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Tenth anniversary of current Spies Hecker Training Center in Cologne, Germany

Refinish paint brand Spies Hecker has been based in Cologne, Germany, for more than 135 years and started its first international Training Center in 1981. In 2007, Spies Hecker opened a purpose-built Training Center in Cologne, adjacent to its offices. Every year, up to 4,000 visitors from around the world attend events and practical refinish seminars at the facility.

When planning the Training Center, Spies Hecker’s aim was to reinforce its close partnerships with bodyshops and to continue to improve the technical refinish knowledge of its customers. To achieve this, the 1,600m2 technical area was fitted out with cutting edge bodyshop equipment that has been continuously updated and improved to stay ahead of industry demands. A similar amount of space was devoted to classrooms and offices. All common bodyshop scenarios can be replicated in the training area devoted to practical skills. Specially developed training courses cover the entire range of refinish skills needed for paint repairs to passenger cars and to commercial vehicles, as well as industrial paint jobs. Training, seminars and international conferences with customers and sales partners take place in the Cologne Training Center on over 200 days a year.

Training the world

“We design our training courses so they are solutions-oriented. We also ensure they take into account the specific needs of the participants, so that they can really benefit from it in their everyday work,” says Joachim Hinz, Spies Hecker Brand Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). “We welcome refinishers and bodyshop owners from all over the world and convey not only practical know-how but also a bit of the Cologne lifestyle in a relaxed atmosphere.”

Cutting edge application methods and effect paints

Evgeny Khmelev, Spies Hecker Training Leader for EMEA, adds, “digital colour matching is of increasing importance in our training in order to keep abreast of the new effect paints car manufacturers introduce on a regular basis. With the ColorDialog and ColorDialog Delta-Scan spectrophotometers and our web-based colour software Phoenix, our customers are able to identify and to match these colours quickly and accurately.”

Equipped for the future

The Training Center is well-prepared for the future, and it ensures the refinishers who visit are too, thanks to practical training in using new, efficient and energy-saving materials and application methods. The energy-optimised operation of all equipment, in particular the spray booths, ensures CO2 emissions are up to 80 per cent lower than standard, non-energy-optimised equipment. The innovative energy recovery system of the spray booths and the small industrial spray unit makes it possible to reduce energy consumption by approximately 50 per cent compared to booths without energy recovery.

Worldwide training offering

With its pioneering training concept, the Cologne Training Center provides the blueprint for the brand’s refinish seminars in other countries. Around the world, Spies Hecker customers can use a total of 50 training centres to develop their skills. Of those, 35 are in the EMEA region. In order to offer customers the same high standard at all training centres, Spies Hecker works with a Train the Trainer principle. International trainers are regularly schooled in Cologne so they can share their newly acquired know-how about products, paint application and colours with customers in other countries.

In the UK, the Axalta Training Academy is based in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. It offers refinishers a comprehensive range of one- and two-day courses including Hi-TEC Performance, ColorDialog, Three-Stage Finishes and Speed Repair. It also offers IMI assessments. To find out more or to book a training course, please visit

About Spies Hecker
Spies Hecker, one of the global refinish coating brands from Axalta Coating Systems, develops optimum and practical paint system solutions that can make bodyshop work easier and more efficient. With 135 years of success behind it, Spies Hecker’s high-quality product systems, customised service and targeted training demonstrate its partnership with the refinish industry. The Cologne paint brand is one of the world’s leading vehicle refinish brands, and is available in over 76 countries worldwide.
Spies Hecker – simply closer!

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