What price will you pay?

by Tim Briggs

 Collision Edge is committed to solving problems for the Collision Repair Market. Visit our website www.collisionedge.com

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Do you know what Sanding Dust is costing your business?

Body Shops are dirty places, but they don’t necessarily have to be. In a day when body shop margins are having the life squeezed out of them, it’s extremely important to eliminate waste everywhere possible. As it turns out, sanding dust is a huge source of waste.

The only way to remove this waste is vacuum assisted sanding. For many years companies have promoted expensive whole shop systems that were never used because the system manufacturers never understood how technicians work in body shops. Today’s Vacuum sanding systems offer mobility and affordability that can no longer be ignored. There are several quality systems offered to the industry. In this recent experience we reviewed the MIRKA Sanding System complete with their electric Orbital DA and Orbital Block, but there are other strong contenders like 3M Festool , the Dynabrade Mini Raptor  and Uniram Dustless Sanding Vacuum. The new electric tools offered by many of these companies are far superior to their pneumatic counterparts due to largely to size, weight and versatility. The benefits are compounded by energy efficiency and convenience.

It is shocking how much dust is generated inside of a body shop. In this example we measured 8 lbs of sanding dust created from a single large job. Based on some simple math and depending on your work mix, it’s probable that your technicians produce 3-8 lbs of sanding dust per week.

Many of you are thinking “so what?”, “that’s the way it has always been”, “we just have our detail guy clean it, we do it on every job.” A deeper dive into the true cost of dust will reveal many things the “traditional Body Shop” has never realized.

The cost of dust can be summarized in a handful of ways.

Everyone sees the first and most obvious waste is the cost of cleaning the car. However, the biggest and most critical impact is to the health of your employees. Other significant factors are the labor associated with paint finish correction, material consumption and environmental impacts.

Let’s start with the cost to clean the car. It’s really not about the amount you pay your detail technician. It’s more about the opportunity to deliver more cars because your shop is reducing “defect” waste on each job. On Friday when you are trying to deliver all of your cars, (a problem for anothcaptureer day) how much easier would it be if each job was simpler to process. Most shop owners will say “my people are careful with car interiors” but the impact is unavoidable. Dirty shops equal dirty cars. Dirty cars equal missed delivery opportunities.

What is the cost to your technician? Sure they wear Personal Protection Equipment, but why expose them to lethal doses of chemically laden sanding dust hoping that they are adequately protected? Vacuum systems eliminate many of the risk your employees face daily.

Let’s move on to the paint finish. Sure the painters should thoroughly clean the car in prep, but why do we send the contamination created by the body technician to the paint shop? Have you ever thought about the cost of removing trash from a panel? It is shocking to really understand the impact of trash removal on cycle time, material cost and labor. Lay a $20 bill on every piece of dirt that comes out of the booth in your clear coat and you have only begun to understand the cost of trash created by a dirty shop environment.

How can vacuum sanding reduce material consumption? We have already covered the detail material waste, but an even greater opportunity lies in abrasive consumption. We have capturestudied this first hand, abrasives are typically 10% of any shops material bill. Cheaper paper isn’t necessarily the answer to this problem. Abrasives are made up of a backing material, adhesive, mineral and a top lubricant that prevents contaminate loading. This lubricant reduces friction and heat. Vacuum sanders remove dust as it is created and continually passes air over the abrasive. Cooler working temperatures lead to extended resin life subsequently extending your abrasive life. In short, heat is the enemy of sandpaper. Vacuum sanding extends the life of your abrasives.

Finally, and most notably, what is the impact on our environment? Recent surveys indicate the number of Shops in the United States has surpassed 40,000 locations. We can argue exact numbers, capturebut if the average shop has roughly 4.7 technicians producing even 5 pounds of sanding dust per week it quickly adds up to 48.8 Million pounds of uncontrolled pollution. In rough approximation based on our sample, the waste the Collision Industry generates could easily fill 236 railroad cars on an annual basis. -TB

If you like what you’ve seen here today, let us know. If your interested in information about sanding systems email tim@collisionedge.com or visit us at www.collisionedge.com or find us on Instagram of Facebook. Thank You for your support.












Image  —  Posted: January 19, 2019 in Uncategorized

Keep it simple.

Posted: July 2, 2019 in Uncategorized

Process is a lot like a Rooster. One can draw a diagram of how to lay an egg, but the rooster isn’t equipped or even interested in executing on your command.

