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Surface coating vital in the fight for thousandths of seconds in racing sports


Waterborne paints and state of the art technology put German bobsled team on the winning track for “Operation Olympic Medal” in Turin

Münster/Turin. In all racing sports surface coating plays a major role in shaving thousandths of seconds from the finish time. But it is also the deciding factor in giving the vehicle a media-appropriate appearance. This presents a challenge to refinish technicians and designers, who are supposed to use as little paint as possible to save weight and at the same time develop and apply a chic, durable, and scratch-resistant coating. The two-woman bobsled of World Champion, overall World Cup champion, and German National Champion Sandra Kiriasis of Winterberg, Germany, attests to the fact that this is possible and that even eco-friendly waterborne basecoats can be used in high-performance sports. For the first time, Glasuritâ “90 Line” environmentally friendly waterborne basecoat has been used for this bobsled. The new bobsled got the name “Nimbus 2006” from former German box-world-champion Sven Ottke.

Pilot Sandra Kiriasis has set an ambitious goal: winning the gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. On February 20 and 21, 2006 at 5:30 pm the bob track in Cesana Pario will be the place where the developers’, technicians’, and refinishers’ work will be put to the ultimate test and the world will see whether the pilot herself is right on the mark.

New look for the bobsled

Designer Margit Niedergesäß and her husband, master refinish technician Peter Niedergesäß have already earned their personal gold medal. In summer of 2005 in Klein Döbbern, a small town near Cottbus in Eastern Germany, they began painting work on the bobsled that is to lead 31-year-old pilot Kiriasis and her team of brakewomen Anja Schneiderheinze (28), Berit Wacker (24) and Marie-Luise Humpert to the gold. The bob’s paints come from Humpert’s home town of Münster, Germany.

In the last five years, the bobsled has radically changed its appearance. At the request of one of the sponsors, the former “Flying Shark”, so named because of the shark jaws painted on the tip of the bobsled, has turned into a racer with a winter flair.

Designer Margit Niedergesäß, who regularly watches bobsled races as both a fan and from the design perspective, had to take a range of interests into account when designing the appearance of the bobsled, carefully considering choice of color and the psychological impact of various designs. The paints and colors had to look good on television, especially considering that during the Olympics the tracks will be illuminated by floodlights. Another important aspect is integrating the sponsors’ logos into the overall design by taking color and visual aspects into account.

Margit Niedergesäß thought long and hard - and Sandra Kiriasis was delighted with her “snow bobsled”. Niedergesäß said, “I wanted the bobsled to look like ice-cold snow: iridescent.” She chose a white with a hint of blue (Artic White). “Tribal symbols” were integrated as well. To make the “snow effect” clear, she added a mother-of-pearl effect to the bobsled.

The interior of the bobsled also displays an absolute innovation. Usually the interior doesn’t have a design, but the new “snow bob” does. It features a winter landscape.

“The overall color scheme underscores the bobsled’s dynamics and gives the impression of elegance in movement,” says Niedergesäß, a designer for lacquer art. She designed the flashy shark as a trademark five years ago.

Master refinisher Peter Niedergesäß followed his wife’s instructions to bring the design to life. Niedergesäß, who is also the former European Truck Trial champion, decided to use the 90 Line waterborne basecoat this year for the first time. “We’ve been working with Glasurit products for 16 years and decided we’d like to try 90 Line for painting the bobsled,” says Peter Niedergesäß, who received his training at the Glasurit Training Center in Münster.

When it comes to his experience with the waterborne basecoat during the refinish process, “trouble-free application, short flash-off times, and optimal hiding power of the paints” are all features that convinced him that 90 Line is the way to go. “Over 15 years ago, when waterborne basecoats were introduced to automotive refinishing, we couldn’t - or perhaps wouldn’t - imagine that these paints were durable and resistant,” Niedergesäß recalls, grinning at the thought of all the reservations on the part of the refinish scene. Today the 90 Line waterborne basecoats are the world’s most successful waterborne paint system in automotive refinishing - making it extremely well-suited for big (racing) challenges.

Refinishing the bobsled was done in the same sequence as refinishing a car, starting with primer, filler surfacer, 90 Line basecoat, and ending with Glasurit 923-155 Clear. The bottom line is hand craftsmanship - everything is painted by hand. Both spray painting and the airbrush technique are part of the application process.

Now the bobsled is ready for its pilot and her brakewomen to capture the gold at the Olympics. Here is the technical data for the bobsled in its battle with the clock: length: 2.70 meters, width: 0.67 meters, two axles, four runners, weight including the two-woman crew: 340 kilograms. It can reach a speed of 130 kilometers per hour, thanks in part to the decrease in weight while retaining the high quality as a result of optimal surface coating.

Glasurit Automotive Refinish

Under the Glasurit brand, BASF markets a comprehensive range of automotive refinishing paint systems, focusing on eco-efficient waterborne basecoats and high-solids paints. By using these systems all legal solvent-reduction requirements can be complied with anywhere in the world, and with regard to appearance and resistance, the products meet the same quality standards as solvent-borne paints. In this area, the company offers a wide variety of services to support its customers. Glasurit Automotive Refinish is approved by most of the leading car manufacturers for aftermarket repair worldwide and chosen by them for its color expertise. Internet:


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