Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

Standox offers technical tips on colour matching

Coloured clearcoats and three-coat colours like shimmering pearl white are increasingly popular with today’s motorists. Consequently bodyshops are being faced with demanding and complicated finish repairs. While this presents a great opportunity for a refinisher to show off his abilities, repairs to special pigments and three-coat colours can present other problems for an unprepared bodyshop.

“When dealing with unusual colours, the calculation of time, materials and cost are vitally important,” explains Jodie Henly, Standox brand specialist. “The colour formula should be identified before any estimate is calculated. This way, refinishers know at an early stage whether the vehicle has a special colour. Once they know the colour formula, they can make a realistic estimate of the materials, time and costs of the repair. With a three-coat finish, for instance, they need to know how the coatings were sprayed, and if they contain any special effects.

“The estimate should take into account the longer-than-usual preparation time. If special pigments are required, for instance, the refinisher should immediately check whether these are in stock. There’s nothing more frustrating than having the correct formulation ready to mix and discovering that a special mixing base is needed which isn’t on the system. Refinishers using Standowin reporting software from Standox have a clear advantage here,” Henly says.

After having entered information such as the colour code, the car make and model, the year of manufacture and/or the colour name into the Standowin software, the programme identifies the formula and should the colour contain a special mixing base, this will be indicated. Refinishers with the latest 2012 software update will now see a pop-up window before the formula is sent to the scales indicating that a special mixing base is needed.

“We always recommend producing spray-out cards before starting a complex colour repair,” Henly continues. “To do this, the basic colour is sprayed onto three cards and left to dry. A first spray-pass is then applied to all three cards. One is then taken away, and a second spray-pass is applied to the remaining two cards. Another is then removed, and a final spray-pass is applied to the third. The clearcoat is then applied to all three cards. Marked accordingly, these samples can be added to the paint shop’s colour documentation for easy retrieval should the same vehicle, or another vehicle with the same colour, need to be repaired again. When repairing complex colours, good spray-out cards are an excellent way of avoiding mistakes, helping to save time and money.”

When it comes to special-effect colours, the choice of the refinishing procedure depends on three factors: the substrate colour, the size of the repair and its location. Both the thickness of the coat and the number of spray-passes can influence the refraction of light and the final appearance. To ensure that the repair is invisible and that the effect looks even, Standox experts recommend using the blend-in technique for three-coat pearl effect coatings. If a particular job requires fitting a new panel where an edge-to-edge finish is not possible or desirable, the colour can be blended into adjacent panels.

For refinishers who would like to learn more about refinishing metallic, pearl and xirallic colours, Standox runs a dedicated Colouristic course from its training academy in Stevenage. The course covers how to identify shades, to find formulations, to mix colours and to develop individual variant shades. For more information on Standox and all its training courses visit