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Meet the Resene Big Batch team

Imagine painting an entire apartment building, or a stadium, or an office building. If it takes approximately eight litres of Resene paint to cover a 48sqm living room with two coats, you can imagine how much paint it takes to cover the inside of an entire apartment building – thousands of litres! But the painters tasked with painting such large spaces don’t bat an eyelid, and neither do Norm and the team at the Resene Big Batch facility.

“Here at Resene Big Batch we make batches of paint ranging from 2500 litres all the way up to 18,000 litres,” says Norm, Naenae Plant Operations Manager.

“The majority of our work is with white paint, which is a big priority for us and it’s the bread and butter of Resene manufacturing.”

Did you know that Resene’s 20 most popular paint colours are all paints from the Resene Whites & Neutrals range? Resene Black White, a chalky white with a hint of black, was Resene’s highest-selling paint last year taking out the top spot for the sixth year in a row. Resene Black White was followed by Resene Alabaster, a crisp white with a black edge, Resene Half Black White and Resene Sea Fog, a misty white with a hint of grey.

While the hardest part for most is choosing which of the huge Resene paint colours to use in their home, paint manufacturing is a technical business for the Resene Big Batch team. The majority of Resene’s extensive paint range, including popular Resene SpaceCote for interiors and Resene Lumbersider for exteriors, are waterborne meaning they are water-based. Water is combined with precise amounts of binders and pigments to produce a base colour paint. Binders are what allows paint to stick to a surface and pigments are added to the binders to create physical properties such as gloss/sheen. Resene paints come in a wide range of bases from white through to ultra deep and specialist red, yellow and ultra tones, which are then tinted to produce the required colour.

Norm and his team are responsible for making large batches of Resene paint, ranging from 2500 litres all the way up to 18,000 litres.
Big Batch make mainly white paint, which is their most highly demanded paint. They call it the ‘bread and butter’ of Resene manufacturing.

The lab in the Big Batch facility checks each batch of paint for quality control, testing the paints and looking at particles under a microscope to check they are made to the exact specification in order to be true to colour as well as tough and durable enough to withstand our extreme weather conditions.

To deal with such high volumes of paint the Big Batch facility uses some state-of-the-art robotics.

“I’ve been with Resene for 15 years and the mechanics are now all automated with volumetric fillers. It’s pretty great to see these upgrades happening here at Resene,” says Norm, who has given the newest machine in the factory the nickname ‘Roberto’. 

Once the paint ingredients are combined in high-tech vats, the paint is dispersed into paint buckets before being processed through a conveyor belt and then packed and palletised in a high-tech automated process.

“Our forklift operator will then pick up the pallets and take them to the logistics team for dispatch,” says Norm.

While the facility is state of the art, it’s the workers that are the beating heart of the operation. Norm and his team maintain the machinery, audit orders, test the paint and get it ready for Resene’s valued customers. 

“All these guys are really hard workers and keen workers. They love coming here – and me being the boss I hope that’s a bonus,” laughs Norm.

The 3000 litre let-down stage is where all the loading of the pigment is done.

Resene innovations over the years

Resene has been at the cutting edge of paint science since its launch in 1946. Click on each year below to see some of Resene’s major milestones, or head here to read more about the company’s humble beginnings.

An illustration from an early advertisement for Resene waterborne paints; a portrait of Resene founder Ted Nightingale; an early colour chart for Resene Hi-Glo Latex Roof Paint.

Ted Nightingale was searching for an alkali-resistant paint to cover concrete buildings, and when he couldn’t find something suitable, he mixed his own in a cement mixer in his garage. He called this paint Stipplecote.

Ted launched New Zealand’s first waterborne paint, which he called ‘Resene’ after the main ingredient in water-based paints, resin. Around this time the company opened a factory in Kaiwharawhara, Wellington.

Resene has also been an innovator in colour technology and systems. Resene set up a new system of colour, the British Standard Specification colour range (BS2660 range), which provided a range of strong colours at a time when New Zealanders were used to pastel colours.

As the demand for waterborne paint grew, Resene upgraded its manufacturing capabilities, moving to a factory in Gough Street in Seaview, Lower Hutt, where it remained for 25 years.

Resene’s first ColorShop opened, innovating the paint buying experience for homeowners and specifiers.

Resene is the first paint company to provide a full range of testpots.

The Resene Multi-Finish colour range was launched – an extensive range of colours with an interlinked tinting system. It’s been a favourite since its launch.

Resene’s manufacturing facilities moves to its current location in Naenae Lower Hutt.

Resene launches its groundbreaking waterborne enamel paints, Resene Enamacryl gloss and Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss. This new generation of ultra-durable low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints replace traditional solventborne resins used for painting trims and joinery.

Resene has been a leader in sustainable manufacturing long before these ideas hit the mainstream. Resene joined the Environmental Choice programme (now known as Eco Choice) to help customers choose paints that are better for the environment. Today most of the paint Resene sells is Eco Choice-approved, including popular products like Resene Lumbersider, Resene SpaceCote and Resene Lustacryl.

The first of Resene The Range fashion colours fandecks was launched with a collection of the latest colour trends. This collection is now updated regularly to bring in the latest colour hues for inspiration.

The first Resene EzyPaint virtual painting programme was launched too.  It was so popular after being advertised on TV once that the sheer demand for people downloading it immediately crashed the website. This was quickly fixed by buying more bandwidth to keep up with the demand.

The Resene PaintWise programme is launched. Since the, more than six million paint containers have been recycled and more than 250,000 litres of recycled paint has been donated to communities to cover graffiti. It is the only paint recycling programme accredited by the Ministry for the Environment.

The first issue of habitat magazine was published in 2004 and has since grown into a biannual printed magazine, a website, weekly email and plenty of inspiration via social channels.

The Range Whites & Neutrals collection was born, offering strength variations for the most popular Resene colours, making it easy to choose a tone on tone colour palette. This collection became a new favourite chart and was later followed by individual palettes. The collection has continued to grow since as whites and neutrals evolve with the latest trends.

MasterStroke by Resene aired its first video for decorators to learn painting, wallpapering and decorating tips and tricks to help them achieve better quality finishes with confidence. The first videos have now been joined by a website and other social channels so you can get decorating knowhow wherever you are.

Resene remains a family-owned business, led by Ted’s grandson Nick, and continues to innovate with new products launched regularly to help homeowners and specifiers find solutions to their decorating and home maintenance needs. 

Recent Resene innovations include Resene FX Faux Rust Effect, a coating system that gives non-metal surfaces such as wood the look of rusted metal, and Resene’s range of plant-based paints such as Resene Room Velvet which is made from hybrid waterborne alkyds.

Resene recently launched Resene Blackest Black, Resene’s darkest colour created with nanotechnology that utilises the finest paint particles available to create superior blackness.

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