It’s easy to dream up a set of circumstances where the problem at hand will be completely solved forever. The challenge is what lies on the fringe of all the rules created to fix a single simple problem. Many times those rules or processes will stand at odds to solutions to new problems and overall productivity.

Not every problem needs solving. What we have to decide is, “What is the true cost of NOT solving the problem?” It’s easy to chase simple, superficial problems with seemingly easy fixes without regard to how problem effects the big picture. Easy fixes lead to shallow thinking. What’s most apparent on the surface isn’t always the root cause of your issues. We have to go deeper and keep asking “why?”

It’s also very important to take emotion out of the equation when assessing which problems to fix. If problems can’t be statistically validated, it’s impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution later. We borrowed the chart below from the Six Sigma Institute it makes a lot of sense.

Notice the importance of putting a value to the problem with data. Not only will data help identify the problems that are most important, but will later determine the effectiveness of the solution over time. Permanent change requires continually evaluating solutions with data. If we continually evaluate the solution, we will be better equipped to make the right decision for the next problem.

In summary, if we create a new business rule that gets blasted out every few weeks (probably over an email that tired employees probably aren’t reading anyway) with no ability to track effectiveness, the rules have built a house of cards that are not sustainable and doomed to be ineffective.

In the end, people will become frustrated with continual rule changes birthed by knee jerk reactions and will eventually stop listening and even trying to conform to policy. Performance will continue to tumble, eventually new employees will be needed so the cycle can begin again.

Tim Briggs-2019

If you took time to read this, Thank You! Collision Edge is dedicated to the success of our customers. We develop new solutions to old problems. Click here to visit our website. Your purchases support our kids education.


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You’ve probably never heard of Bitter Weed. Growing up on a little cow farm in south Atlanta, I learned about them early. The weed had a yellow flower with a huge seed head. Handling the weed meant a permanent noxious smell that only wears off with time. If your allergic, well let’s just say the experience was less than pleasant.

This demon weed wasn’t good for anything. It was especially bad for cows so it had to be eradicated from the farm. At 8 years old, I found myself looking out across the pasture at a sea of the yellow legion that stood defiantly in the Hot Georgia July sun. I thought to myself, “This is impossible”.

My father was a child of The Great Depression. A simple, hardworking man, tough as nails with a leather neck and unbreakable spirit. Everything he had was either earned or built with his own two work-worn hands.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but he took every opportunity to teach me life lessons from every day experiences. I remember him kneeling down and grasping a handful of the nasty weed and pulling it from the baked red Georgia clay. He said, “To do this job you need to grab the weed low, by the root. If you don’t get the root you didn’t do the job; the weed will grow back. It’s ok kneel down, just don’t let me catch you sitting.” He held the weed toward me showing me the seed head, “You see those seeds? There is around 100 of them. Every plant you miss will grow 100 more next summer”. Next he unpacked a plan to guide me on my quest. He said, “90 percent of how hard a job is is your attitude about it, the rest is consistent effort over time following a plan. Spend an hour a day pulling these weeds, work in a pattern and you’ll succeed.”

I had no idea the reach that this simple exchange would have on my life.

Number one, don’t get caught sitting down. It’s more comfortable to sit flat, but in this position you can’t react quickly to changing demands on your business. Kneeling is ok, you have to kneel to look close and see the real problem. Servants kneel just like Jesus did to wash his followers feet. Great leaders humble themselves and their people will walk through fire for them as a result.

Number two, get to the root of the problem. Business people spend far to much time dealing with the most visible issues and trying to build rules that manage problems after they have already been birthed by a series of under thought, unconnected and otherwise poor processes.

Number three, don’t ignore any weeds you find in your business. Seek them out and Methodically work toward systematically eliminating all of your issues. If you ignore problems long enough they will kill your business.

Number four, your attitude defines you. Work is only work if you let it be. Embrace the path you’ve chosen, if you don’t enjoy where you are and what your doing, change it. Life’s to short to be miserable. If your miserable your missing your life’s purpose.

Number Five, have a plan. If your plan isn’t documented it’s a wish, You can’t slay giants with wishes. Someone once said, “Plan your work and work your plan.” This is the only way to make progress.

Sixth and finally, plan on failing, but fail forward. Despite my efforts, that first year I failed. The weed dropped seeds from where they lay. I figured out they needed to be collected as they were pulled. Even after that discovery, it was 4 years before that farm was Bitter Weed free, but I succeeded.

