Automotive refinish market: paint plays a vital role in restoring a classic to its former glory or repairing the family SUV after an accident. But the repair industry faces major challenges ranging from increased competition to pricing pressures to new technology. Paint suppliers need to do more than just sell products.When a customer drops off his car at the local repair shop, he may not think about more than how much his insurance rates will rise and when the vehicle will be back on the road. But behind the scenes, there is a bevy bevy
a flock of birds. of activity at the auto shop. Employment woes, increased competition, insurance company pressure and environmental regulations are changing the business landscape. Refinish re·fin·ish
tr.v. re·fin·ished, re·fin·ish·ing, re·fin·ish·es
To put a new finish on (furniture).
re·fin specialists know that time is money, and despite these factors, the bottom line remains getting that car on the road again as soon as possible.
More than ever, paint suppliers are finding that they need to do more than sell and ship products to these customers. Paint manufacturers are actively playing a role in helping the repair industry find solutions to problems that go far beyond primers and topcoats.
"It's not just about selling paint anymore," said Darlene Eilenberger, manager, brand marketing, BASF BASF Bar Association of San Francisco (since 1872; San Francisco, California)
BASF Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik (German chemical products company)
BASF Builders Association of South Florida Automotive Refinish (North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. ). Some of the major issues the industry is dealing with are stiffer VOC (Vertical Online Community) See vertical portal. regulations, shop consolidation, reductions in volume, increased competition and pressures from insurance companies to reduce costs at the shop level.
That opinion was echoed by Joel C. Hart, vice president, automotive, at Valspar. "Market compression, consolidation, insurance changes and eroding margins are some of the problems facing the industry. More and more, a professionally run shop--whether it is a three-man shop or a mega collision center--has found it tougher to survive in today's refinish world."
Of the issues affecting shop owners, one of the biggest concerns is hiring qualified personnel. This is an issue owners are dealing with on a daily basis, and paint companies are doing what they can to improve the situation.
"There are difficulties in finding and keeping trained technicians," said Keith Smith For other persons named Keith Smith, see Keith Smith (disambiguation).
Keith Smith(1952-2006) was a former English rugby player; he excelled in playing centre. He first played with Yorkshire Colts rugby then advanced to Roundhay. , market services manager, DuPont Performance Coatings. "It used to be a market of craftsmen, but now, in addition to being a craftsman, you need working knowledge of computers, mathematical skills, etc." (See side bar on page 28).
In addition, shop owners need skills outside of application techniques to successfully run their business. Coatings companies are becoming mentors of sorts, helping smaller shops with different aspects of running their business, including marketing and advertising and front office operations. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. industry insiders, in many cases this has become necessary because smaller shops are often started by a great painter, someone who is more capable with a spray gun than accounting procedures. In fact, some firms are taking a "back-to-school" approach when it comes to training refinish personnel.
BASF offers VisionPLUS University, a professional business management seminar. The company has added new courses (available in the fourth quarter) focused on electronic communication, professional business writing and high-impact presentations in addition to traditional shop productivity, end-user satisfaction and environmental issue-related forums, according to Jay Johnston Jay Johnston (born 22 October 1968) is an American actor and comedian, best known for his work as a writer and performer on the 1990s HBO sketch comedy show Mr. Show. , manager of training with BASF Automotive Refinish (North America).
PPG PPG Points Per Game (basketball player statistic)
PPG Power Play Goals (hockey)
PPG Planning Policy Guidance (UK)
PPG Programmable Pulse Generator
PPG Power Puff Girls has formed a partnership with Penn College Penn College may refer to two universities in the United States:
MERR Memory Error ) standards, spray techniques, material and waste management, equipment cleaning, air quality regulations and record keeping. Training will be conducted at select PPG business development centers with PPG instructors in addition to Penn College's mobile training unit. Future plans include creating a curriculum using PPG training facilities and instructors that will allow students to obtain an associates degree from Penn College.
In addition to in-house training offered by paint suppliers, companies like BASF, PPG, Dupont, Martin Senour and Sherwin-Williams also team with industry associations including ICAR, ASA Asa (ā`sə), in the Bible, king of Judah, son and successor of Abijah. He was a good king, zealous in his extirpation of idols. When Baasha of Israel took Ramah (a few miles N of Jerusalem), Asa bought the help of Benhadad of Damascus and and UTI UTI urinary tract infection.
urinary tract infection
urinary tract infection.
