Are you ready for all the benefits of the paint shop of the futures because it’s no longer an imagination. Thanks to PPG LINQ  digital technologies, it’s ready now.

Given the opportunity to envision the paint shop of the future, PPG’s global Digital Customer Experience team came up with some pretty outside-the-square concepts, such as a simple to use 3D digital colour matching process and the ability to accurately mix exactly the amount of colour you need for every job at the press of a button. Rather than writing them off as impossible fantasies, this internal PPG team set about making them a reality which local collision repairers can access right now! Indeed, the early adopters of the PPG LINQ digital eco-system are already reaping the rewards, according to John Hristias, PPG Sales Director Australia and a highly respected industry veteran. The combination of the MOONWALK automated dispensing system, the DigiMatch  spectrophotometer, with its built-in colour camera, and the VisualizID  3D colour visualisation software, is now defining what the modern paint shop means.

Supercharge your customer experience

As well as being simple to operate and impressive to see in action, PPG LINQ technologies are also very cool looking pieces of technology. This begs the question, why hide them in the paint room when they could easily become part of your customer experience. Consider these two scenarios:

Scenario one – During the estimating process, the estimator polishes the panel, identifies the paint code and punches it into the touchscreen on the DigiMatch spectro, along with the job number. Afterwards, they take a reading of the vehicle’s paintwork which is downloaded to VisualizID software in PAINTMANAGER XI. This crucial information is then ready to go for the paint technician in the mixing room.

Scenario two – When the customer drops off their car, they sit at a computer in the reception area with one of your staff who helps them compare a VisualizID 3D spray-out of their vehicle’s colour against the closest variants on screen in order to select the best match. Once complete, they click the button to set MoonWalk in motion to mix the colour. Imagine how the customer feels and how they are going to tell all their friends that they used some cool technology to help repair their car! After being dispensed, the colour is sealed in its SATA RPS Cup, a label is stuck on and it stays with the vehicle ready for the painter to apply when it gets to the paint shop. Both scenarios represent a giant step-change for an industry that has long been seen as dirty and low tech!

Removing the human error element

Although painters work hard to reduce the impact, human error inevitably creeps into almost every step of the current colour matching and mixing process. However, PPG LINQ technologies now have the ability to eliminate a vast amount of that human error. There are two key areas of gain:

Colour mixing errors - If I told you that on average around 25% of your colour mixes are inaccurate, you might call ‘BS’ but that is the findings of an exhaustive study our MVP Business Solutions team did around the country. It tends to go undetected but is likely to be a major cause of rework. When you think about it, a slight miss-pour when mixing a colour can easily put it out of whack. Does the painter then recalculate, do they scrap that mix and start again, do they try to remove the excess tinter with the little ‘dabbers’ you see in paint rooms around the country or do they just carry on as if it's all good? MoonWalk instantly eliminates these costly errors. Once a formulation is chosen, simply tell MoonWalk the volume you require, press the button and go do something else, such as applying the Wet-On-Wet (WOW) primer. MoonWalk doesn’t get tired, hungover or have ‘a bad day’ – it simply mixes with absolute precision every single time.

Incorrectly sprayed out colour card (with incorrectly mixed colour) – A conventional spectro reading doesn’t give you anything to look at – just a match rating. In contrast, the six angles of colour camera images and six angles of reflectance from DigiMatch provide the enormous amount of data required to actually generate a 3D colour spray-out of the target vehicle colour within the VisualizID software. It allows you to easily compare the closest variants under different lighting sources and angles, as well as check on the face, flop and particle size. It’s so straightforward, choosing the best match can be done quickly and with confidence without leaving the paint room or relying on sunlight. In fact, a non-painter can easily be trained to do it. 

Efficiency gains

All through the process, PPG LINQ delivers valuable gains in efficiency. For example, instead of the painter spending time mixing the colour, MoonWalk takes over. It accurately carries out the mix which frees up the painter to go back into the spray booth to blow down and tack-rag the job, apply WOW primer, rinse the primer gun, etc.

An investment in the present

Like any game-changing technology, an investment is required but you should also expect a return on that investment. DigiMatch and VisualizID are available via a very reasonable monthly subscription so it’s a no brainer. Some people can baulk at the upfront cost of MoonWalk but, if you think in terms of other large equipment investments, such as a chassis straightening bench or the latest welder, it’s something that is going to give you a Return On Investment (ROI) while it’s being used every single day. Not only does it come with a full set of tinters, each of those tinters will be used down to the last drop, in contrast to throwing away an average of 7% because it’s too difficult to get out of the container. Not only does it reduce mixing stress on painter and give them extra time, it also reduces material wastage and its ultra precise mixes reduce reworks. All this needs to be factored into the ROI calculations. PPG actually has an ROI calculator where figures from an individual shop can be plugged in to determine how quickly they will get a return on their MoonWalk investment.

Demonstrated benefits

First things first, don’t listen to hearsay. Get a demonstration of DigiMatch, VisualizID and MoonWalk and see them in action to fully understand what they can do for your business, including:

  • Slashes paint shop stress levels and gives painters extra time
  • Virtually eliminates the need for manual spray-outs
  • Cuts colour matching time from hours to minutes
  • Significantly reduces material wastage 
  • Eliminates much of the human error element that leads to rework
  • Helps to attract / retain staff
  • Can take your customer experience to an all-new level
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