As a young person, I didn’t always appreciate my father or the work he did to provide for us. I also didn’t appreciate the fishing, hunting and other play time I had to sacrifice because of the work we had to do. Today I cherish the accomplishments that grew from that little farm and I wouldn’t trade a minute of working side by side with my family to make a life worth living.

So you see, deep roots can grow from bitter weeds. Seize your opportunities to learn and grow today. Wholly embrace the work that seems impossible, because it is probably the most important factor in your life’s success.

Tim Briggs-2019

If you took time to read this, Thank You! Collision Edge is dedicated to the success of our customers. We develop new solutions to old problems. Click here to visit our website. Your purchases support our kids education.


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I’m Tim Briggs, owner of Collision Edge. We are dedicated to the success of our customers. Putting it simply, we find new solutions to old problems. Collision Edge Website

A battle for the ages. Body techs and painters have been arguing about filler work since the day the first shop split up Combo Techs! It’s easy to make filler straight with coarse abrasives, but the devil is in the details when refining filler for primer and final paint. Why do many technicians think primer is a magic wand? Let’s discuss the why’s and how’s to a better paint foundation.

Pictured above is a typical repair that paint shops are priming up day in and day out. So what is the big deal? Consider this.

Thermal Expansion- Every form of matter expands and contracts at its own rate when the temperature changes.

filler repairs are a lot like blending a color, the goal is to mask the expansion and contraction of various materials by priming over the exposed repair elements ( Plastic Filler, Glaze, Etch Primer, Ecoat, ect) create a consistent surface. Sand scratches create problems because they expose different materials in a pattern left by the “wounded surface” of a panel.

Urethane Primer- Everyone knows that lacquer primer doesn’t do the job, but even the best Urethane Primers are still over 50% solvent.  Some of the solvent will remain in the dry film for a significant time after it is dry and sanded so some shrink will always occur no matter which primer you use. For this reason, many custom painters will sand a filler to open the surface to allow the solvent to escape several days before re-priming. The primer shouldn’t be over-applied for these same reasons. Two priming applications are often better than one because less solvent is trapped at the surface. Waiting on primer or multiple priming applications is not practical for a production shop,   so it most crucial to minimize sand “gouging” during minor panel repairs. Courser abrasives are great for shaping a surface, but technicians have to be careful to first minimize deep scratches but later refine those scratches with finer abrasives before priming.


Guide Coat- Guide Coat is the best way to identify stray scratches that will cause priming issues. Many companies offer great solutions, some like Mirka even offer additional color options like White. Sanding filler with the next finest grit doesn’t really count unless a technician completely removes the coarser scratch. Guide coat is the best way to identify if this has been accomplished.


Photo Courtesy of Boothtalk – Jeremy Winters

Pin Holes – Let’s talk about pinhole repair. The Most obvious answer is “Don’t make pinholes” and if you talk to good people that make your filler they are sure to be able to give you some tips that will minimize pinholes (that is a topic for another day).   One product does stand out to use in conjunction with your primer.  Evercoat 440 Express is a unique product that if used correctly will make a big difference in your filler finish. This product will not fill every pinhole or sand scratch, but is a nice addition for certain minor defect correction. We grabbed the application instructions and posted them here.


Big Jobs. If for whatever reason you need heavy filling capability over large areas, many people use a product called “Polyester Primer”. Polyester primer is a very low solvent primer that is slow to dry, but has minimal shrink because it’s essentially a fiberglass resin barrier coat that acts like a “Spray on Bondo”. Note that it is advisable to topcoat Polyesters with “Urethane Primer” to maximize topcoat adhesion and seal the porous surface left behind after the Polyester is sanded. (Don’t wet sand polyester)


Photo Courtesy of Rob Paddock – Paddocks Paint Works. Rob Uses Clausen Rust Defender.


Spray Gun Selection. Here is what we recommend. Dig the nastiest gun you own out of thIMG_0959e bottom your toolbox and Throw it away! Primer is the foundation of a paint job and yet many technicians choose to use inconsistent, poor atomizing guns because “It doesn’t seem to matter”. Wel,l guess what,it does! Poor atomizing guns pack solvent into your primer bed. These same solvents have to come out later. After all your hard work to make that glassy finish, we don’t want you to be dissatisfied. Secondly, Feed your gun clean dry air, and don’t forget about high flow fittings, they make a huge difference in your guns performance.

