Moving Toward a More Efficient Industry

July 1, 2021
A look into how the paint industry has evolved in the past year,
and ways to continue to push forward and grow.

The world has continued to evolve and change since the last “Painter’s Playbook” in 2020. While the state of the future remains unknown, more solutions to the complex challenges brought on in the last year have been created. Through the innovation of technology, tools, and products, the future of the paint industry is looking bright.

To look at how shop owners and painters can face the new set challenges in 2021, FenderBender sat down with Tony Larimer, director of sales and marketing at Dan-Am Company, the exclusive independent importer into the USA and Puerto Rico for SATA, to discuss upcoming opportunities and time-saving new tools.

What does the paint industry look like in 2021, and what are some trends that you have noticed?

Efficiency has been a really big theme in the paint industry this year. Everybody has to work efficiently—from shops, to distribution partners, to manufacturers. There’s less traffic on the road today with more people working from home, resulting in less accidents and less work. Now, shops need to make profits on less work by speeding up efficiency in order to lower costs.

This shift is causing painters or shop owners to buy more products or systems that are more efficient, from spray guns to paint cups—all that goes into efficiency. So at SATA and Dan-Am Company, we’re continuing to do what we’ve done for years, which is teaching painters how to use products and systems to become more efficient.

Are there any other specific challenges you see facing the paint industry today?

It’s been difficult for shop owners to find painters right now; there seems to be a definite shortage. This is partly because many vocational schools have had limitations on being able to be open since 2020. We’re hoping to see that improve drastically over the next few years and that the vocational market gets more press. 

We need skilled technicians—and today it’s not just painting. Painters need to know everything from computer analysis to ADAS, including knowledge of crash sensors, in order to ensure that every job is done well. There’s a lot more liability now, so we need a lot more training. But at the same time, shops need to be able to find quality painters that want to work hard and come to work each day.

What are some upcoming opportunities that you see on the horizon for the industry?

Trade shows are starting to come back, which gives us a chance to get SATA out in front of more people and talk about efficiency and how to use equipment properly. We, of course, had an awful lot of experience in the last couple of years doing online training, so we’ve gotten better at that as well. Social media has also definitely grown as a way to make information and training more accessible to painters.

Our company feels strongly that each customer and painter is part of the SATA family, and we want to help to improve their skills. So the growing training opportunities are exciting and seem to be trending forward in a more positive way. I think that we’re starting to see people get back together in larger groups, and I’m looking forward to the times where we can get back in front of the industry.

What else has SATA been up to as a way to face current challenges?

We introduced the SATAjet® X 5500 a couple of years ago and we’re now continuing to work on widening the nozzle range to cover a versatile number of products and application systems. SATA has also been improving the range of nozzles in all guns. Our primer/sealer gun, the SATAjet® 100 B, has introduced a “Sealer” nozzle which has worked with 90 percent of paint company’s sealers to produce a better fan shape and improve accuracy.

But the largest new release from the past year has been the SATA® Filter 500 series, which has some great efficiencies about which we’re really excited. One of the bigger advantages of the new Filter 500 series is the CFM improvement. The previous SATA® Filter 400 series could go up to around 127 CFM, whereas this new filter series goes up to 135 CFM. The improvement in air volume allows the filter series to not only filter at one point of use, but can now be used to clean the air for an entire shop. Another notable improvement to the filter series is the new system for changing cartridges. Now, painters have the ability to simply drop a new filter cartridge into the canister and click it in place with a new bayonet-style filter cartridge and housing. Plus, the carbon filter is now replaced only every six months, rather than three months. These updated filter cartridges and airflow changes to the filter series help to improve overall efficiency for the painter and the shop.

Looking forward, SATA will continue to work towards making things more and more efficient, all while improving quality along the way.

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