Saturday, April 17, 2010

Waterborne Automotive Paint

I have only a glimpse at the moment, but it's looking like the future of paint is in waterborne paint. PPG seems to be on the American forefront in this evolution towards a cleaner paint system for automotives. Though not the first company to come out with a system of paint that is waterborne (waterborne = small amount of solvent, waterbase = pure waterbase like acrylic), they seem to be the first to really follow through with the use in collision repair. Their dedication to waterborne paint doesn't stop with collision repair because they are extending their expertise into custom paint.
Nothing new, waterborne paints have been scoffed at for years in custom paint circles as being: too hard to spray, too expensive, not lightfast, etc. PPG seems ready to change that. Some of the benefits of working with water: Their paint comes ready to mix without the need of a mixing machine. They have been working with gun manufacturers to create the best equipment to handle working with water. Super fast dry times that can dry even faster with simple forced air, rather than the need for UV lights or bake booths. Working with water means no harmful solvents or dangerous chemicals (since they also have waterborne clearcoats, primers, and sealers). Lower VOC means less regulations to worry about when starting your own shop.
Lowrider magazine recently featured PPG in one of their latest issues showcasing what their candy paint's are capable of. The custom paint forums are all a buzz over the eventual change.
Custom airbrush artists have been using waterborne and waterbased paint for quite some time. It's low VOC's work well with many set ups and don't require any special equipment. Auto Air has set the standard in how waterbased paint should be handled but still struggles to gain proper respect in the automotive paint circles. It's seen as an amateur paint system, something for beginners or the less than serious airbrush artist. Createx heard this and came out with their Wicked line of airbrush paint called Wicked.
With PPG and other companies perfecting this same method of delivering paint, it is only a matter of time before waterborne is going to take over the industry. Stricter guidelines, more environmentally conscious customers, and higher demand in custom paint leads this airbrush artist to believe that it would be a good idea to get on board now. Stay tuned for more information about waterborne paints.

Today's Video of the Post brought to you from these guys: Charley Hutton and PPG


  1. We use waterborne automotive paints all the time in our operations in order to reduce/control VOC emissions.

    The problem is consistency for long product runs.


  2. I've tried to put PPG waterborne through an airbrush, and it sucked - to put it mildly. I suppose if most of your work is frisket based, paint quality doesn't matter as much, but my work is nearly 100% freehand and waterborne lacks the intensity of pigment required, especially for small projects like goal masks.