Last week, I introduced a basic synopsis of the latest genre of paint protection products known as- paint coatings.   These products, when properly installed, can eliminate the vehicle owner’s need to reapply a coat of wax every few months as their longevity is often measured in years!

Kenzo-graph2The idea of even two years of paint protection is a pretty radical notion for most people and there have been many products and purveyors, over the years, claiming the same thing but falling woefully short of their lofty claims.  If you have purchased a new car in recent years, you may have experienced such a pitch.  Many new car dealers will offer some form of a ‘paint protection package’ based on X years when the buyer is signing the sales papers in the finance department.  Sometimes the dealer sends a bottle of product home with the buyer to apply and sometimes the buyer is required to bring the vehicle in every 3- 4 months in order to maintain the protection and corresponding warranty.  The product doesn’t last the years stated, in fact, in only last a few months because it constantly needs reapplication!

I will simply state that the previously mentioned offers of paint protection in no way, shape, or form, remotely compare to paint coating systems.  At best, what your dealer has offered you is a polymer based, paint sealant, which needs to be reapplied every 3- 4 months and charged you a hefty fee for a product anyone could buy at their local auto parts for probably less than a twenty spot.

With that in mind, paint coatings have been around for nearly a decade and the results speak clearly.  When professionally applied under the rigid processes they demand; these products meet and, in some conditions, exceed their expected life spans.

Today, coating companies are constantly tweaking existing formulations and developing new products to continue pursuing greater durability, ease of installation, and better environmental protection.  You have read my introduction and general opinion of these products as a professional detailer but you should also be exposed to the opinions of the manufacturers also.

Disclosure: Dellinger’s Detailing & Paint Care, LLC, is an authorized installer of IGL Coatings and uses said products in their day-to-day operations.

Chun Chieh Keong, CEO and founder of IGL Coatings, lives in Malaysia, home to one of the most adverse climates on earth for automotive paint systems.  I met Keong recently at SEMA 2015 and he agreed to a formal interview…

Keong, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.  What prompted you to create or start IGL Coatings?

Thank you, Gabe, please allow me to introduce a bit about my background. I began my career working for a German OEM industrial coating manufacturer based out of Malaysia. We developed coatings for glass, wood, metal and plastics. Textured, soft feel, fluorescent , glow in the dark bulbs etc.

In 2008 we decided to diversify into other sectors. Personally, I always wanted to create an exceptional windscreen coating. As you know, the forecast in South East Asia shows heavy precipitation almost every day, and it creates a situation where operating a vehicle is very dangerous because of poor road visibility. The current solutions in the market were not very durable and it was a hassle to reapply frequently. I focused on an intense market study of professional auto detailing products and found the aggregate value approaching $36 billion, USD. I proposed a business plan to my shareholders and it was approved with me heading the new company and thus IGL Coatings (formerly known as iGreenLover) was born.

I know SE Asia is subject to a very unforgiving climate.  Extreme temperatures, very high humidity, salt from the oceans, torrential monsoon rains, etc…  How has this adverse climate affected the development and testing of the IGL products?

Right, and I must highlight how much acid rain we usually experience due to the pollution too. Malaysia is still a developing country and currently subject to massive industrial expansion. Humidity here is roughly 90% with average temperature of 93F  so, the heat and rain is intense at virtually all times.

We focused on 2 key aspects and developed a few prototypes that I had this theory that if our coating is able to work well in our extreme climate then it should perform well all over the world.

Where are IGL products manufactured?

All products are manufactured in Malaysia.

How do IGL Coatings & products appeal to those who are eco-conscious?

Company-wide, we have an internal guiding principal regarding our formulations: We do not use materials that are highly hazardous and we strive to achieve Zero VOC (volatile organic compound). And finally, our last criteria is- plant derived ingredients. Our internal commitments do limits us in our selection of raw materials, which is a huge challenge, but we are determined to create a new genre of green products of which other companies will strive to follow.

IGL is a relatively new company to the car care aftermarket.  What assurance can you offer to retail customers or professional detailers that your products will perform?

We are a relatively new company in the professional detailing marketplace but we have been prototyping and testing products since 2008. Collaborating with larger raw materials provider such as BASF, ShinEtsu and Dupont and researchers from local universities has provided valuable insights and ensured our formulations were lab tested per the automotive paint test rule set by ASTM, ISO or JIS.

Earlier in the post I mentioned how new car dealers try to pass off paint sealants as paint coatings.  How does a paint coating differ, in technical terms, from a traditional wax or sealant?

The difference between a silica/ceramic coating versus sealant or wax is the materials used to produce them. A wax is mainly just mixtures of waxes, oils, binders and maybe some polysiloxane. Same goes for sealant. As for silica/quartz coating, it is usually polysiloxane blend, carrier and some catalyst.

Thank you for entrusting Dellinger’s Detailing with the exclusivity of installing IGL’s professional coating line- Kenzo.  Specifically, what separates Kenzo from other professional coatings on the market?

Kenzo is really a very special coating. It consists of a 2 component system Kenzo Base and Kenzo Top. Kenzo Base acts as a super strong binder that crosslinks with the -OH bond of the paint. This crosslinking effect improves the marring resistance of the original clear coat without causing it to be brittle. Furthermore, it creates a surface that allows Kenzo Top to crosslink at a much faster and intense speed. This is further sped up with the Titanium catalyst in Kenzo Top, thus, the leveling time is much shorter for Kenzo Top, ranging from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. As Kenzo Top is applied, the surface slickness improves tremendously, this is due to the Fluorine chain that we added into Kenzo Top to give it the immense slick and hydrophobicity. A non professional that is not trained to perform the proper installation and inspection will end up with a vehicle that has plenty of high spots visible only under UV/ the sun.

