The long awaited Part 3 is about polishing compounds. Sierra Glow doesn’t use off the shelf compounds, in fact, our guiding light, Mr. Sato-san designs them. You might ask, how do you design a polishing compounds. First, you need to be a chemical engineer. Then, you really need to know car paints and the chemical engineering of those paints. Our polishing compounds are unlike all others in terms of quality and engineering standards. Just the fact that we have 6 different compounds in our arsenal of tricks to create the shine that is known as Sierraglow!
History of Paint, Polish and Compounds
As car paints have evolved and developed, polishing compounds too have made equal strides in their development. Automotive paints started to improve with thinner, more durable and harder than the paints used 30 years ago. Only after 1990, urethane paints started to replace the lacquer paints. These paints applied had larger molecules, and took a long time to dry. Because of the size of the paint molecules, it was difficult to use spray guns, and a lot of the spray came out heavy or thin. Hence, the surface needed to be towel buffed and a silicate mineral was applied to smooth the rough and uneven spots. As this paint was soft (considered to be no more than 1H), the buffing was fairly easy.
But, there were other problems with the car paint industry forty years ago, as the polishing process generated powders that caused health problems such a respiratory diseases and pneumoconiosis. Once aware of this problem, the car paint industry developed completely different Standards of Procedures (SOP). The new SOP included enclosed painting and polishing booths. These completely enclosed booths controlled dust, and painters used masks while working. Large and efficient air filtration systems were installed. At the same time, the paint was changed from the large molecules lacquer paints to urethane which also generated much less powder.
With the increase in paint hardness and with urethane paints, paint hardness was improved as well as paints became thinner and had more gloss. The polishing industry began using rotary buffers and Buflex and Aburalon pads were used to make surface smoother and increase the gloss/shine.
In Europe, compounds made of aluminum oxide, for only final polish, equivalent to 1500 to 2000 grit, are produced now. The goal is to be able to remove swirl marks and surface paint scratches from the newer hard paint applied by car manufacturers today.
This can be done today with improved polishing compounds and gear action orbital buffers. The polishing compounds we use are able to crash scratches and smooth the surface without damaging paints.
Conventional polish method is to polish paints using compounds made by garnetmand froth silicates. At Sierra Glow, we do not polish paints but crash scratches with specially formulated compounds. Many car detailers in Malaysia are unable to match Sierra Glow polishing effect as they use conventional polishing compounds. If a 10 deep micron scratch is removed by using conventional silicate compounds, 8 to 10 deep micron and must be polished. That is, they must polish to the depth of the scratch or swirl.
At Sierra Glow, we polish with our compounds, we can crash 10 micron scratch by just polishing 1 micron deep! This is a whole new level of polishing as we do not need to go so deep as the method involves a “crash” of the swirl lines. Let me explain:
Polishing Mechanics at Sierra Glow
New urethane paints have new characteristics, and one of these changes results in a structure modification at the temperature above 55 degree C.
Therefore our method is that uneven paint is crashed by utilizing buffers and our special compounds by polishing and make the surface smooth before surface temperature increases above 55 degree C. When surface temperature increase over 60 degree C, paint molecular structure get loosened and become difficult to polish and paint get burnt.
We want the paint to get warm, but not hot…and it is a very fine line to maintain the warm but not hot. We do this with our specially formulated compounds and by using gear action polishers. That why we warn our customers and fans not to go to any car detailer if they are not using a gear action polisher. Our polishers are made by Compact Tools, but more amazing (and unknown to many) is that our Sifu, Mr. Sato, was the consultant/advisor to Compact Tools on designing these highly special polishing buffers. Wow.
To summarize: paint has changed and now paints are harder, thinner and glossier. This has required car detailers and car coating companies to adapt to the new paints. Sierra Glow is the leader by changing their SOP to do the best job. We have 6 polishing compounds in our arsenal of tricks, as paints are not the same. BMW is harder than Proton, for example. So, we use our compounds for the different issues we are presented. Finally, because we know paints, we have the ability to “crash” a swirl or a scratch by working on the blemish with our Compact Tool, gear action polishers which does not overheat the paint. Overheating paint is a disaster, and it is our polishing compounds and buffers that allow us to do the best polishing job for our customer’s cars.