“Green from Day One” is the first thing you’ll notice, on the sign at the driveway entrance to the new Chapman Collision Center, at 2085 Lisbon Rd., in Lewiston. “Because we opened this shop from scratch, just this past December,” said Bob Chapman, “we were able to do everything right. We were able to help protect the environment, provide a healthier workplace for our own people, and do the best possible job of matching factory-original paint jobs, all at the same time.”
Using a waterborne basecoat from PPG Industries instead of the more conventional solvent-based systems can reduce the amount of smog and ozone-damaging VOC chemical compounds released into the air by as much as 80%. “This is the latest technology in use in as much as 90% of auto manufacturing,” Chapman explained, “ but it’s a relatively new capability in collision repair facilities. Not only is it good for the environment, but because it’s the same process as the factories use, it enables us to precisely match factory colors.” Chapman knows what he’s talking about. Before opening his own shop, he had spent 19 years running body shops in Augusta and Lewiston-Auburn.
“The new technology lets us do a better job for our customers,” he said. “Controlled, consistent pressure from new stainless steel paint guns provides a consistent coating that is virtually the same as the original. You’d be surprised,” he added, “by how many subtle variations there are to each color produced by each manufacturer; but we can match them all.” The shop is equipped with a Devilibiss direct gas-fired baking booth along with a Drive on 360 degree frame machine.
Chapman’s 8,000 square foot shop, with 15 working bays, is three miles from Turnpike exit 80. It can accommodate everything from custom-paint jobs on motorcycle tanks to huge tour buses and dump trucks. It is the only heavy-duty repair facility in the area, with a 14’x14’ door and an 80-foot-long bay. “If it rides on the road, it can fit in our shop,” Chapman laughed. They have personnel licensed to operate big rigs, and they can provide on-site estimates wherever the equipment might be.
Chapman Collision handles all insurance paperwork for their customers, including rental cars (drop-off and pick-up as well). “Our goal,” Chapman explained, “is to get our customers’ vehicles repaired in the right amount of time, the first time.” He tells the story of a driver from Massachusetts who was rear-ended in a collision in Portland recently. That customer was referred to Chapman by a friend, and was happy with the repair job. Unfortunately, the same driver was involved in a second accident two days later, and was back at Chapman’s.
“Eventually, the whole industry will move to the kind of technology we’re using now,” Chapman said, “but we are well ahead of the curve. It’s expensive to convert existing equipment to what is needed for these new coatings, but we’ve been able to get it right – to go green – right from the start.”