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Thursday, 16 February 2017 18:04

Attendees Learn Pro Painting Tips at Axalta's CA Roundtable

Written by Victoria Antonelli

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Axalta's head trainer at their Pomona location, Mike Fowler, instructs an attendee who is painting a panel using Candy CFX.


On January 30, Autobody News participated in Axalta's Wet on Wet Roundtable at the company's training center in Pomona, CA.

Attendees had the opportunity to paint a car panel using two different Axalta Coating Systems products.


"It's fairly rare that we have open time at this training center, so when we do, we try to steal it to do fun activities like this," said Axalta Brand Manager Harry Christman.


Christman led the event with some background information on the company followed by an explanation of the paints that would be used during the hands-on demonstration.


"Unlike our competitors, Axalta is a stand alone paint company," he said. "Since paint is our sole focus, all the money we make and research and development we do gets invested back into coatings and paints that help the industry."


Christman explained that speed and simplicity are the two main focal points of Axalta products.


"If you're in the collision business, you need to go fast," he said. "Insurance companies don't want you taking your time with these cars, so anything we can do with our paint to help auto body shops expedite the repair process, it's on us to do that."


A simplified paint application process shrinks the error margin, helping shops save money and time during the repair process, which is what Axalta strives to achieve for its buyers.


For the Wet on Wet Roundtable, half of the attendees used Axalta's Spies Hecker Permahyd Hi-Tec waterborne paint. Christman explained that the Permahyd Hi-TEC is a 1 ½ coat Wet on Wet Technology product. Approximately ninety-eight percent of Hi-Tec colors require only 1 ½ coats, while the rest require two coats. When using Wet on Wet Technology, the painter does not have to wait for the paint to dry in between the two coats. After spraying the first coat, the painter can immediately spray the half mist coat and then exit the booth to let the basecoat dry.


"The way this paint dries is pretty unique, because when you spray it on, it will initially look lumpy like an orange peel; not the way you’d want you car to look," he continued. "But that’s because at that point, the film you just sprayed is about 80 percent water, and that water has to evaporate out, and when it does, the film sucks down onto the substrate and dries really flat and smooth."


"For waterborne paints, if it happens to be a very humid day, the water won’t evaporate as fast," explained Christman. "Air movement is key, so if you can get air moving across the surface of your vehicle with hand-held or booth mounted blowers, then you'll be able to pick up moisture in order for it to dry efficiently."


The other half of the attendees sprayed Candy CFX, which is a candy base coat used for custom paint jobs.


"Candy paints are bright and vibrant; it almost looks like you can put your hand down into the deeply saturated colors," said Chistman.


Normally, candy paint jobs require anywhere from eight to 14 coats applied as a ground coat and separate mid coat, but Axalta's product only requires two to three coats applied as a single base coat. Both processes then require a final clear coat finish.


"The dye that's in the base coat migrates up and out into the clear to create that depth of color that you would get in a normal tri stage candy process," he explained. "You won’t be able to tell the difference between the candy you'll spray and the candy that takes much longer and requires much more skill."


Christman added that local custom shops lay down the majority of their color with the Candy CFX, and then use a regular candy process for special effects such as highlighting, blends, and fades.


The Pomona location's head trainer, Mike Fowler, then went over safety precautions and explained what gear was required and how to put it on.


"Whether it's Axalta or any of our competitors, there's nothing in a can of paint that's good for you, so whenever you’re using automotive paint, you need to protect yourself," Christman concluded.


Fowler led the hands-on demonstration inside the paint booth alongside BMI Racing team member Sarah Burgess. Each attendee was shown how to hold a paint gun and paint a panel correctly (based on their paint of choice). Attendees then got to bring home their finished product.


The session concluded with a one hour catered lunch.


Axalta Coating Systems headquarters are located in Wilmington, DE. For more information, visit

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