoria shops can still use a VOC compliant solvent-borne basecoat systems rather than a waterborne basecoat system. Some of you may have read this and thought, ‘Hey, wait a minute, I thought in California’s Rule 1151 and other similar rules, water was the only game in town?’
Well, the rule asks for a 3.5 VOC basecoat. It does not specify that you have to use waterborne paint. How you get to 3.5 VOC is not the important thing. But there's another question: Why would a shop want to go waterborne if they don’t have to?
After my February column (see related here) on spray-gun choices appeared in Autobody News, I was asked to clarify a point I made on CFM availability in the shop during peak air consumption.
CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and a spray gun’s peak performance is depending on proper air volume. Each spray gun is engineered and tuned, just like a carburetor, for a specific CFM consumption. Some spray guns ask for 8-9 CFM and others want 17 CFM or more for optimum performance. Less CFM consumption doesn’t automatically translate into a better quality spray gun; it simply means that it could be the better choice for your situation. Most manufacturers’ spray guns will consistently perform well and do exactly what they are designed to do, as long as you provide them with their basic pressure and volume requirements.
A frequent question I get on an almost weekly basis is as old as our industry itself and the answer is still “it depends.”
What is the best spray gun on the market? Sounds cut and dry, but the answer to this question is much more complicated than it first seems. Besides the obvious technical aspect of this question, there are also emotional considerations that are weighing heavily in the decision-making process of a painter.
Personal preferences are important in this matter and vary from technician to technician. If a spray gun doesn’t feel right in a technician’s hand, chances are it will not become a natural extension of the applicator’s hand. This could result in less than superior finishes and often leads to a technician second-guessing his or her ability to produce what is expected of them.
Some things never change. It seems that every couple of months the insurance industry picks an aspect of the collision repair process and tries to change, alter, or ‘massage’ it. This is an obvious attempt to control costs and it is a challenge to the shops, continually justifying our repair methods and procedures. From a business perspective this is perfectly understandable and, depending on the issue, it may even lead to improvements for both parties.
It is easy for me to tell when the focus shifts to a new process. Within a couple of days I receive phone calls from several clients requesting my point of view on the new topic. The latest one that came up is an interesting question and as is often the case, there is no cut and dried answer to any part of it.