Waterborne Paint: The Throughput Hero

February 14, 2018 | By | Reply More

Better coverage, shorter cycle time, excellent match to OEM colors – the benefits of water-based paint systems go far beyond helping improve air quality.

It’s been seventeen years since the U.S. EPA set strict limits on the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) allowed in automotive coatings, and water-based paints have come a long way. Not only is water-based paint a proven performer in color match and panel blending, it is now accepted by collision repair facility operators as more cost-effective than solvent-borne coatings. Water-based paint saves labor time, energy costs, and materials expense. High-volume shops point to an increased number of paint jobs and repairs completed per week, but even small shops appreciate the faster throughput, which translates to both higher profit margins and the ability to put customers back into their vehicles sooner.

Pretty Green

VOCs contribute to ground-level ozone, a major component of the smog in high car-count cities. We reduce the VOC content of paints because it is harmful to our lungs and immune system.

Waterborne paints have come down from approximately 75 percent solvent in conventional basecoats to only 10 percent solvent in waterborne basecoats, and have reduced solvent by up to 60 percent in clearcoats. That’s pretty green.

Yes, We Can

BMW became the first OEM to use waterborne paints in the U.S when, in 2010, we began using the technology in our factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Independent collision shops are more vulnerable to local weather conditions than climate-controlled factories, and don’t have factory-like robotics technology. And because they typically paint only a part of the vehicle body, they face color match challenges that the factory doesn’t have.

So the question arises, can aftermarket collision repair facilities achieve similar waterborne cost reduction benefits as big factories while maintaining excellent color match?

With BMW-approved Glasurit 90 Line, the answer is emphatically yes. 90 Line is a water-based paint system that provides a factory-like finish with greater coverage per coat than with conventional solvent, shorter drying times, excellent color match, high gloss, and UV protection for durability.

Better Coverage

Waterborne basecoats contain 20 percent pigment in their metallic or pearlescent formulations, one-third more than the 15 percent pigment content in solvent-borne basecoats. Having one-third more of the solids that remain after solvent evaporates means that, with water-based paints, you get the same coverage while spraying less paint. Using 90 Line basecoat, you’ll mix less, spray less, and save material cost and labor.

One basecoat spray may not give full coverage. Your objective is just to get an even, wet coat and a good blend-in. Here’s where skill matters. If you spray a coat and get good coverage, but weren’t careful enough to get a good blend, an additional make-up coat is going to eat up any cost savings you could have booked. So careful planning and execution are essential to achieving excellent color match the first time.


Use tape and masking paper that is water resistant. If waterborne paint soaks through the tape or paper,


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Category: General, Structural, the bimmer pub

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