UTI Urinary tract infection, see there to help train the industry.
Like every segment of the coatings market, stricter environmental issues continue to be a factor in product usage and development. In the refinish segment, VOCs and HAPs are major areas of contention both in North America and Europe.
"Increasing VOC regulations have been and will continue to be a major force acting on the industry," said Guy Bargnes, director of marketing, for BASF Automotive Refinish (North America). "The disparities in regional regulations contribute to the challenge of developing and distributing compliant products at competitive prices."
Brian Koevenig, lab manager, BASF Automotive Refinish (North America), added, "More areas will look to restrict or eliminate heavy metals heavy metals,
n.pl metallic compounds, such as aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, and nickel. Exposure to these metals has been linked to immune, kidney, and neurotic disorders. , especially chromium chromium (krō`mēəm) [Gr.,=color], metallic chemical element; symbol Cr; at. no. 24; at. wt. 51.996; m.p. about 1,857°C;; b.p. 2,672°C;; sp. gr. about 7.2 at 20°C;; valence +2, +3, +6. ."
In Europe, the move to greener products continues. "There is real push towards water-based technology in Europe," said Mr. Smith of Dupont. "We're preparing for the government-stated changeover date of 2007 by focusing on waterborne systems now."
Make It Quick
In addition to environmental issues, substrate changes and more sophisticated coatings technologies used at the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) The rebranding of equipment and selling it. The term initially referred to the company that made the products (the "original" manufacturer), but eventually became widely used to refer to the organization that buys the products and level are also shaping technology advancements in the refinish sector. "New substrates and raw materials will also help drive technology changes," said Mr. Hart of Valspar.
While waterborne paints and other low VOC technologies are needed in the marketplace, fast and consistent cycle times are key to many shop owners, especially in the U.S. market. Therefore, R&D development in the refinish market is centered on increasing productivity and speeding up the painting process so shop owners can get vehicles back on the road as quickly as possible.
"We want to help them eliminate bottlenecks and save time," said Mr. Smith.
"The most recent product launches by BASF have focused on reducing the cycle time that it takes to complete a paint job," said Mr. Koevenig. "We have launched a number of clearcoats that are designed to enable a painter to move the vehicle out of the spray booth more quickly, thus getting more vehicles painted, since the spray booth is one of the major bottlenecks in a body shop." Among some of the innovations in this area are BASF's Fast-Drying CTR See click-through rate. (Cycle Time Reduction systems), 10 Minute clearcoats and the Small Damage Repair System, which enables painters to make repairs to small scratches without clearcoating the entire panel, another time-saver. "All of the introductions are meant to help the painter complete more vehicles, thus improving productivity and increasing profits," said Mr. Koevenig.
Other new time-saving launches include Sherwin-Williams' ULTRA 7000 CC930 Speed-Plus Performance clearcoat, Martin Senour's 8660 air-dry hardener hardener,
n an ingredient (potassium alum) of the photographic and radiographic fixing solution that serves to harden the gelatin of the film to prevent softening and swelling of the gelatin. and 860 short-hardener and Dupont Performance Coatings' Ultra Productive primer and sealer sealer,
n a substance used to fill the space around silver or gutta-percha points in a pulp canal. Most contain some combination of zinc, barium, and bismuth salts and eugenol, Canadian balsam, and eucalyptol. . In addition, UV technology and alternative methods, such as roller applied primers and aerosols, are also quickening the pace. With PPG's UV-Speed Prime, a single spot repair can be prepared and ready for topcoat in less than six minutes.
Occasionally, speeding up the refinish process involves legwork leg·work
Work, such as collecting information or doing research in preparation for a project, that involves much walking or traveling about. before the paint is applied. DuPont's VINdicator works off a car's VIN VIN Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasm, see there number to determine the exact color of that model. The choices are narrowed according to plant statistics for the car on the day it rolled off the paint line at the manufacturing plant. By doing so, if a yellow was running on the dark side that day, the shop can quickly--and more accurately--select the color.