Compared to Quartz or Poly that is a 1 component system, and using Tin as catalyst, they are a much more forgiving coating to be applied.

Why should a prospective customer choose Kenzo over IGL’s other coating options?  What are they gaining with the increased price?

Kenzo comes with a extended warranty compared to other coatings coupled with superior resistance to micro marring and extremely easy to maintain surface. The extended warranty that is provided by the distributors are 36 months subject to terms and conditions and proper maintenance.

Kenzo comes with a written warranty.  What does this protect the owner of the vehicle from?

This warranty is provided by IGL Coatings dealer to the Purchaser and is against blistering, bubbling, cracking, delaminating or peeling provided however that such warranty shall extend to the provision of new IGL Coatings ecocoat coating in the event of breach of warranty (labour costs included) & that such warranty shall become null & void if not installed by an IGL Coatings dealer following all installation practices & guidelines as specified by IGL Coatings or any updates thereof, or if improper or negligent care or if the end user fails to maintain IGL Coatings ecocoat in accordance to any prescribed instructions or if any physical damage to the surface on which IGL Coatings ecocoat coating is damaged by any cause beyond the reasonable control of the end user.

Quartz Plus is a two part coating system that combines Poly (base layer) and Quartz on top.  Was this intended from their conception?

This was not intended in the beginning. While formulating Kenzo, I was basically trying to upgrade either Poly or Quartz. In the end, I upgraded both and then I noticed by accident that due to a catalyst that I added in Kenzo base, it created a chemical reaction between Kenzo Base and Kenzo Top. Out of curiosity, I tested Poly and Quartz and I got similar results.

In your mind, what is the number one reason one should choose a paint coating versus a traditional wax or sealant?

The long durability of silica coating is the biggest selling point. Of course I would like to add that silica coating provides much improved UV resistance compared to waxes. Especially our Ecocoat Headlight, we added higher amount of UV inhibitor so that the UV does not oxidize the bond between the coating and the coated surface as fast.

Conversely, what is the number one reason one should choose a traditional wax or sealant versus a paint coating?

Budget. Silica coatings are generally more expensive. Hence if the customer is on a tight budget, they should opt for a traditional wax or sealant. And of course if the individual loves working out weekly by waxing their car, wax is definitely the choice.

 The process to prepare a paint system for a coating is pretty rigid in the fact that a professional detailer has to wash, decontaminate, polish, remove oils, and then apply the coating. Optimal bonding and longevity of the coating are determined by the effectiveness of each subsequent step.  If a consumer purchased one of IGL’s retail coatings, what advice would you give them prior to application? 

A consumer that decides to apply either of IGL’s retail coatings will definitely not achieve the same results as a professional detailer. In any coating job, the surface preparation is very important. Furthermore it is just not feasible because a customer will have to spend additional resources to purchase all the products and then take the risk of applying the coatings on their own.

I have posted my thoughts in regards to the real benefits a paint coating can offer in a previous post. As we both know there have been instances where similar products have been ‘hyped’ to levels that simply don’t reflect reality.  Do you want to address any areas of possible misconception concerning coating products?

There are indeed plenty of misconceptions in this industry and it is truly unhealthy.

 There is a lot of debate about hardness of fully cured coatings. What does the ‘pencil test’ mean in the real word?

We can easily buy a range of pencils with different grades.  The harder the pencil, the easier it is to scratch coatings or paint.  By using a fixed weight and angle, we moved the pencil across the coated surface to determine the surface hardness.  Pencil hardness comes in the range of 9B to 10H.

 I am of the belief that no wash process is 100% ‘safe’ from inflicting marring. Many will argue with that and that is fine.  Along the same line, I have noticed that coatings can help minimize wash induced damage.  Is this true and to what extent if it is?

 

Coatings will definitely help to minimize wash induced damage and it is achieved via two aspect of the coating. First, it is due to the higher hardness of the coating and second ,it is due to the inherent slickness of the coating.

If a customer purchased a detail that featured Kenzo as the last step, protective product, how can they best maintain the coating? Or any IGL coating for that matter?

Kenzo, Quartz and Poly can be maintained with a simple wash and a half annual maintenance with Ecoclean Iron and Ecocoat Premier.

Let’s say a customer purchased a detail that featured Poly as the last step, protective product. On paper, Poly’s functional lifespan should approach approximately 12 months of service.  Hypothetically, a year has passed since the service, how can the driver of the coated vehicle know, with confidence, the coating has expired?

A coating lifespan is very subjective. Poly and Quartz is actually both rated as 2 years coating. This means the adherence of the coating on the surface. The coating is usually wore out due abrasion. So a garaged car will have different lifespan compared to a car stored outside in the weather.

 Besides Kenzo and the other coating products, is there another IGL product that stands out in your mind?

Our Ecoclean Interior is a fantastic interior cleaner and Ecoclean Glass+ is one of the best water spot removers for glass.

 

I hope Keong’s words provided some valuable information concerning IGl’s products and I am continually impressed with their price point, performance, and overall value.  Next week, we will talk to another heavy hitter in the professional detailing marketplace- CarPro’s, Corey Carruth!

Should you have any questions about the interview above or would like more information on how IGL’s coating systems can benefit your car or truck, please contact Dellinger’s Detailing today!