Study of painters’ biggest challenges led to evolution of 3M PPS Disposable Paint Cup System

Oct. 10, 2017
The team identified three key areas for improvement - cleanliness, simplicity and peace-of-mind. They designed the 3M™ PPS™ Series 2.0 Spray Cup System to deliver these benefits.
When the 3M™ PPS™ Disposable Paint Cup System was first developed in 1996 in England by 3M engineer Steve Joseph, it revolutionized how painters in the collision repair industry prepared, painted, cleaned and managed the paint process.  And doing so reduced solvent use by up to 70 percent and decreased prep time by up to 50 percent.
To get to this breakthrough, 3M invested considerable time and effort understanding the challenges of traditional metal paint cup users and developing potential solutions.  The company assigned a dedicated team of experts to work alongside painters to better understand their challenges and invent a creative solution to address these challenges. Joseph and the team spent three months in a body shop working alongside painters as part of the research process. Flash forward to 2017. 3M engineers have spent the last 20 years in paint booths and mixing rooms around the world finding ways to continue to improve upon the paint process. As a result the next generation of 3M™ PPS™ — the 3M™ PPS™ Series 2.0 Spray Cup System — was born. The team identified three key areas for improvement - cleanliness, simplicity and peace-of-mind. They designed the 3M™ PPS™ Series 2.0 Spray Cup System to deliver these benefits.
Opportunities for Improvement
3M’s research with painters around the world found these opportunities for improvements in the vehicle painting process:
  • Cleanliness - Reduce potential for contamination in the paint process like flakes due to improper equipment cleaning and maintenance
  • Simplicity - Cut down on non-productive assembly time
  • Peace-of-Mind - Make it easier to deliver consistent performance and stability even when using larger cup sizes

“At 3M, we are committed to constant innovation and applying new scientific solutions to our customers’ challenges,” said Steve Joseph, Division Scientist for 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division, and inventor of   3M™ PPS™.  “The evolution of the 3M™ PPS™ Series 2.0 Spray Cup System will turn the industry on its head with advanced performance, efficiency and cleanliness.”

Painters give it high marks:
“The new 3M PPS Series 2.0 solves problems I didn’t know I had,” said Chad Saale, automotive painter from St. Peters,MO, who participated in the product testing.
“The new 3M PPS Series 2.0 saved me time setting up my gun and changing colors, gave me more confidence when spraying with a bigger cup, and delivered a better finished paint job,” said Jacob Miles, Milestone Paint and Body, who tested the system as part of the 3M PPS World Cup event.
“The biggest benefit for me is a new collar every time, one piece less,” said Nicholas Parks, automotive painter from Oakley, CA who also tested the product.
Product Advancements That Provide Improved Performance
No Separate Collar Required: To improve the cleanliness in the paint process and eliminate potential sources of contamination due to equipment cleaning or maintenance, the 3M™ PPS™ Series 2.0 Spray Cup System integrates a disposable quarter-turn lid locking system into each lid to limit the amount of parts reused in jobs to just the durable outer cup:

  • By eliminating the collar, 3M significantly reduced the chance of dried paint flakes -- caused by improper system cleaning - from damaging a fresh paint job
  • For added convenience and improved cleanliness, each new lid and liner kit box contains a new hard outer cup
  • The new system also contains a wider gun-to-cup adapter to make cleaning residual paint between jobs easier and faster

Keep It Simple for Success:  For high-production painters, any time spent on repetitive activities like cup assembly is not only non-billable but also take away from time painting vehicles and detract from maximizing efficiency.  The 3M team worked to reduce this assembly time with three improvements:

  • 3M replaced the separate collar component, opting to provide a quarter-turn lid locking system instead
  • An “access window” was also added into each hard cup, making it more convenient to view the paint remaining throughout the job, but more importantly, to give the painter better access to grab the liner when assembling or refilling the cup
  • Since inception, the 3M™ PPS™ design has avoided additional assembly steps such as separate filters or vent plugs, instead opting to integrate components directly into each unit, and  3M™ PPS™ Series 2.0 Spray Cup System takes it a quantum leap further

Reduce the Variables that Can Cause Inconsistency, Inefficiency:  Painters are keenly aware of and control an endless number of variables to obtain the desired results.  One trend is to prime/seal or clear coat a range of parts in a single cycle via batch painting to improve efficiency and consistency, but this requires a larger paint cup. The 3M team’s goal was to give painters peace-of-mind, eliminating a few of these variables, especially when using a larger cup, including:

  • Using a larger, heavier cup can cause some painters concerns when hand shaking or adjusting the spray angle, so the new 3M™ PPS™ Series 2.0 Spray Cup System integrates a wider, more robust adapter with a stabilized four-point connection, including retention tabs with locking undercut geometry
  • The wider adapter, when combined with a domed lid design used in all 3M PPS Series 2.0 lids, also allows for more paint below the filter while spraying, providing better flow and reducing sputtering
  • The quarter-turn lid locking system provides a firm seal to avoid any concerns of paint leaking

For vehicle painters, the new 3M™ PPS™ Series 2.0 Spray Cup System will again revolutionize how they manage their painting process.  While the original 3M™ PPS™ has been the industry standard bearer for two decades, it will relinquish its crown with the launch of 3M™ PPS™ Series 2.0 Spray Cup System.
The new 3M™ PPS™ Series 2.0 Spray Cup System will be available in the U.S. and Canada in Fall 2017 through local 3M distributors.  For more information in the U.S., download the new 3M Collision Repair App in the Apple Store or visit   For more information in Canada, visit and for French speaking media:

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