Matching the original color on a classic or vintage car vintage car
a car built between 1919 and 1930
vintage car n → coche m antiguo or de época
vintage car vintage n can also be a difficult process. BASF has tried to make the task easier with its new Antique Color Chip CD. The CD contains digital images of more than 5,700 color chips of models from 1936 to 1972, including brands such as DeSoto, Edsel, Nash, Rambler ram·bler
1. One that rambles: tourists and Sunday ramblers on the village streets; a conversational rambler.
2. A type of climbing rose having numerous red, pink, or white flowers. , Pierce Arrow and Studebaker, as well as Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Cadillac, Oldsmobile and others.
"We know how important authenticity is when you're restoring or repairing a classic car," said Paul Marshall, color lab technical manager, BASF Automotive Refinish. Most formulas are available in Glasurit, R-M and Limco 1-2-3-4 lines, and can be found using the company's SmartColor or SmartTrak electronic formula retrial retrial n. a new trial granted upon the motion of the losing party, based on obvious error, bias or newly-discovered evidence. (See: newly-discovered evidence) systems.
Down the Road
Even with advancements in technologies, the health of the automotive refinish market is tied directly to the number of vehicles there are to repair. Industry insiders note that conditions vary in this estimated $5-6 billion market, depending on different regions of world.
In the U.S., the market has been hampered by a drop in the number of units to repair, safety advances such ABS brakes and third brake lights (resulting in fewer accidents), improved OEM coatings that last longer, and of course, improved refinish formulations such as higher solids that provide better coverage.
"The refinish volume continues to drop about two to three percent per year," said Ms. Eilenberger.
Mr. Hart of Valspar also noted softened demand. "Market conditions have been soft for the past two years and continue to shrink in volume due to product efficiency and repair techniques," he said.
Still, some observers contend 2002 will be better. "Sales were below expectations in 2001, however sales have rebounded strongly in 2002," said Mr. Smith of Dupont.
While improved refinish coating technologies in the U.S. and Europe spell mostly flat market conditions ahead, undeveloped areas such as Asia and India--where less sophisticated painting technologies and techniques are used--offer opportunities for higher volumes.
To this end, most major manufacturers have signed accords to expand their operations into these areas, placing themselves at the ready for growth. Among the latest moves are BASF's acquisition of the automotive refinish business of Wattyl (it had been in a JV with the company since 1999), and its distribution accord inked with P.T. Catur Warnaindah Sentosa. Through the latter deal, BASF will sell its R-M brand refinish paint in Indonesia.
Akzo Nobel Akzo Nobel is a multinational company, active in the fields of healthcare products, coatings and chemicals. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 62,000 people. signed deals to strengthen its refinish operations both on the R&D and distribution sides of the business. The company opened a new research center in Bangalore, India for refinish paint and also acquired Jouanne S.A., a French paint distributor.
Regardless of where the collision repair business is--Boston or Bangalore--or if its a "mom 'n pop" shop or major refinish chain, coatings suppliers remain focused on the bottom line: keeping them in business.
"The market is diverse and changing," said Mr. Hart of Valspar. "However, we believe that all shops have the potential to be successful and profitable."
LOG ON, LEARN MORE @ COATINGSWORLD.COM (1) (Computer Output Microfilm) Creating microfilm or microfiche from the computer. A COM machine receives print-image output from the computer either online or via tape or disk and creates a film image of each page.
For more information on changing dynamics at the collision repair shop level and its affect on the refinish business, see the online version of this story at www.coatingsworld.com.
RELATED ARTICLE: Autobody shop owners face new issues in quest to stay afloat.
Hazardous waste Hazardous waste
Any solid, liquid, or gaseous waste materials that, if improperly managed or disposed of, may pose substantial hazards to human health and the environment. Every industrial country in the world has had problems with managing hazardous wastes. , qualified employees affect future of business
Facilitated by the stricter environmental laws of recent years, one of the most troubling issues in the autobody industry today is properly dealing with hazardous waste. According to Dan Risley, executive director of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS SCRS Le Service Canadien du Renseignement de Sécurité (Canadian Security Intelligence Service)
SCRS Society of Collision Repair Specialists
SCRS South Carolina Retirement Systems
SCRS Southern California Recorder Society ), paint is one of the largest contributors to hazardous waste in body shops. "The problems vary from leaving paint containers open to improper disposal of unused paint (hazardous waste)," he said.
