TABLE OF CONTENTS Aug 2005 - 0 comments

Quick cure, quick cash

Using UV-cured materials to speed the refinish process can improve cycle time, but also provides an opportunity to sell consumers quick-turnaround repair of minor damage.

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2005-08-01

Since their introduction a few years ago, the selection of UV-cured products has expanded significantly. Various UV primers and UV clearcoats are available.

Using UV-cured products for spot repairs speeds up the process by eliminating some of the dead time required for drying or baking between coats. Most of the UV cure materials cure in minutes without using the paint booth. The materials are generally applied as an aerosol, so they don't require mixing or a spray gun, but they do require an investment in UVA lamps.

DONE IN 30 SECONDS

This fall, DuPont Performance Coatings will be introducing an aerosol product to Canada formulated for ultra-fast spot repairs. DuPont A-3130S UVA Primer-Surfacer can be applied directly to metal, and cures in 30 seconds under a low intensity UV lamp. It dries with a smooth surface that can be sanded immediately after cooling.

The ultra-fast and full cure means there's no uncured primer to wipe and no wasted material.

A complete line of UV-cure products, including filler, primer and clearcoat, is now available from Transtar Autobody Technologies. Developed using European technology by ICR SpA of Italy, Ultra V is the first complete UV paint system available in North America.

"Because of the dramatic improvement in cure time, the Ultra V product line offers a breakthrough opportunity for bodyshops to increase productivity and profits," says Charles Fuqua, president and COO of Transtar.

Ultra V clearcoat is a high solids, one-component acrylic clearcoat that polymerizes in minutes when exposed to UV light. Developed for spot repairs, it creates a deep, high-gloss, virtually undetectable repair in a short time. The Ultra V clearcoat is completely dry, durable and ready to be polished after only two or three minutes of exposure to UV lamps.

Ultra V clear is easy to apply, has good adhesion to different surfaces and has exceptional resistance to scratches and stone chips.

Ultra V primer is a one-component UV hardening primer suitable for spot repairs with exceptional build capabilities.

Ultra V polyester body filler is a one component filler, with excellent adhesion to most surfaces and a short dry time in all weather conditions.

Nexa Autocolor combines its UV-SpeedPrime product with its 2K basecoat for a quick and efficient repair process. Using this minor repair process, repairers can complete high quality repairs at a reasonable cost, and have the work completed within a day.

UV-SpeedPrime cures in two minutes using an approved low-energy UV lamp. It is an aerosol, high-build primer with an optically active agent that fluoresces in the presence of UV light. A glow indicates the material has been exposed to UV light.

UV21 SolarSpeed UV-curable primer surfacer from Montana Products produces a tough, solvent-resistant film that is superior to many of the traditional acrylic polyurethane primers. With unlimited pot life, it requires less clean up and produces less waste.

The primer cures in two minutes with a UV lamp, and can be sanded immediately.

TURNING QUICK CURE INTO QUICK MONEY

The minor repair process championed by Nexa Autocolor is really a business development opportunity backed by a quick-cure UV primer. In order to attract minor repair work to your shop, the company suggests marketing and selling the service directly to the vehicle owner. To do so, Nexa suggests a simple menu price for the job; warrantable product performance; and guaranteed same-day delivery.

Using UV-SpeedPrime, Nexa states that jobs requiring a high-build primer can be completed in less than half the time compared with conventional products.

Nexa offers a Minor Repair pack containing marketing materials, and comprehensive training in the Minor Repair process.

ALL IS NOT ROSY

UV-cured coatings are still hindered by the footprint of the UV lamp needed to cure the material. Quality of the cure can be affected by the placement of lamps and length of time the repair is exposed. As well, some safety precautions must be taken when dealing with the lamps and UV light.

However, the UV-cure process holds promise for speeding up spot repairs, and has the benefit of reducing solvent levels in coatings, and thus reducing VOC emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently presented BASF Corp. with a Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for its acrylate-based UV undercoats. The company's UV primer contains only 1.7 lb./gal. of VOC, compared with 3.5 to 4.8 lb./gal. in conventional primers. BASF is currently offering its UV primers in its R-M line as Flash Fill VP126 and in its Glasurit line as 151-70.