There are many good spray gun companies in the market at any price point you choose, we are most confident in SATA spray equipment. SATA makes a really nice primer gun. We talked to Miguel Perez from MAPR Designs recently about his choice of primer guns. Miguel uses the SATA 100 BF for his work at Extreme Performance in South Florida. Miguel told us that this gun offers the consistency and versatility he’s after all at a price point that delivers the goods for his priming needs. 




Approach to Sanding Method. Scratch depth varies according to the sanding method. Straight Line sanding creates the deepest cornrow in your substrate, Orbital sanding results in a shallower scratch and surprisingly the bigger the orbit the sallower the scratch. (keep this in mind for finish sanding too.)

Sandpaper construction. Scratch depth for the same grit across multiple manufactures varies because of the construction of the abrasive. Think of the abrasives as rocks buried in mud, all are the same size, some are sunk into the abrasive adhesive resin and dry lubricant deeper that others.  In short 80 Grit in one brand may leave a finer or coarser cut than another. Be aware and use what seems to work best for you. Today’s fillers sand very easily, 80 Grit is the new 40 Grit when it comes to filler leveling.  Pay attention to the adjacent area around your repair to minimize the size of the repair. Don’t be afraid to use tape to protect areas you don’t want to sand, this will save everyone a lot of time.

100 Grit Rule. Pay attention to the 100 Grit Rule as much as possible. If you start with 80 Grit, refine that to 180 Grit (remember your guide coat will tell you if you removed all the deeper scratches) Refine your 180 Grit with minimum 240 but ideally 240 followed by 320 Grit. Use guide coat between each sanding operation. (you can also use some powder guide coat in clear coat blocking!)

Wrap Up. If you are priming over an average 180 grit scratch, you are trying to fill too deep a profile. Consider taking the extra step in sanding to minimize many downstream issues that are created by primer shrinkage.

Collision Edge is committed to solving problems for the Collision Repair Market. Visit our website www.collisionedge.com

We hope you enjoy our blog post, Drop me a line any time Tim@CollisionEdge.com

Customer service? Chick Fil A is world class.

by Tim Briggs

 Collision Edge is committed to solving problems for the Collision Repair Market. Visit our website www.collisionedge.com


I’m a Rabid Chick Fil A fan. My wife started her Career there at the home office so I’ve watched this company grow into its own skin. Truett Cathy was a visionary, The business and the people are hyper focused on customer service. Which leads me to my story.

Chick fil a has always had the best drive though experience in the industry. It’s amazing how many cars they serve and hour. A few years back I noticed an employee standing outside the drive up window handing people food. Honestly I laughed a bit thinking “this is ridiculous” and “I don’t see the need”. I mean they already had the best drive through in town so why mess with perfection? I didn’t give it another thought as it became a regular occurrence in the drive through to have an associate handing out food and even another associate taking orders and money during the process when the car line wrapped around the building twice!

Yesterday I went to the new Truett’s restaurant in Newnan, Ga. In the beginning, I couldn’t understand why they leveled the original restaurant and completely rebuilt it from the ground up. Upon entering the drive through it all became clear. Gone is the menu board with the speaker you can’t speak through clearly. Replacing that is a canopy outfitted with radiant heaters and cooling fans. You are greeted by an order taker and someone to take your money and give you a receipt. That was cool, but the customer service lesson wasn’t over. As I pulled to the window to get my food, a door slid open and a smiling employee walked to my car, handed me my food and said “Have a blessed day”. I laughed as I pulled away, because the most epic learning experiences I’ve ever had was by being proved wrong.

Chick Fil A knew that to improve the speed and quality of the customer service experience an employee needed to hand deliver the food to the car window…so they put a door where the window used to be!

As a Body Shop, what can we learn from this? What windows do we serve customers through now? What can we do to make it better? Do we view customers as people who have had a traumatic experience or as a “Fender blend the door”? Are our customers a severity statistic on a DRP report or people who will load their children into the next car you repair?

We can’t get premium pay if we treat our customers like the typical McShop does. If our customers don’t appreciate quality and customer service we may be chasing the wrong clients.

Look for your Mayo Bottle

Posted: February 25, 2019 in Uncategorized

I’m Tim Briggs, owner of Collision Edge. We are dedicated to the success of our customers. Putting it simply, we find new solutions to old problems. Collision Edge Website

Over the course of the last 20 years of watching techs work, we’ve witnessed inefficiencies and drawn inspiration from unlikely sources. Today’s story is no different.

