When most people think of choosing a paint, the first thing that comes to mind is choosing the color. Should the bedroom be beige or ivory? Should the trim be green or burgundy? Once the color is selected, the next order of business is deciding how much is needed (a quart, a gallon, etc.) and what gloss is appropriate. Flat, eggshell, satin… Most anyone who has ever painted a room has had the exact same conversation with the attendant at the paint counter about the differences between glosses.
Can A Robot Paint an Artistic Masterpiece? Can there be such a thing as an “artistic robot?”
What a ludicrous question! Of course a robot can’t paint an artistic masterpiece, right? Art relies on feeling and emotion and interpretation…the artist must be inspired as they work, creating brushstrokes not as form, but as expression! The application of paint not as a simple coating, but as an emotional outpouring of something deeper, something hard to define, something SPECIAL! Conversely, robots only do what they are “told” or programmed to do. In other words, a robot is only capable of reproducing the original work of a human based on commands it receives from a human, right?
Most people know that there was once a time that lead (Pb) was a key ingredient of paint. Lead was also commonly used in the manufacturing of toys, pipes, and even gasoline in the 20th century. Years of absorbing exhaust from automobiles using leaded gasoline even contaminated soil, making it difficult for plants to grow. Most people also know that lead poisoning can be fatal in adults and creates environmental issues for plants, water sources, and pets and animals. Even a minor amount of exposure to lead paint can damage the central nervous system and cause everything from headaches to stomach and digestive problems. Tragically, a high percentage of the severe health problems associated with exposure to lead paint happen in small children.
One of the most prevalent mistakes in any business is thinking that a lower price than the competition is always a good business strategy. The notion that customers will be attracted to the lowest priced vendor seems reasonable at first, until the deeper meaning of such a strategy is uncovered. For starters, there is likely someone else capable of delivering the job at an ever-decreasing price point. Secondly, reducing price to win business signals to the customer that your offering may not just be inexpensive, but also “cheap.”
The line between having leftover paint and not having enough to finish the job is thin. Being on the right side of that line is of vital importance to the modern paint professional. The cost associated with an extra gallon or two of unneeded paint can be the difference between a profitable job and a waste of time and money. Compounding the issue is the fact that many painters lack visibility to the company’s bottom line; they don’t realize that using too much paint on a job can cost their company a significant amount of money.
Once upon a time, the use of paint was limited to two specific purposes: paint existed either as protection for a substrate or as decoration. In recent decades, new additives and mixtures have yielded paint that is capable of not just protection or decoration, but that also has function all its own.
Last week in Rise of the Machines we discussed the ever-changing landscape of the professional paint sector as it related to innovations and advances in robotics. This week we will be looking at three recent innovations in industrial paint robotics and technology, and how those innovations affect the professional commercial painter.
My friend Oscar spent years building a reputation as an excellent commercial painter. Living in South Texas, he had developed a niche business painting equipment in the oilfield supply sector. However, as competition increased, Oscar felt the need to lower prices to remain competitive. Oscar’s reputation for doing a great job turned in to a reputation for being inexpensive, and being inexpensive meant he had to race from one job to the next to generate more revenue instead of taking his time.
If you are a professional painter that owns or works for a small company, you are no doubt familiar with the challenges of finding new business. Competition is significant as there is no shortage of other painters vying for the same jobs you are. Considering there are only so many hours in a day to actually perform the work, it is imperative that paint professionals be attracting the right jobs to their business if they are interested in succeeding long term.
Early in my career as a professional painter, I took for granted the importance of consistency in the paint I was using. I suppose I never thought about the quality control processes that must exist to ensure that every gallon or quart of a paint produced at the factory maintained the intended chemical and physical properties. If the label said the formula and color were correct and the mixer said it was correct, who was I to second guess things?