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2008 News

Conversions to waterborne paint gaining momentum across California and Canada

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – May 1, 2008 – According to PPG, more and more collision shops are making the transition to waterborne basecoat from solvent-based systems in anticipation of new air quality regulations in California and Canada. The move, intended to reduce VOC atmospheric emissions and improve air quality, has so far resulted in more than 700 collision shops making the transition to PPG’s Envirobase® High Performance and Aquabase® Plus waterborne basecoats.

While some shop owners were wary making a change in technology at first, the conversions have made “converts” of owners and paint technicians alike. “We weren’t sure about the change, but once we did it, we were glad we did,” says Richie Kizirian, president/owner of Jim & Jack’s Collision, El Segundo, California. “Waterborne is easy to use, quality is excellent and color-matching is simple and accurate. My painters would never go back to the old way.”

“Everybody can spray this paint…it’s easier, much easier,” says Ignacio Rosales, paint technician for Precision Auto Body in Reseda, California.

To help assure shops make the conversion smoothly, PPG initiated a waterborne conversion program more than a year ago in California, known as “Convert with Confidence.” The program provides shop owners, managers and technicians with training, advice and support before, during and after the conversion. A similar program is underway in Canada.

“Transitions are going very smooth,” says Jim Downey, PPG senior regional manager. “We convert an average of fifteen to twenty shops every week. The program employs a methodical implementation plan for managers, then painters coming to class at our training centers. While they’re in class, we install the new equipment at the shop. When they return, everything’s ready to go with a PPG training team there to help.”

In what may be a surprise to some, many California shops that have recently converted to waterborne are located in regions still not under any regulation mandate to use waterborne technology. “We want to be ahead of the game, because eventually we’ll be forced to do it,” says Lisando Allende, co-owner of Uptown Body & Fender, Oakland, California. “If we do it sooner, we’ll have more experience when the time comes to comply with the VOC regulations.”

In Canada, Debbie Nucciarone, PPG product manager, reports similar success. “Many shop owners were eager to make the conversion early. They knew regulations would make the change inevitable and they wanted to adapt quickly knowing we would provide them with the training and support they needed.”

Canadian shop owners who have made the change have been pleased with the results. “Everyone was nervous about the shift to water-based paint, but the move has been positive in every respect. Our staff prefers it. It’s a better product to use and it’s cleaner and less hazardous,” says Richard Marsh, Emeryville Collision, Tecumseh, Ontario. Elvis Cervone, Enviro Car Paint & Collision Services, Aurora, Ontario echoes the thought, “Nexa Autocolor® Aquabase® Plus gives us a smoother finish than our previous paint. We don’t miss solvent basecoat at all. Plus, it’s easy to clean up.”

In California, VOC regulations are taking effect in stages with the densely-populated southern part of the state, known as the South Coast California Air Quality District. The rules there will go into effect July 1, 2008. In Canada, the regulations will take effect nationwide on January 1, 2010.

PPG is encouraging shop owners in both regions to take advantage of the “Convert with Confidence” program as soon as possible to ensure they will be “shop ready” when regulatory deadlines take effect.

about ppg

Pittsburgh-based PPG is a global supplier of paints, coatings, chemicals, optical products, specialty materials, glass and fiber glass. The company has more than 150 manufacturing facilities and equity affiliates and operates in more than 60 countries. PPG’s sales in 2007 were $11.2 billion. SigmaKalon, a worldwide coatings producer based in Uithoorn, Netherlands, that PPG acquired Jan. 2, 2008, had 2007 sales of $2.9 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com.

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