The Collision Industry is full of creamy, sticky messy products that dispense from bottles. Buffing compound, polish, Metal Glaze, etc. Recently I watched a detailer beat a clogged compound bottle mercilessly to dispense the product he needed to do his job. In the end he unscrewed the cap and threw it at the nearest trash can…of course he missed and in the process accelerated the pace that his compound would dry out and be ruined.

Later that day I was at my favorite sandwich shop and saw the lady dispensing Mayo from a curious little double ended bottle. One end unscrews to fill the other end had this glorious little valve that dispensed with no leakage…I laughed out loud, everyone thought I was crazy.

The bottle stands on its own upside down like a Heinz Ketchup bottle. When wet product sits on the opening it doesn’t dry out…it’s the same reason to store PPS mixing cups upside down to protect the filter. The tip comes in 3 sizes, small for thinner products like polish and wax, medium for compound and metal glaze and Large for even thicker applications like Plastic Filler. (We currently offer only the medium tip)

We paired this bottle with “The Can Thing” (a stretchy sleeve with magnets installed) to make the bottle magnetic.

If you choose to use this solution it will quickly pay for itself in waste reduction. The convenience factor is off the chart as well.

Everyone said “That’s a Mayo bottle from Subway.” Our answer…”Exactly!” The point is, the answer has always been there but no one saw it! How many other solutions can you find that would improve your daily process. Give us a follow, we will help you look!

Remember, the best material discount you can give yourself is the product you don’t use!

Tim Briggs


@collisionedge on Instagram and Facebook

The next “Thing”

Posted: November 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

Let the Craziness Continue! You may not know who we are, but by now I hope you’ve seen a few of our products. We love our customers!

We watched Prepper’s work for 20 years and spent 2 years and a lot of money developing “The Tape Caddy”. The Caddy is a sister product to the already successful “Tape Thing”. The Tape Caddy keeps everything you use to prep a car within arms reach. No more looking for your tape and other common items. It’s all clipped convienently on your pocket. It’s ergonomically engineered to feel invisible.

You guys who use tape will love it!

We started Collision Edge to bring new solutions to old problems for You Collision Centers everywhere.  We are a family business focused on doing the right thing for our kids future.  We operate from our little barn in The Chatahoochee Hill Country South of Atlanta.

We are far from done with our offerings. Check out our The Estimating Sticks and The Dent Viewer now in “XL” also!

Follow us everywhere @collisionedge . Our website is www.collisionedge.com

 Please call us if you have questions. Ginger and Pam will be glad to help you. (770) 328-5666. 

If your in business, you sell a solution, a product or a service. If your customers don’t excite you, ask yourself…Why? It’s easy to forget that we are all in business because people exchange their hard earned money for what we offer, whatever that is.

Be Nice.

Customers find you because they have a need that they believe you may fufill. Don’t look at the customer as the product or service you do for them…think of them as a human being that has a need, a need you are particularly skilled in fufilling. If your not skilled, ask yourself why and find a way to get better at what you do…

Be Remarkable.

Sales people that seek excellence create their own demand. If your customers don’t talk about their experience with you then figure out why.

Good or bad, remarkable experiences are like a virus that spreads from person to person.

Be Real.

People connect on a personal basis. If you treat your customer like a business deal, you have limited your relationship to a transactional experience that can be replaced by anyone for a any price at any time.


The customer in front of you has more than the one obvious need that brought them to you. Find the underlying needs you’ll catch a gear that you didn’t even know existed before…

If your customers don’t excite you, do yourself a favor and find what does. Do it loud, with all your heart.

tBriggs 2015

 Question…Why don’t most shops do this? Answer…things are so messed up that we don’t want to talk about them and when we do it turns into a morning event!
If you’re like most shops you struggle with keeping up with the rigorous demands to customers and Insurance partners. These demands bury shops in a rut of  unnecessary confusion, uncertainty and fatigue. It makes the average person want to leave Friday and never come back!

Let’s explore the elements of a morning release meeting that will change your shop starting tomorrow.

1. Do you have a list of all the jobs in your shop with the in date and promise date? Sounds simple, but you would be amazed that some shops don’t.

2. Is the list shared live with all of your employees? In a day when tech is nearly free, there is no excuse not to have your shop digitally connected. (DM us for free options. We would love to help you solve the problem)

3. Do you have a meeting format? We recently worked with a shop on an SOP for morning release meetings. Here is what we developed.

