Nippon Paint Automotive Malaysia assistant general manager of the marketing department Ong Eng Keong (left) and Nippon Paint Automotive Malaysia senior marketing manager (automotive) Eugene Yong in a group photo.
A bad sample from the QUV test.
Making sure the masking tape is properly glued to the panel for the pull test.
A bad result from the humidity test.

For many of us, choosing an automotive paint for a vehicle would probably mean choosing the owner’s preferred colour, but there is more to paint than just colour.

Automotive paint will not only enhance the appearance of a vehicle for aesthetic purposes, but it will also double as protection for its bodywork.

Nippon Paint (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd took us on a tour around its research and development centre in Shah Alam to witness the stringent testing that its paint has to undergo to produce good quality paint. The finished product is more than just wonderful colours from the result of colour-blending.

There are a few factors to identify good-quality paint.

Firstly, good-quality paint will not detach from the vehicle’s body.

Secondly, paint with a good-quality finishing coat material, like lacquer, is able to resist minor scratches. Some even have “self-healing” features, in which minor scratches will “heal” when its parked under the hot sun.

Thirdly, the colour of a good quality paint with the right finishing coat will be able to withstand longer without fading

Lastly, good-quality paint and proper coating will protect the vehicle against salt water. The vehicle’s paint will not detach even if its exposed to salt water.

According to a survey conducted by Nippon Paint (M) last year, 71 per cent of car owners in Malaysia repainted their cars for a change of colour. Others repainted their cars due to car accidents, attractive repainting promotions and to resell.

A car repainting is more than just a change of colour. Repainting your car is a form of protection and can increase its life span. For those wanting to sell their cars, a repaint will fetch a higher resale price.

“To those planning to repaint their cars, remember to look for a reputable brand, as the quality of paint makes a difference,” Nippon Paint (M) senior manager of marketing automotive division Eugene Yong said.

At the media experiential session, Yong presented a range of automotive total-coating solutions and full-coating systems. It consisted of automotive coating solutions ranging from commercial range Nippon Ultima, specifically for buses and trucks, to the premium Nax Premila 2K, commonly applied on high-end cars.

For its full-coating systems, Nippon Pain (M) has products for surface preparation, undercoating, topcoating, clear coating and polishing. Of all the products presented, the CyGlaz technology, which is available in the Nax Crytal 9905 range, caught our attention.

The Cyglaz technology is a formula that increases the durability of the paint’s coating, enabling the coating to form a layer of shining, smooth and durable protective film on the surface of the vehicle. It also has self-healing properties that uses the sun’s heat to heal small scratches.

After the product presentation, we witnessed durability tests on Nippon paints. The company tested their product against a competitor’s.

The first test was the Pull Test. It involves attaching a piece of industry-approved masking tape to an area marked with an “X”. This tape is then quickly and forcefully pulled to determine the adhesion strength of the paint and its substrate layers. The results is that the adhesion of Nippon’s paint was strong and no paint was left on the tape, whereas the competitor’s paint was stuck on the tape.

Next was the Pencil Hardness Test. It tests the surface hardness of a paint’s coating by using pencil hardness to determine whether the coat is scratch resistance. The pencils range from 6B, the softest, to 9H, the hardest. Nippon’s product has no sign of a scratch after the test.

We then witnessed the water soaking, humidity, accelerated weathering (QUV) and salt spray tests.

The Water Soaking Test examines a coating’s ability to adequately protect a vehicle’s surface in immersion conditions.

For the Humidity Test, the test panel is exposed in an enclosed chamber containing a heated and saturated mixture of air and water vapour. This high humidity causes condensation to develop on the panel.

After thousands of hours of stringent testing, the result should indicate adhesion ratings such as blistering, de-lamination, change in colour or gloss and softening of the paint.

After the Humidity Test, we witnessed the results of QUV. The test simulates outdoor weathers, such as sunny, rain and dew, with special fluorescent UV lamps and a water spray. This accelerated weathering test can simulate damages that occur to vehicles over months or years.

Last but not least, we observed the Salt Spray Test. This is a standardised accelerated corrosion test used to evaluate the relative corrosion resistance and test the corrosive tendency of a metal or coated surface when it is scratched. This is because vehicles frequently exposed to sale at the seaside are more prone to rust. Therefore, having a proper coating can protect it from rusting.

It is hard to imagine the testing process of a product just to develop good-quality paint. The hours and years of research and findings, however, not only make the vehicle look good, but also protect it.

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