Spies Hecker makes matt finish paint repairs as easy as regular jobs

8 September 2023 – With the matt finish trend still very popular with car manufacturers and car owners alike, Spies Hecker has created a process for its best-in-class Permacron® Matt Clear System, based on Axalta technology, to repair these notoriously tricky finishes.

Tony Mitchell, International Training Manager for Axalta's Refinish business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, says, “Matt finishes are not only growing in popularity, but also with an increasing range of gloss levels. The first matt finishes from car manufacturers were more semi-matt or satin in appearance, but the trend today is for finishes that are flatter, with much lower gloss levels. Our new Permacron® Matt Clear System, comprising Permacron Matt System Clear Coat 8185 and Permacron Semi-Gloss System Clear Coat 8170, which can be mixed together to deliver high-quality OEM matt finishes, of all gloss levels, ensures easier processing for refinishers allowing them to achieve a perfect matt finish every time.”

Step one

Clean the vehicle so that an accurate colour reading near the damaged area can be taken with the Spies Hecker spectrophotometer, ColorDialog Phoenix. However, with a matt repair, a refinisher cannot simply polish the finish to remove any scratches or oxidation on the surface. The refinisher must look for an area that is undamaged and free of scratches, free from surface contamination and as close to the damage as possible from which to take the spectro readings. Once that area is chosen, clean it with Permaloid® Silicone Remover 7010 or a waterborne cleaner such as Permahyd® Silicone Remover 7080. Follow this with a product developed for matt finishes then use Permahyd Silicone Remover 7080 to make the area ready for the readings.

Step two

Take the colour readings as usual. Mitchell says, “Once the colour measurement has been done on the vehicle, it’s time to retrieve the formula and, more importantly, determine the matt level for the repair.”

When doing a search in the Phoenix digital colour management software, it is possible to filter by matt colours thanks to a “gloss / flat” toggle. Once the colour formula has been chosen, the refinisher can find the matt level or matt level group suggested for the formula in the information text box. They then chose the substrate and enter the matt level or matt group in the Ancillary Mix section.

Step three

Mix a small amount of the colour formula and create spray out cards.

Mitchell says, “Remember to make them on a larger panel as part of Spies Hecker’s best practice recommendation, and not on the end of a mixing stick. This is to ensure that the application method is identical to that which you will use later. Even though the formula has been mixed specifically for that vehicle, there are many variables that can impact the final gloss levels, such as the age of the vehicle, how it has been maintained, previous repairs, natural weathering and even original manufacturing variations on the same car.”

For these reasons, Mitchell suggests that refinishers not only create spray out cards of the default mixture for the suggested matt level group, but also samples either side of that to take into account these possible variables.

Mitchell says, “Ensure you label everything correctly and keep the cards for future use if faced with a vehicle in the same colour that may not have the same gloss level.”

For optimal reproducibility, the spray out cards should be created by the same person who will ultimately repair the vehicle.

Step four

Compare the colour cards to the vehicle where the colour measurement was carried out in good daylight conditions and make the decision on which to use.

Step five

Prepare and mask the vehicle, as usual.

Step six

Mitchell says, “First, use the correct undercoat colour as stated in the colour formula. Then, apply the basecoat. Depending on whether you are using a Spies Hecker waterborne or solventborne system, you will need to refer to the Permacron® Matt Clear System Technical Data Sheet as there may be differences in the basecoat process. When using Permahyd Hi-TEC 480, our premium waterborne basecoat, refinishers must not leave any area of the repair uncoated or gloss differences will be visible.”

Step seven

Next, prepare the clear coat. This step is simply a repeat of the mixture of the two clears from the spray out card exercise. Stir the material thoroughly. Phoenix, the digital colour management software, will guide the refinisher through the mixing steps.

Step eight

Applying the matt clear is straightforward: it is a two-coat application with an intermediate flash off.

Mitchell explains, “The first coat is a closed coat that should be applied very evenly, followed by 15 minutes of flash off time. The second coat is a full coat with staggered overlaps to prevent high film build in any one area, but this is best practice for any two-coat clear. The only danger at this point is if both coats are not applied wet and full, there is a risk of patches being created. It is important to stress, this is not a system that should be applied in a light or mist coat followed by a full coat.”

After the second coat has been applied, the final flash off is 15 minutes.

Step nine

Finally, take care during reassembly of the car. It is not uncommon that some slight marking or marring of the fresh clear may occur. These can be removed by simply spraying them with a dedicated glass cleaner, allowing it to sit for a few seconds, then wiping it off with a clean microfibre cloth.

Mitchell concludes, “Spies Hecker knows matt repairs are tricky, but ultimately it is the result that counts. Our Permacron® Matt Clear System delivers what our refinishers need for these types of repairs: the widest range of matt levels, a system that is easy to mix with simple application and no special techniques, very good drying that is similar to traditional clear coats, a uniform and consistent final appearance and excellent reliability.”

To find out more about repairing matt finishes, watch the dedicated Spies Hecker Video-TEC seven-minute video here. For the full series of videos, visit the Spies Hecker YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/SpiesHecker. For more information about the brand, please visit www.spieshecker.com.