Paint lines changing, VOC’s are “OUT”. Automation is “IN”.


“The times they are a changing.”

With most paint companies looking hard at their colorant systems it may be time for you to do the same. Some paint manufacturers are moving their dealer base to fully automated solutions such as in the case of Benjamin Moore, Ace Hardware, California, Behr,  and Mythic. While others are now requiring a micro gauge dispenser in order to dispense parts of an ounce as small as 1/384 of an ounce, such as True Value Hardware and some Valspar dealers. The reason for these changes are all tied to the high strength, “LOW VOC”, “VOC Free” or “NO VOC” colorants that paint companies are rolling out across the industry. These high strength colorants are more efficient and therefore it takes less material to create the same color within a base. Also, many companies are reformulating their bases in order to better absorb the new colorants.

The other thing that these new colorants have or really, don’t have is VOC’s. Things such as glycol that for years kept colorants from drying too quickly and made it easier to incorporate the colorants into paint bases are being removed from the colorant systems. All these changes are going to mean different things to paint dealers. Some dealers will look at this as an opportunity to re-focus on a part of their business that may have been overlooked in the past years. Others see this as a chance to offer customers a new level of “green” with the LOW and NO VOC paint and colorants that many customers are demanding. The only thing that we can be sure of is that this move towards excluding VOC’s from paints is here to stay and will ultimately see ALL VOC’s removed from paints and colorants in the next decade.

To a dealer that is wondering what NO VOC and LOW VOC will mean to their sales i can sum it up here:

    • Dealers that are moving to a LOW VOC product will likely be given the option of using a modified manual dispenser that includes nozzle sealers and tight fitting lids together with high precision gauges capable of 1/384th of an ounce dispensing. This solution may be sufficient for retailers that are going to LOW VOC however if your paint line is going NO VOC this will likely not be enough.
    • NO VOC dealers will probably be going to a fully automated solution with nozzle sealers and humidifying systems to ensure that the all water based colorant does not dry when not in use. This system will also ensure proper dispensing through a computer controlled pumping system.

While fully automated dispensers are pricy when compared to manual solutions, the cost can be divided over a decade of use. Also, if you are a store going to LOW VOC colorants now it is possible, and in our opinion likely, that in the next 10 years you could change again to a NO VOC product.\r\n\r\nSo in the long run the Automated solution is already the right solution should that happen. VOC’s pose a serious health risk as this story will show. These compounds release gases over a number of months (and sometimes years!) as they cure on the wall. The removal of these compounds from paint is a key objective for the EPA and state regulators. So prepare now for the future of paint which is far greener and automated than it is today.

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