While seemingly a recent phenomenon, the shift to the use of waterborne paint is actually older than many think. In Europe, waterborne paint has been fairly common for at least a decade. Indeed, even here in Canada, the principle behind it has been around for a while. The collision repair industry acted as early as 1992 to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a substance found guilty of causing environmental damage, and the main cause of switching to waterborne paints.
However, it recently seems to be taking off in the US, as far as new things go. This is thanks to some new policies put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So let’s take a look at some of the ways the automotive industry is changing.
Much of the push to shift to waterborne paint is a result of pressure from environmental agencies. To wit, your typical solvent-based base coat consists mostly of solvent, up to 75%. This solvent is usually made up of VOCs, while the actual pigment is around 15%.
A waterborne base coat, on the other hand, contains as little as 10% solvent, and up to 75% water, with the remaining 15% or more being pigment, depending on the formulation. While there is still some toxicity, requiring the retention of safety gear, it’s not as toxic as older solvent-based paints.
It Will Require Some New Equipment and Training
While a shift to waterborne paints won’t break the bank for most shops, some investments will nonetheless have to be made. Firstly, one will have to get a new spray gun, made of stainless steel, to prevent rusting. Blowers are also a handy thing to have around, as drying waterborne paint quickly requires a good airflow.
And of course, we can’t leave out the training one has to put their personnel through in order to learn the proper use of the equipment. Though honestly, applying waterborne paint isn’t too different and just needs some common sense.
It Pushes New Advancements in Paint Technology
The need to adhere to the enforcement of laws requiring waterborne paint is forcing paint manufacturers to develop new ideas and improve on current ones. One such example is DuPont Refinish, which has developed a paint that, in addition to having a greatly reduced solvent content, has even more pigment in its formulation (up to 25% more, in fact). As a result, it requires far less coatings to be applied, and body shops can service more vehicles in less time, leading to better earnings. In fact, City Collision uses DuPont waterborne paint!
Did we mention that less coatings leads to a lighter paint job? Racers are very concerned about adding extra weight to their cars, and a paint job is no exception. With waterborne paints requiring less paint, and thus less weight, it is a clear winner for that particular niche.
So if you’re looking for a new paint job, and feel like having it done the environmentally friendly way, then come on down to City Collision. Our highly qualified staff will be sure to provide you with excellent service.
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