March 29, 2012

Walker Motors Collision Repair Has 'Gone Green'

Walker Motors Collision Repair, Inc., recently completed a three-day training workshop at its Memphis facility as part of the transition to waterborne paints. Pictured (L to R) are Bob Grende, territory manager for Valspar, Brent Walker, Larry Kelso of Performance Auto Color, Kevin Kearns, Rick Webber, Landon Pence and Jamie Bartels of Valspar and De Beer refinish products.

Unbeatable color match has gotten better. Walker Motors Collision Repair in Memphis recently announced the company has gone green with a state of the art waterborne refinish system.

Owner Brent Walker reported the move became official at the end of February when he and his staff completed a three-day training seminar in Memphis, with the owner of Performance Auto Color, and representatives of Valspar and De Beer, to finalize a transition to waterborne paints.

"The technology has been around for 20 years, and all of the auto manufacturers are already using this type of paint system," Walker stated. "The government is eventually going to transition our industry to these standards, we just decided to make the move ahead of the game."

The move has transitioned the company's painting system from solvent-based to waterborne. This new type of application helps lower the volatile organic compounds (VOC) content released in the process, which benefits everyone's safety and health.

The process utilizes the existing state-of-the-art downdraft paint booth at Walkers, simply making adjustments in the air movement in the facility.

"Our downdraft/bake paint booth still works fine for this type of application, really the only thing different will be the type of paint guns we use to apply the paint," Walker stated.

The company has been using waterborne paints in various applications for approximately a year.

"I know this is a proven product," Walker said. ", It has been in use in Europe for over 20 years and in our country for about ten now. By making the transition now, we are going to be ahead of the curve."

The transition was made much simpler by the willingness of the companies involved to travel to Memphis for the three-day training event.

"That was a win-win situation for us," Walker said. "I didn't have to send my staff to Dallas, Texas, on three separate trips, taking them away from home and out of the shop. They were able to learn this technology right here with the equipment they are going to be using every day."

Having the Valspar and De Beer paint representatives come to Memphis spoke volumes about the technology available at Walker Motors, and the commitment Brent has always had to keeping his facility the best it can be.

"They wouldn't have come to Memphis if our facility hadn't been up to their top standards," Walker said. "It was really quite an honor that they were willing to do this. They just wouldn't go to your average body shop. 'Their training facility has the best equipment to do the job we do every day. Ours was as good, so De Beer was willing to train us right here''

Walker noted that the transition to the waterborne paints was spurred by what he views as looming government regulation changes that ultimately may force all auto-paint to be more environmentally friendly. Still he stressed the fact that he is convinced this new paint style is well tested, the future for all collision repair facilities and the direction our government is going to improve air quality in this country.

"I'm sure when people hear waterborne, there can be misconceptions,"' Walker said. " I'm sure when people hear waterborne, there can be misconceptions This type of finish is the most durable ever designed. The color match and long lasting color hold out is the best it's ever been in our industry. And I wanted my company to have the improvements for our customers."

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