On March 21, Barbara Davies, Autobody News Co-Owner and General Manager, attended Axalta’s Media Day on behalf of Autobody News at Axalta’s customer experience center in Concord, NC.
This was my third year attending the event, the focus of which was “Speed & Accuracy Without Sacrifice.”
Dan Benton, Axalta’s color match manager, started the day by providing an overview of Axalta’s Color Match and Color Theory history.
Benton explained that Axalta has a rich 153-year history of innovation:
• In the 1920s, Axalta developed the first sprayable paint used at a production plant. This reduced paint time from days to hours.
• In 1990, Axalta developed the “Vindicator,” the first digital tool used to select a color formula based on where the vehicle was manufactured. It’s basically the car’s “fingerprint” and identifies where and when a car was made.
• In 2017, Axalta launched its latest innovation, the Acquire™ Quantum EFX spectrophotometer, with Wi-Fi connectivity. This tool allows painters to key in the VIN to generate the exact color formula specific to that vehicle.
Benton then went on to explain the art and science of color-matching. I had never really thought about all the color variations available to painters. All the new colors that we see with their micro-flakes that reflect light so beautifully in different lighting conditions also make it very difficult to determine the exact color match needed to repair a vehicle.
Why Is Color-Matching So Important?
Painters need a precise color formula so they can match the paint color the first time and mix the smallest amount of paint necessary to repair the vehicle. They don’t get paid to remix or paint more of the vehicle than what was damaged. The faster they can get it through the shop, the better for the customer and the shop.
Why Is Color-Matching So Difficult?
What surprised me most was the fact that even though an OEM plant may use the same color mix for a new car line in two different parts of the country, the actual paint color could vary based on the temperature and humidity of each plant.