25,000 new formulas every year.
Glass flakes, high chroma Ruby Red, brilliant Prism Silver - the wealth of variants in car manufacturing is growing. Axalta addresses these challenges by developing annually up to 25,000 new colour formulas in its colour labs around the world.
Every year, Axalta produces 25,000 new colour formulas globally. The European colour lab develops an average of 100 new formulas every month. In Shanghai, China the figure is closer to 500. Additional colour labs can be found in Tlalnepantla, Mexico, and in Front Royal, Virginia, USA.
In all the labs, the colour development processes are standardised to ensure that the colour results are the same.
“ It’s our job to provide professional Spies Hecker refinishers with the right colour needed to deliver the most accurate colour match paint repair possible.
Ann De Clerck, Axalta Colour Marketing EMEA
1. Essential: collect information.
First of all, it’s very important to find out which colours will appear on which models in the coming year.
For this reason, we collect the car manufacturers’ colour ranges as well as OEM colour standards for all new colours.
2. A refinish formula regardless of the shade.
Colours may vary from the official colour standard if they have been applied at different OEM productions sites, or if the vehicle has spent several years on the road.
For this reason the colour marketing department collects car parts in order to gain an overview of the range of colour variants. Refinish formulas must also be available for these colours too which is why we produces variants and service formulas.
3. Working with pigment manufacturers.
The colour team has close links with pigment suppliers. That helps us to incorporate colour trends very quickly and introduce pigments pro-active.
4. Colour development.
Special, proprietary software is used to develop the colour, while colour lab technicians use a microscope to identify the type of effect.
A digital spectrophotometer takes the required colour readings and all the data is entered into the software. Then, the software produces an initial colour formula proposal.
5. Spraying sample.
The proposed colour formulas are applied using robots. This helps to ensure that all colour labs apply the material using the same methods and it also helps to replicate bodyshop conditions.
6. Checking under different light conditions.
With the paint dry, the colour is compared with the standard prototype. Because different types of light can have a significant impact on colour, we then check the new colour under varying light conditions. To produce the required, accurate final colour formula, the colour specialist, with the help of the software, may need to carry out additional corrective steps.
7. From the lab to the bodyshop.
When the colour has been approved, the corresponding colour formula is entered into the Phoenix colour software and becomes accessible to all refinishers.
The update of colour samples in the Color Index follows later.