The new system provides a safer learning environment for the students because the water-base paint produces fewer pollutants that can enter the air or be inhaled. But that’s not the only reason the water-base paint is being used.
“When we clean out our paint guns, we are reusing the water to clean out the gun, so that’s cutting down on the hazardous chemicals that are being taken out,” said Newsome. “What it costs us to remove a 55-gallon drum of lacquer thinner, we’re reusing five gallons of water to clean a paint gun. It’s not costing us anything to clean it.”
Newsome said that most vehicle manufacturing factories and area repair shops are already using water-based paint. “We want to stay ahead of the technology curve,” said Newsome. “We want the kids to be versatile. Whatever shop they go in, they can work with waterborne or solvent-borne.”
Students in the program receive training with the solvent-borne system as juniors and work hands-on with the waterborne paint their senior year.
Dover’s Cody Troyer, a senior at Buckeye Career Center, said he prefers working with the waterborne system.
“I find that when I use (the waterborne paint), it sprays on the car a lot easier than the solvent does,” he said. “I can spray more coats at a faster pace than solvent because it doesn’t take as long for the water base to dry.”
Newsome said when comparing solvent-borne and waterborne, air flow is key to drying the paint. “How much air flow you have depends on how quick it dries,” he said.
Troyer explained that when using solvent, a single coat will be applied, and then that layer has to dry before another coat can be added. With the waterborne, once a coat is on the vehicle, the paint gun can be used to spray air over the material to speed up the drying process. Additionally, the preparation work and technique for the waterborne system are unlike the solvent system.
“For the panel prep, finer sandpaper is needed,” said Newsome. “And we’ve found that it’s better for color matching, so there’s less paint that has to be used.”
Troyer said having the opportunity to learn both the waterborne and solvent-borne systems is advantageous to his career.
“I feel it gives me a better experience,” he said. “I can go into shops and tell them I can use both types of paint.”
Newsome said, “This is what keeps our students relevant and employable in an ever-changing field.”