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Tag Archives: Devilbiss

Fake news, fake watches, fake guns (spray guns)

I would like to share with you some thoughts about one encounter I had recently with one painter in Greece. While we were talking about usual stuff in his paint mixing room, I spotted a new box of Devilbiss GTI Pro Lite Spray gun. I am selling this well-known brand for more than 15 years, and I am always happy to see painters using this excellent piece of engineering. “Good choice”, I said. “Yes, and very cheap too, only 130£ on Ebay”, he replied. “That is unusually cheap, indeed”, I thought, while taking the box in my hands. I asked if I could open it, and took the gun in my hands. From that very moment I realized that it’s not a genuine spray gun, it just didn’t sit well in my hand. “It is Devilbiss from China”, the painter replied seeing my obvious confusion and with a slight sign of guilt in his eyes.

I don’t want to bore you with the entire discussion I had with this painter. He knew it was fake, but, for some reason, just because it had the brand on it, he thought he got a good deal. The truth is, he was ripped off. The painter paid 130£ for a below average Chinese gun, which normally should be around 25£ max. Yes, it still sprays the paint, but it isn’t even close to a genuine Devilbiss product.

To be honest, I hate fake things. Whether it is feelings, news, a gadget or a watch. Well, for me, especially watches, since I love these small pieces of mechanical engineering in our digital world. If you want to buy a Swiss watch regardless of a price tag, you probably value the craftsmanship and work and time spent on making it. Nobody needs to buy a watch now just to see what time is it. You exchange your hard-earned money on something of a profound value for you; on something, which reminds you about your own achievements and hard work. If you buy a fake Rolex, for example, you deceive mainly yourself, not others.

It is not in my intention to make in-depth comparison between the real thing and the fake. There are too many points. I think Devilbiss managers should do it instead. In fact, I don’t understand why Ebay UK allows to sell fake products undisturbed? However, I strongly believe that sprayers should respect their work and be tidy with everything they use in their job. In the end of the day, the one who is fooled around is your pride and self-esteem.

 

Spray gun vs iPhone. What a dilemma.

This blog post is not about the new technology in automotive repair industry, nor about its challenges or best practices. This post is about a crisis we definitely have in our industry. This is the human resource crisis. No matter how precise the color matching is, or how fast clearcoats dry, if we don’t have skilled, motivated and proud painters, the industry’s future is not bright. In fact, this post blog comes as a continuation of one of my recent articles “The biggest challenge in the collision repair is to keep it young.”

Just last week we had a round of presentations of new Devilbiss spray gun DV1 on the field. Usually I enjoy this part of my job. What can be better than a direct, unfiltered contact with the end users of your products? While the presentations were “business as usual” , one encounter left me very concerned and in doubt.

My sales manager and I visited a very typical for Greece bodyshop. Average size, family owned workshop of three people. The painter was actually the owner’s son, and the next generation of the business. After initial formalities and casual chat, I asked the young guy about his spaying equipment arsenal. It turned out that he is using two spray guns for basecoat and clearcoat applications. One was a Devilbiss GTI – the very first model of the iconic blue spray gun by the British manufacturer. The other piece was a SATA 2000 model. Both spray guns were purchased many years ago by the painter’s father, and they have obviously seen better days. Looks like a good potential customer, you may think. I thought the same exact thing. However, the youngster looked very indifferent and reluctantly asked for the price. The average retail price for a premium spray gun, regardless of the brand is slightly above 700 Euro in our part of the world. If you take in account that with a quality piece of equipment like Devilbiss DV1 or SATA Jet 5500 (I don’t mention other brands, but the list is not all-comprehensive) one could save massively on materials consumption, improve color matching on difficult metallic colors and decrease re-works, purchasing such gun is a no-brainer. Well, for me at least. However, my prospect customer had a different opinion.

“That is too expensive”, he replied indifferently and took a brand new iPhone XS Max out of his pocket. He started clicking through some Viber messages and turned his back to us. Our pitch came to an end.

En route back to my office I was thinking a great deal about this young man. I wasn’t thinking about the rejection. No. If you are in sales, you know that rejection is just a part of everyday life. What stroke me most is that the “professional” painter didn’t show any interest for something new in his industry. It wasn’t the question of money, of course. Someone who can afford buying an expensive gadget worth about 1300 Euro, can afford investing in his job. Unlike pricy phone, the last technology spray gun (or any other piece of equipment) will earn him money. The problem is that investment in his work is not something he wishes to do, and it is important to distinguish between investment and pure expenses. Purchasing a piece of equipment is definitely an investment. Buying a new phone, unless you are mobile app developer, is an expanse.