A. Estimators and department heads only. Keep the rest of your people working.

B. Have a list. Pass it out at 4PM each day to allow people to prep for the next morning. Here is the concern…What’s going today, what’s going tomorrow and most importantly what’s late.

C. Define a prioritized list of tear downs and build ups that your people can check off. Pay attention to the hours on each side, try to balance the load, it will help your touch time tremendously (DM us if you need help with the list)

D. Define a time limit for the meeting. We decided 30 seconds per total car in process was a good guide. If the shop has 30 cars in process the meeting time limit is 15 minutes. Remember we are only talking about the cars that are late, leaving today and tomorrow. Every car does not have to be discussed.

E. What is discussed? For each car that is on the list, each department in order answers one question. “Are you holding this car up from leaving?” The only answer allowed from each department is “No” and “Yes” and if the department says “Yes” then they have to state “When” (time or date) so the only allowable answers are “Yes” & “No and When”. There is no “why”. Why leads to excuses and bunny trails. Why points at process problems, that’s a different meeting.

Morning release meetings are vital to your business. We think you’ll agree once you try it, let us know how it works out for you.

Today we will review a few simple steps to reduce paint waste and improve profits. There are many factors that contribute to paint and material waste. We will briefly cover equipment, product and process in an effort to give you key actionable items that will assist you in quickly identifying areas where your shop can improve.

Equipment Equipment is the most overlooked element of material profit in todays collision center.

Spray Guns. How many times have we actually taken a look at what our technicians are using to apply Thousands of Dollars worth of paint daily? There is a huge difference in delivery efficiency of the various spray guns and yet we tend to overlook the importance of selecting the best option for maximizing material efficiency. IMG_0959The gun is only the beginning of the equation. Using the proper fluid tip for the product being sprayed is just as important. Todays guns offer a dizzy array of air caps and fluid needle setups. Many people believe that the smaller nozzles are more efficient, but this is not always the case. The ideal gun setup will lay the material flat and thin quickly with little effort. Material waste occurs when the painter has to “mash” the applied paint to get the desired look.

Air- What drives the spray gun? Air. The worlds best guns will only work properly when the user delivers the right quality and volume of air to a spray gun. The typical shop spends money on a desiccant system that sits in the booth and assumes that that will make clean air. Typically it is installed and works great for about a week and is then forgotten about. It then becomes a source of contamination as the desiccant beads begin to fly apart from being soaked with water.  The mistake? Quality Air is a system, not one piece of equipment. It begins with a compressor and refrigerant dryer that has enough capacity to meet the demands of the shop. The air delivery piping must be sized to deliver the air efficiently. The proper setup reduces the moisture that the final desiccant system sees so that the desiccant media is not overpowered with excessive moisture. 

Volume. Look at the difference in these two patterns from the same gun. The pattern on right came out of a gun with a high flow hose and fitting. When guns are supplied with the right volume of air they will apply the finish more efficiently. Pressure is another important consideration. HVLP and reduced pressure guns will literally blow paint into useless vapor if the pressure is set too high. Gun manufacturers recommendations must be followed. There are some great options out there today for setting gun pressure. Look for the tool that provides the least flow restriction. Ideally gun pressures should be set at the wall regulator. The gun regulator should only be used for special circumstances where lower pressure is momentarily required.

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 5.58.09 PM

Product There are huge debates about which products cover the greatest area per gallon of applied material.

Solids. Every TDS Sheet will spell out a products % Solids. In short this percentage is simply “What volume of product is left after the curing process.” Most of todays low VOC products are between 45% and 55% solids, they leave about half the wet film thickness behind after curing

Viscosity. Todays refinish products are all fairly similar provided the equipment and fluid viscosity are given attention. Every manufacturer specifies viscosity expressed in seconds. DIN4 is one of many viscosity standards used in the industry today. A DIN4 cup is a cup with an small hole in the bottom that leaks paint in a very precise way. The seconds referred to how long it takes before the stream from the cup bottom breaks into drops. Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 6.25.44 PM Viscosity is controlled with solvent. Solvent is anything that thins a paint. If the viscosity is to high, additional solvent will resolve the issue, the opposite is also true. Solvent and catalyst selection are other important factors. Many times technicians choose fast catalyst and fast solvent in an effort to speed paint curing. Often times this will cause the painter to over apply the film to attain the desired flat finish. Paint sprayed with the proper reducer, catalyst and viscosity will lay out more efficiently ultimately reducing overall material expense.


