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Monday, 06 June 2016 18:42

Shop Showcase: Canadian Shop Has Found a Winner in Axalta's Low-VOC Solventborne Refinish System


Axalta Graham Canadian Shop Has Found a Winner in Axalta's Low-VOC Solventborne Refinish System

Painter Cory Wilson sprays Axalta's Cromax Mosaic 3.5 VOC solvent borne refinish system at Tony Graham Collision Centre in Ottawa, Canada.


As one of Ottawa’s highest-volume collision repair facilities, the Tony Graham Collision Centre works on all makes and models including Lexus, Toyota, Scion, Infiniti, Nissan, Honda, Acura, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Mazda, Ford and GM. Fixing 150-200 cars every month in support of three different car dealerships means that they need a paint that will both do the job and be planet-friendly. That’s why the Tony Graham Collision Centre uses Cromax® Mosaic™, Axalta’s 3.5 VOC solventborne refinish system.

It’s a perfect marriage for Tony Graham and Axalta’s Cromax Mosaic refinish system because it complies with Canada’s regulatory requirements while acting just like the solventborne systems they’ve used for many years. Plus, they didn’t have to invest in expensive new equipment or extensive training to adopt the Cromax Mosaic refinish system when they started using it late last year.


By utilizing an assembly-line, lean-technology production system, every car is kept in a controlled climate as soon as it enters his facility. “The car comes into our drive-thru area and goes through its prewash, followed by all of the body work and priming the vehicle in one of our three paint booths,” said Andy Ferguson, Tony Graham Collision Centre Body Shop Manager “Then, the car goes into our second booth and gets painted. Once the paint is cured, we take it out for final assembly and get it ready for the customer. What we do here is almost identical to Toyota’s production process, which is lean throughout.”


 Tony Graham Collision Center

Location: Ottawa, Ontario


Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 22
In Business Since: 1978
Number of Locations: One

DRP Programs: 12

Combined Production Space: 21,000 square feet


Ferguson, 48, started working at the Tony Graham Collision Centre 28 years ago as a parts driver. He was a counter guy and an estimator for the company prior to getting promoted to management in 1999.


“Waterborne paint has been used here in Canada for 18 years and we actually started using it when it initially came out,” Ferguson explained. “The actual regulation does not mandate strictly waterborne, but rather it requires a VOC compliancy. Most shops decided to go with waterborne after the regulation went into effect, because that was the only way to get those VOC levels down. More and more companies are coming out now with these low-VOC paints and that’s why we looked at a few before selecting Axalta’s Cromax Mosaic refinish system.”


Axalta Graham 2

Repairing 150-200 vehicles monthly, Tony Graham Collision Centre needs a paint like Axalta's Cromax Mosiac that can perform at a high level all the time.


Why switch from a waterborne product to a low-VOC alternative, we asked Ferguson? “In the summertime here in Ottawa, it gets hot and the humidity is high, so some waterborne paints do not dry quickly enough. We had a series of ups and downs with the waterborne, so switching over to the Axalta’s low-VOC product was a logical move,” said Ferguson. “The Cromax Mosaic refinish system is so forgiving that even on a very hot day, it dries more quickly than the competitor’s waterborne that I used in the past and we’re actually able to get the job done with fewer coats, which is outstanding.”


Converting to the Cromax Mosiac refinish system in October 2015 was both fast and drama-free, according to Tim Kielburger, Tony Graham Collision Centre Body Shop Supervisor. “The four people in our paint crew were comfortable using it almost overnight,” Kielburger explained. “We just plugged it into our production process and we were up and running. There were no worries – we didn’t need to increase the airflow, which meant we didn’t have to purchase any new fans or change our paint booth in any way.”


Axalta Graham 3

Collision Centre Manager Andy Ferguson (left) and Body Shop Floor Supervisor Tim Kielburger.


“The Cromax Mosaic refinish system from Axalta gives Kielburger and his paint crew incredibly accurate color matches time after time,” he said. “We use their hand-held, digital color-measuring device to get precise color matches rapidly, dependably and proficiently. We get a wide choice of solid, metallic, pearl and special effect colors for spot, panel and overall repairs by using this product and its color-matching system. It’s phenomenal and better than anything else we’ve ever used. As a result, we don’t get comebacks or have to repaint vehicles. This technology makes all of our lives a lot easier, because we’re not guessing and we’re hitting these colors every time.”


The Tony Graham Collision Centre also takes advantage of Axalta’s UV primer-surfacer developed to eliminate process steps for ultra-fast repairs. It can be applied directly to metal with a very smooth surface and it dries quickly under high-intensity UV lamps. The entire coating is fully cured on exposure and it can be sanded immediately upon cooling.


By using a low-VOC form of paint, Ferguson knows that he is providing a healthy working environment for his employees, which he greatly values. “We really emphasize safety here and take it seriously, so we are always stressing to our painters that they must wear the proper equipment, such as air masks at all times,” said Ferguson. “We have a five-member safety committee here and we meet every quarter to discuss how we can be more green and a safer company overall.”

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