To conclude, I would like to say that there are people in our industry who struggle to make both ends meet. Probably not everyone, especially in crisis-hit Greece, can buy a DV1 or similar spray gun. However, a serious sprayer would rather save money for a gun, rather than for a phone. This is my humble opinion.Chances are that this bodyshop will not survive until the next generation, unless the owner changes his attitude.

 

Automechanika 2018. Footnotes.

Yet another Automechanika in Frankfurt closed its doors. I haven’t missed a single event since my very first visit to Frankfurt in 2002, but I still feel a slight adrenaline rush when I enter the hall 11, where the majority of the refinishing stands are located. As a visitor and as an exhibitor, despite the decrease of the exhibitions’ importance in our business (actually in any business), I do enjoy the buzz and the energy of this venue. I guess it is in my blood already.

What I enjoy most is meeting people. Many of them I know, many faces are familiar, but we have never had a chance to be acquainted. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the players in our industry are known. “Oh, I remember this guy, he is Greek with a horse brand (Etalon logo features a horse).” – I overheard a whisper in Spanish while in the queue in cafeteria “Bellavista”. In some ways, all the people you meet in the paths of the fair can be divided in three categories: customers (existing, potential and former), suppliers (current, potential or past) and competitors (competitor is always competitor). Meeting customers is probably the most exciting, but simultaneously the most alarming. Where is he going now? I hope not to meet the other guys?

When you return from the event, like Automechanika, you are asked pretty much the same question: What new have you seen? To be short, apart from the long awaited new spray gun from Devilbiss – DV1 – I haven’t seen anything really new. Of course, I could have easily missed something. Correct me please if I am wrong. As you may have heard any business, industry or organization is going through the life cycle in different ways, like revolution and evolution. This process has been described by Larry Greiner in his paper called “Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow.” Sometimes this theory is described as Greiner Curve. Revolution is characterized by fundamental change, which affects the way we do something (repair vehicles in our case). Evolution, on the other hand, is an upgrade, an improvement of the existing products and processes. Our industry is going through evolution phase without any breakthrough in the horizon so far. In no way I mean that the evolution is not good; it just underlines that automotive refinishing business is a mature market.

 

While I didn’t see a particularly groundbreaking product, I must admit one significant shift in our trade – much better marketing. For many years, collision repair materials suppliers hadn’t paid attention to the look and feeling of their products. Probably this year’s presentations in Automechanika marked the shift on this matter. The best example is probably the packaging of the newest Devilbiss flagship spray gun DV1. It reminds me the box from the luxury Swiss watch.

Those of you, who attended the fair last week, would probably agree with me that SATA had the most chic stand from all. SATA for some years now dedicates their impressively big stand to a particular theme – “Sweet Sixties” this year. SATA’s team welcomed their guests in stylish uniform, while presenting a dedicated special addition SATA 5000 model. Great job from the marketing team. They totally dismiss a stereotype that everything German is well-built, but boring…

I left the fair with solid feeling that I really enjoy the industry I am in, and, as always, regrettably, I didn’t have enough time to spend with my colleagues, customers, suppliers and competitors (yes, I have very good friends with whom we compete). Friends from Australia, Argentina, Serbia, UK, Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Spain, Hong Kong, China, Kenya, South Africa, Italy, Norway, and, of course, from Germany, I will be looking forward to see you soon!

 

 

Collision repair industry greatest innovators.

Innovation is probably the most cliché-ridden word in the modern corporative marketing. Most slogans, corporate mission statements and annual reports include the “innovation” word or its derivatives. Innovation, by definition, is a new product, process or method, which changes the usual, established set of product features and ways it is used. True innovation, however, is disruptive; it breaks the old rules and sets new standards.

Automotive industry has been always associated with novelties and break through ideas. Starting from Ford’s moving assembly line, which was afterwards implemented by virtually any manufacturer on the planet to electric cars and modern driverless cars. Tesla is a great example how a brand with no history can create value in the industry dominated by companies with more the hundred years of experience.

So, vehicle OEM coatings and refinishing industry is not an exemption. Automotive paint has been developing since the first car was produced, despite the fact that in the beginning paint wasn’t viewed as key sales factor. Remember Ford’s saying: “A customer can have a car painted any color he wants as long as it’s black.”

Unfortunately, there is little information available online about who was the first to invent certain, now commonly used, products. For example, polyester fillers, replaced lead many years ago, but I didn’t manage to find a reliable source about it. Neither could I find information about which paint manufacturer was the very first to introduce color mixing system. However, below I bring to your attention just a few products, which changed automotive OEM and collision repair process dramatically. Not all of these products are of the same importance, but they are definitely worth mentioning.

3M

Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (here comes 3M) has the word “innovation” as its corporate slogan, and people in this multibillion and multinational company really mean it. There are countless patents in various industries. Below I name just a few 3M innovations, which have had undeniable impact on automotive refinishing industry. These products names, like Scotch-Brite or PPS, have become common names even for the products of competitors.