UV NOT THE ONLY QUICK ANSWER

In the Glasurit line, BASF has introduced a fast-drying clear, 923-255 HS Multi Clear, geared to speed up the one- to three-panel repair jobs that make up the majority of work in a typical collision shop. The new clearcoat is easy to spray and has excellent resistance to weathering. In addition, it is said to be one of the easiest clears to buff.

HS Multi-Clear is capable of one-coat application. As well as spot and panel work, it is suitable for overall jobs performed in either ambient temperature conditions or baked. It is resistant to yellowing, and uses three hardeners -- 929-91 Fast, 929-93 Normal and 929-94 Slow -- to meet a variety of spray conditions.

BASF also offers a faster drying clear that doesn't sacrifice quality in the Limco product line. Limco LC4500 is a National Rule-compliant clearcoat that will dry in 10 to 15 minutes, suitable for two- to three- panel application.

LC4500 is an acrylic urethane, two-coat material, designed for use with Limco 4 and Limco Supreme basecoats. It is easy to apply, and provides good gloss and levelling.

Akzo Nobel's new Sikkens clearcoat, Autoclear Vision HS, is being well received by collision shops. It is said to bake twice as fast as most existing rapid systems, and can reduce material costs because of its one-and-a-half coat application and ability to be rejuvenated. This means unused mixed material can be mixed with fresh material the next day.

As well, the application technique and high solids properties mean that Autoclear Vision HS uses, on average, one-third less material than other conventional clearcoats.

ADDED COST RECOVERED IN OTHER WAYS

Schoonover Body Works (Shoreview, MN) began using the Sikkens Autoclear Vision HS product last fall. Mike Schoonover, president and CEO, wanted to use only one clear product but he was skeptical about the cost of using a rapid cure product all the time. After doing some calculations on productivity, Schoonover has found the switch to Autoclear Vision HS improved his materials gross margin.

"With Vision, the painters are not wasting as much paint," he explains. If they over-mix, the leftover is not thrown out, which also reduces hazardous waste disposal costs. An added benefit that Schoonover expects is lower energy costs due to less spraying time and reduced baking times.

Schoonover has noticed that the overall speed of repair has improved greatly, and that more cars are now being moved through the shop ahead of schedule.

"Bottom line... the most important factor for us is the speed issue," says Schoonover. "I strongly believe this product will allow us to increase our CSI, thus increasing our sales, simply due to the fact that we are going to be more productive, move more cars through the shop faster, and improve our finished product."

UV LAMPS: THE BASICS

Understanding the role of UV lamps in the curing process is essential before making a decision to pursue UV curing. Daniel L. Maloney, Jr., explains that UVA is the only band of UV light considered appropriate for automotive repair applications. UVB and UVC are considered too intense for refinish applications; they are generally used in high-volume applications such as graphic arts and wood finishing.

Maloney is eastern regional sales manager for H&S Autoshot, a supplier of UV lamps. He estimates that the current cost of a quality UVA curing lamp for refinish is US$1,700 or more.

When choosing a lamp, look for certification from industry bodies, says Maloney. UL has a relevant standard designated UL2422. Also, consider the cost of replacement components such as bulbs and filter glass.

Maloney explains that the two most important features of lamps are often the "footprint", or coverage area, and its consistency of cure. These are related to the lamp design, energy output and reflector design. In the bodyshop environment, a detachable lamp head for hand-help operation and an easy-to-use portable stand are desirable.

UV curing and infrared curing are not interchangeable. UV lamps do produce a small amount of infrared radiation, but it is not sufficient to produce heat to effectively bake conventional paints.

REFINISH PRODUCTS AND EQUIPMENT

* New to Canada is DuPont's Plas-Stick 2310S plastic cleaning paste, a sophisticated plastic preparation paste that increases shop productivity and cycle time by simplifying the plastic repair process. By shortening the tempering process/bake time to just 15 minutes at 140° F regardless of plastic type, this product enables a shop to repair plastic effectively and successfully while reducing total bottom line cost.

