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PPG Shares Environmentally Friendly Auto-Refinishing Technology

Ongoing support for Pennsylvania College of Technology students by PPG Industries Automotive Refinish is marked, from left, by J. Todd Warren, a PPG sales representative; Debra M. Miller, the college's director of corporate relations; Brison W. Kearney, of Williamsport, an alumnus of the collision repair technology associate-degree major; and collision repair faculty members Michael R. Bierly and Roy A. Klinger.Technology with the potential to change the auto-refinishing industry on par with the introduction of the spray gun 75 years earlier is in the hands of collision repair students at Pennsylvania College of Technology, thanks to the generosity of a longtime corporate partner.

PPG Industries Automotive Refinish, a major equipment and training contributor to the college’s School of Transportation Technology, recently donated an Envirobase High Performance waterborne-coatings system to the collision repair program in College Avenue Labs.

Donation latest in longtime partnership between PPG, Penn College“PPG is one of the premier industries in collision repair refinishing, and its generous donation of cutting-edge, water-based refinishing technology will enhance our students’ overall learning to a professional level,” said Michael R. Bierly, a member of the college’s collision repair faculty. “Our students will be able to enter the workforce with a whole new technology and be ready to apply it.”

Primarily used in Europe, Canada and California, where air-quality regulations require lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the system replaces solvent-based paint with a waterborne latex basecoat that is as efficient as it is environmentally conscious.

“We believe that, by January 2012, all body shops will be mandated to be water-based,” said J. Todd Warren, a sales representative for PPG Automotive Refinish, whose seven-county territory includes the Penn College community. “PPG is ahead of the crowd on this one, among the earliest adopters of this new technology. There’s a lot of loyalty among our customers. They know and trust PPG, and we’re making a huge impact on the industry.”

Jim Kvatek, supervising instructor at the PPG Pittsburgh Business Development Center, discusses spray-gun nozzles with Penn College students ...Warren acknowledged that the switchover can be daunting for body shops, but he said the advantages both for the environment and for business transcend the learning curve. Some recognizable names, from the Blaise Alexander dealerships on the regional landscape to Penske Racing on an international level, already have made the conversion with no inclination to turn back.

On the “green” frontier, the move to Envirobase High Performance saves more than 300 pounds of VOCs annually for an auto-body shop that mixes an average of one gallon of basecoat per week.

... and, in the well-appointed College Avenue Labs, trains a vocational instructor on use of waterborne auto-body finishes.“That is the equivalent of eliminating emissions from more than 1,000 vehicles per year,” said Warren, a member of the school’s Collision Repair Technology Advisory Committee.

There are economic benefits, too.

“Customer service will be re-energized by this product,” Warren said. “It dries in two minutes. That’s 60 percent faster. I don’t have to calculate the drying rate of solvent on a cold day or on a hot day; it dries at one speed, consistently without color-shifting or mottling so I’m not standing around wasting time between coats.”

Warren and Jim Kvatek, supervising instructor at the PPG Pittsburgh Business Development Center, returned to the collision repair paint bays for hands-on sessions with Penn College students and faculty, as well as with instructors in automotive programs at vocational high schools.

And because 70 percent of the waterborne market is in Europe, PPG plans to take a group of Penn College collision repair students and faculty to Italy for a global perspective in the land of Ducati, Fiat, Ferrari and Lamborghini.

For more information about collision repair technology and other majors within the School of Transportation Technology, visit online or call 570-327-4516. For more about Penn College, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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