  • Waterproof paper was invented in the early 1920s and is still used in automotive refinishing workshops around the globe, especially in the places where dust extraction is not an option.
  • Scotch, is the first pressure sensitive masking tape, which was invented by a young lab assistant, Richard Drew in 1925.
  • Scotch-Brite sanding and cleaning pads, developed in 1950s, are so versatile that this brand name is well-known to both to craftsmen and housewives around the world.
  • Trizact and Cubitron are unique abrasives lines, which outperform in their category most of the competitive products.
  • PPS (paint preparation system) is a broad category of products, with the disposable plastic cups in the core of the category. PPS has been a subject for patent wars, counterfeits and imitation.

Binks

In 1887, a maintenance supervisor in a department store, Joseph Binks invented a machine to paint walls. Even if his invention was primarily used for painting buildings, Binks created a solid foundation for the future spaying equipment. Binks brand is still well-known, especially in light industry applications.

Devilbiss

Devilbiss is another great example of long history and innovation, which changed automotive industry from painting vehicles literally by brush to what is now a symbol of the industry – a spray gun. The brand was founded in Toledo, Ohio in 1888, when Dr Allen DeVilbiss invented a device for spraying medicines. Later on his son Thomas adapted the original atomizer to create a spray gun for the coatings application. The rest is the history…

Dupont (Axalta Group now)

Duco was actually the first dedicated automotive paint, developed for Ford in order to reduce drying times of the paint from days to a few hours only. Actually Duco was a nitrocellulose paint drying through solvent evaporation, which was used in the refinishing industry for almost 100 years.

 

It would fantastic if you, my dear readers, could share your information and views about the automotive coatings industry’s brightest minds and innovative brands.

What if you could only have one spray gun?

I really love to make assumptions of different kind. What if … I was invisible, what if I was a millionaire, what if you had limitless resources for your paint shop or bodyshop? The last one actually was a title for my blog post sometime ago. Here is another one: “What if I had just one spray gun for all my jobs?”

I sell spraying equipment for bodyshops for quite a long time now. Modern spray guns producers compete in consumption, ergonomics and design. New, sexy models appear virtually every year, tempting us to buy one. It is almost like with new models of smart phones, so when a new one comes, you absolutely need it. However, if you could only have a choice to keep one, what spray gun would it be? Please do not misunderstand me; I do not advocate using one and only spray gun in any bodyshop, big or small. Far from it, I suggest that spray guns are vital tools of a trade, and a sprayer absolutely must have minimum three guns: one for basecoats, one for clearcoats, and one for more viscose materials like fillers and primers.

What if

Which technology to choose from?

Before actually picking the preferred model, I would like to say a few words about the atomization technology, which is the most versatile to spray different coatings, both basecoats and clears. Remember the assumption, only one gun for all final coating jobs!

Unfortunately, in our industry we have in general a problem with standardizations (recall the post about MS and HS clearcoats)? Similarly, categorization of different spraying technologies is prone to questionable terminology. I will simplify and distinguish three main spray gun systems:

  • High pressure
  • HVLP
  • Trans-Tech or RP (reduced pressure). You can also meet a term LVLP, which means Low Volume Low Pressure, but it is not as common.

High-pressure spray guns choice I would drop first for its high material consumption and non-compliance to various legislations.

HVLP or Reduced Pressure?

By definition, they key difference between two technologies is that HVLP uses lower pressure in air cap, which is compensated with high volumes of air to atomize and deliver the paint with desirable finish results. Trans-Tech (or RP) alters the balance between pressure and air volume. Air cap pressure in RP is about 2,5 times higher (about 1.6 Bar), and therefore less air volume is needed (smaller compressor output as well required). Putting aside all technicalities, Trans-Tech spray guns allow us to spray better than HVLP such materials as HS and UHS clearcoats, without compromising the quality of basecoat application though. I vote for Trans-Tech/High Efficiency (Devilbiss), RP (SATA) or similar technology.

Gtipro Lite

Which spray gun is the one and only?

I have to admit that after being a distributor for Devilbiss equipment for more that ten years, I am bias. If I had to choose just one spray gun for application the final coatings in my bodyshop, it would be GTIPRO LITE TE10 with 1.3 fluid tip. Here is why:

– TE10 High Efficiency is probably the most all-around air cap in Devilbiss range. It is highly recommended for spraying both basecoats and clears (including UHS) by the majority of leading paint brands.

– Ergonomic gun body

– Lightweight – only 446 gms

– GTIPRO Lite gives the possibility to switch easily between different nozzles without the need to change the air cap.

– Low air consumption – 270 l/min

– Low material consumption

– Smooth, kick free control

 

And what is your spray gun of choice?

 

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