* For easy refinishing of new, unprimed OEM replacement bumpers, Urethane Supply Co. offers Bumper and Cladding Coat Adhesion Primer. This advanced solvent-based coating is designed to help automotive base-clear topcoat system stick to unprimed TPO plastic bumpers. The adhesion primer sticks to unsanded, unscuffed raw TPO plastic. Once the primer is dry, it can be topcoated without sanding or scuffing.

* 3M Paint Preparation System spray guns incorporate a low pressure atomizing system which reduces overspray and lays down a silky smooth, more consistent finish with ease. Painters will have more control over metallic layout, distribution, orientation and color-match when blending or spraying complete panels.

A more consistent finish means less texture, reducing the chance of runs, sags, orange peel, solvent pop, and picture framing.

The comfort grip handle and new cup position improve balance and feel, while the detachable fluid housing makes cleaning fast and easy. Universal fluid tips, needles and nozzles work on the compliant, HVLP and air spray models.

ISOCYANATES -- ONTARIO FACES A NEW ENVIRONMENTAL REALITY

By John Norris

Despite concerns raised by the coatings industry and organizations representing the interests of bodyshops, the Ontario government is poised to implement new limits on isocyanate emissions which would be much more restrictive than the current standard.

Applications of isocyantes in the auto refinishing field range from use as hardeners to a catalyst component of paints.

Health and safety concerns with isocyanates are well known and most provinces have strict rules relating to absorption or inhalation of isocyanates. Now the environmental impact of isocyanates is under review.

The Ontario Ministry of Environment has identified a concern with emissions to the atmosphere of hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) monomer and HDI polyisocyanate emissions. These chemicals are found in paints used in automotive spray booths.

All spray painting facilities in Ontario need to possess and follow a Certificate of Approval that is based on the level of emissions from the facility. The proposed regulations would make the measurement standards of these emissions much more strict. Using current data submitted by shops, some 40% to 100% of all shops would be non-compliant and in risk of enforcement activity under the new regulations.

The industry asked to be involved in a cost/benefit and risk assessment review that would include economic feasibility issues before the Ministry set the standards for the industry. That has not happened.

A working group of trade associations, OEMs and coatings firms had been meeting for some time (Isocyanates Air Emissions Study -- Stakeholder Co-Ordinating Committee) to review a methodology to identify the level of those emissions from spray booths. Testing was done by Bayer, and conducted at BASF, DuPont and Ventra facilities. There has only been a small amount of technical information with respect to isocyanate air emissions and this makes it difficult to determine appropriate estimates of emission rates and impact.

NEW EMISSION STANDARDS TO TAKE EFFECT 2010

In June 2004 the Ontario Ministry of Environment announced its intention to issue regulations regarding the emissions of some isocyanates. Then, on April 21, 2005 at York University, the Ministry met with engineers and consultants and advised that new standards for isocyanate emission testing would be in effect in February 2010, and would be based on an "upper risk threshold" that was significantly more restrictive than the current standards.

On May 12, 2005, coatings firms in Canada received an information letter from one of the associations, advising them of this major change. The same month, the proposed restrictive limits were published by the Ministry in an Environmental Bill of Rights posting. This EBR number was RA05E0008.

Significant comments and concerns were raised by coatings firms and associations, including concerns over testing information, the use of the new limits, toxicity issues, consistency with other jurisdictions, particularly the United States, and economic impact fears.

The impact the proposed regulations would have on shops is not known, nor is it clear whether there is a cost-effective control technology that would bring spray booths into compliance.

The following groups have submitted comments to the Ministry regarding the new isocyanate standards: Automotive Industries Association (AIA); Canadian Paint and Coatings Association (CPCA); Collision Industry Action Group (CIAG); Hamilton District Autobody Repair Association (HARA).

John Norris is executive director of www.ciia.com and co-chair Ontario Compliance Assistance Project Management Committee for Auto Refinishing at www.autobodyhelp.ca.

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