During the automobile refinishing process, a significant portion of paint is lost due to overspray Overspray refers to the application of any form of paint, varnish, stain or other non-water soluble airborne particulate material onto an unintended location. This concept is most commonly encountered in graffiti, auto detailing, and when commercial paint jobs drift onto unintended and large amounts of solvents escape into the atmosphere. Reducing this "paint-sludge' and other volatile organic compounds volatile organic compound Environment Any toxic cabon-based (organic) substance that easily become vapors or gases–eg, solvents–paint thinners, lacquer thinner, degreasers, dry cleaning fluids (VOCs) that result from automotive painting operations has become a serious issue for body shops. Not only is paint waste harmful to the atmosphere, but it also poses a health risk for employees. Collision repair workers are subject to exposure to isocyanates, which can result in a condition known as isocyanate i·so·cy·a·nate
Any of a family of nitrogenous chemicals that are used in industry and can cause respiratory disorders, especially asthma, if inhaled. asthma.
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) is currently supporting a study conducted by the Yale University Yale University, at New Haven, Conn.; coeducational. Chartered as a collegiate school for men in 1701 largely as a result of the efforts of James Pierpont, it opened at Killingworth (now Clinton) in 1702, moved (1707) to Saybrook (now Old Saybrook), and in 1716 was School of Medicine on isocyanate exposure in body shops. "The study has found that individuals in closest proximity to spraying experience the greatest exposure to isocyanates. Painters, for instance, have higher exposure levels than do office personnel. Skin contamination by task shows increased exposure when clear coating, priming, sanding (both wet and dry) and sealing," said Ken Roberts, vice president, communications, ASA.
The trouble for most body shops is finding an answer to these environmental problems. Possible preventative measures and solutions include the training of collision repair employees in regards to safety and chemical disposal, awareness of current laws/regulations on waste and the identification of reputable waste disposal vendors.
There is another issue the industry is facing. Like any other business, the need for reliable, trained employees is a must for success. The autobody industry, however, faces a shortage of quality employees.
"The entrance of quality technicians into the marketplace is going to continue to be a problem. A vast majority of the industry is already faced with this and it's going to take the efforts of the industry to correct it," said Mr. Risley.
In fact, when asked what the most important issue in his autobody shop was, owner Bill Calamaso of the Pine Brook, NJ Maaco shop, responded, "Finding and keeping quality help."
The answer to these employment woes, according to Mr. Risley and others, is quite simply education. "Technically, with the growing complexity and diversity of automobiles, repair professionals should participate in annual continuing education continuing education: see adult education.
or adult education
Any form of learning provided for adults. In the U.S. the University of Wisconsin was the first academic institution to offer such programs (1904). ," said Mr. Roberts.
With the help of organizations such as ASA and SCRS, the autobody industry hopes to increase the number of certified employees. Each year ASA, its statewide affiliates and its local chapters sponsor hundreds of educational seminars that cover both managerial and technical subjects. ASA also offers events, such as the International Autobody Congress and Exposition, in hopes of spawning educational activity among its members.
In addition, all the major paint companies--including Dupont, PPG, Sherwin Williams, BASF and Akzo Nobel Resins--offer training geared toward their specific products. Training sessions often consist of knowing the right product for the job, the conditions it can be used in, drying times and recoat times. A large majority of the technicians in today's autobody industry have had some sort of training in the automotive paint process.
So what does the future hold for the autobody industry? The answer to that question appears to be one of mixed reviews. Currently, with the increasing cost of paint and materials, some shops are barely breaking even. To make matters worse, there is a concern in the industry that the number of repairable vehicles is decreasing due to increasing repair costs and the increasing number of vehicles considered totaled. However, if many shops invest in the proper equipment, increase the number of qualified employees, and operate environmentally friendly Environmentally friendly, also referred to as nature friendly, is a term used to refer to goods and services considered to inflict minimal harm on the environment. shops, there could be a bright light at the end of the tunnel for the collision repair industry.
"There is a tremendous future for collision repair professionals," said Mr. Roberts. "Those who take advantage of the training opportunities available to them today will be best positioned to reap the fruits of tomorrow."