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Behind the scenes at the Resene Group Tinting Facility

A visit to the Resene Group Tinting Facility in Lower Hutt comes with a bit of razzle dazzle. This busy area is where Resene paints are given their colour tints for large and specialised projects – and it’s full of personality. There’s colourful pictures on the walls, a pail of Resene Glamour Puss on the paint mixing machine and it’s the workplace of Resene’s resident style icon, Lui (whose amazing tie collection is not to be missed). 

The Group Tinting Facility colours “everything and anything”, from pale and neutral tones such as Resene Barely There to full-throttle yellows such as Resene Turbo. This vibrant area of the Resene manufacturing facility often attracts staff from other areas of the business who stop by for their daily dose of fun and colour. 

“We try to keep people happy. Some people come here to get away from it all and enjoy the plants and the colour,” says Lui. “It’s pretty cool here.”

Shake it up

To create Resene’s vibrant colours, Lui and the team put Resene paint tones onto a paint tinting carousel, adding precise formulas of pigments into each container before they are shaken in the industrial mixing machine for two minutes and thirty seconds. The colours are then painted onto a special swatch for quality control. “The Colour Lab will double check the colour and we can do adjustments if need be,” explains Lui.

The Group Tinting Facility in Lower Hutt is where all Resene paints are given their colour tints.
Lui makes sure to have fun as well as work hard, and he’s channelled his love of colour into the brightly coloured workspace.

A hint on tints

While the tinting facility is no doubt a joyful place to work, creating quality paints and colours is quite technical and comes down to some clever science. There are thousands of colours in the Resene Total Colour System and their beautiful tones are due to their high-quality raw materials and manufacturing. To understand what makes Resene colours so special, it’s important to understand what paint is made of. 

The main components of paint are:

  • Binders: These help the paint stick to a surface, bind the pigments to the paint and form a protective film. The type of binder used will depend on the type of paint it is and the painting task at hand. Solventborne binders are often referred to as resins and waterborne binders as a latex.
  • Pigments: These are the solid, insoluble materials that are added to a binder to produce colour, reduce gloss/sheen and provide physical properties such as texture or anti-corrosive qualities.

True colours

Beware of other companies who claim you can tint their paint to match any Resene colour. Although the colour might look similar in the tin, the result can be very different once dry and even more different the longer the paint is on your walls. This is because of the different paint binders and pigments used by each paint manufacturer and also Resene’s top-quality proprietary paint tones. Resene also makes its own highly concentrated tinters and these are only available from Resene. 

There are special tinting ‘rules’ that Lui and the team must follow to create Resene’s range of colours. For example, there are limits to the amount of tinter that should be added to each tone, and if too much or too little is added it can affect the opacity of the paint or interfere with its film-forming properties. It’s not recommended to tint a very dark colour in a white tone as the result may end up ‘over-tinted’. Over-tinting can mean the paint may be thinner, harder to apply and will wear faster and you will have to repaint your surface more frequently. Professionals like Lui know what they are doing.

Resene paint tones are placed onto a tinting carousel and precise pigment formulas are added into each pail before they are shaken in the industrial mixing machine.
The team can tint every one of the thousands of colours in the Resene Total Colour System plus a whole range of custom colours. Fun fact: one paint pail is the equivalent of 166 testpots.

Material whirl

Quality paint is all about raw materials. Using cheaper paint is often a false economy. Although you might save money when you compare pail to pail, cheaper and lower quality paints often spread thinner and require additional coats, the paint degrades and may require repainting sooner, the colour fades faster or the paint doesn’t protect the surface as well as premium paints. But why is this? 

The cost of raw materials can vary considerably depending on the quality. Low-cost paints usually use cheaper pigments that will not have the same quality of lightfastness and fade resistance, which means they will fade faster once they are on your wall and may need extra coats to get a good finish. 

And it’s not just colours that are affected by pigment quality. Titanium dioxide is a key raw material in most white paint but not all titanium dioxide is created equal. Resene’s titanium dioxide goes through premium processing to improve its coverage and durability. These advancements might not be visible to the naked eye, but Resene’s processes ensure the titanium dioxide particles are at an optimal size of 200-300 nanometres, are coated to capture light-generated free radicals and have other coatings added to ensure they can be readily dispersed into their paint binders. 

There are also all sorts of additives that go into paint too, everything from rust inhibitors and UV inhibitors to biocides and more, which all have their job to do from minimising rust to helping to reflect UV light and deter mould and bacteria.  In many ways making paint is similar to making a cake – if you want the best quality cake you have to use quality ingredients, which tend to be more expensive.  

Resene paints and colours are at the cutting edge of science, but Lui makes sure that the work stays fun at the tinting facility. He’s known to bust some moves around the paint shaker machine and also uses Resene testpots to upcycle trash into treasure to brighten up the workplace. “We’re a paint place so it should be colourful,” he says. “You’ve got to love life, life’s too short to be miserable.”

Top tip: When it comes to pigments, Resene CoolColour formulas are a breakthrough in paint science that makes painting exterior surfaces in dark colours easier and safer. Resene CoolColours contain special heat-reflective pigment technology that means darker colours won’t get as hot in the sun compared to normal paint. The standard carbon black pigment that absorbs heat and light in normal paint is replaced with a unique pigment that enables more of the infrared portion of the sun’s energy to be reflected, helping to protect your paint and surface cooler and reduce UV light damage.

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