Estimating Material Efficiency begins at the estimate. We should always try to get paid realistitic time on Subjective Damage. Many times its just a discussion that we don’t want to have or can’t fully support with photos. Take blends for example. If they are not written up front but must be done to complete the repair, we have missed an opportunity to sell materials! Collision Edge has developed some photo tools to provide supporting documentation for the decision to blend adjacent panels and aides to help justify repair times on subjective damage.

photo 3 copyIMG_3569

Body Work Body work is the second step in the process of maximizing material usage. Often times primer is misused to “fill” imperfections left in the body work. If you find yourself priming 2 and 3 times, chances are improvements could be made in your shops body work process. On Left, Notice the sand scratches around the filler edge that have filler wiped in them? Dissimilar material expansion will cause these imperfections to show in the first priming, causing a second priming. The second priming will mask the imperfection for a while, but will eventually show through after the job has gone home. Notice on the right how uniform the filler edge can be? This comes from the repair edge being properly feathered prior to filler application. In short, better body work reduces material consumption to the final repair


Panel Preparation and Cleaning

Everything a technician does to a panel impacts how much material it will take to refinish it. Preparation and cleaning are no exception. Have you ever poured water on a glass table? What does it do normally? it beads and runs to find the lowest point on the table and runs off in streams. What your seeing here is the effect of the surface tension that exist on the glass. Prepared panels are exactly the same. All prepared panels have microscopic abrasions of various sizes along with other things like static charges and contamination. All of these factors fight a paints ability to lay flat quickly.

Consider the following thoughts.  Contamination.  When you sand a panel, what happens to whatever contaminates that are present? Do they sand off or get sanded deeper into the film? I hope you’ll agree on the latter, plus what effect do these contaminates have on the life of your sandpaper? (Sandpaper ranks 3rd on what you spend money on) Have you ever sanded over tree sap? How did that work out? So, contaminates should be removed prior to sanding. The only way to do this is a 2 step process that addresses both solvent and water soluble contamination. Usually a Wax and Grease and Warterborne pre cleaner.  Sand Scratch depth. We all love our red scuff pads, I know that. But do you realize that those burgundy bricks are carving microscopic straight line corn rows in the panel your about to paint? Random orbital DA scratches are far easier to cover with paint and with the options a tech can create a really smooth sanding profile. Proper panel preparation and cleaning will lead to paint laying flat quicker and easier with less need to over apply for appearance.

Color Color represents 30-35% of a shops expense on paint. There are a few careful considerations involved in minimizing waste here. Identify appropriate color variant early in the process using appropriate lighting. The 3M Sun Gun is an excellent choice for color correct lighting. Mix the color for the job 1 time in an appropriate amount for the job. PPG has a great tool called volume estimator that helps technicians think in ounces as opposed to quarts. Jobs are selected based on car size. The size of the car predicates a number of panels. The user sets the standard that he feels is appropriate for his product and shop. Typically solvent shops can use 3oz of unreduced base and 6oz of Ready to Spray clear per panel as it is defined in the system. For instance, a small hood is defined as 2 panels while a large hood is 3 panels. The panels are selected as “paint” or “blend” by multi taps and the user and a total number of ounces is calculated for the user as a guideline. The main win with volume estimator is helping the technician to think in ounces. Only a few ounces per repair can mean real $ per repair.

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Gound Coat Use the recommended ground coat. OEM plants have long been painting cars to only hide the undercoat and give a uniform finish. If a technician will use the recommended ground coat, a match will be attained in fewer coats with less material applied. Control waste. Use every drop of base mixed. Even if that means dumping waste into similar color containers to use later as a ground coat. Silvers, Golds, Blacks, Whites, etc. Use it all and you will save a lot of money.

Clear Coat Clear Coat is second behind color in a shops to purchases. Again, all of the above factors with gun setup and viscosity apply. Manufacturer Warranty guidelines typically look for 2-2.5 Mils of dry clear on the panel. Todays high solid finishes can easily double that thickness. Its not a bad practice to periodically test the mill thickness of applied clear on blend panels to make sure the appropriate amount is being applied. If more mils are present, clear is being over applied.

As you can see from this discussion, Paint consumption can be affected by many factors. We hope that this discussion has been as valuable for you as it was fun for us to put together. We love solving problems for customers. Please feel free to contact us www.collisionedge.com.