The Evolution of Paint Protection

The historical roots of paint protection date back 200 years! Yes, that is right, before the first ever car was even manufactured!

Since the birth of this phenomenon, there has been continuous development of the concept of enhancing and protecting automotive paintwork. We like to refer to these developments as ‘generations’. As such, today we consider Ngenco to be the Next Generation of protection; the 5th generation.

But you may be wondering how we arrived here?

First Generation – Wax

In the early 17th century, the world’s first wax was developed from animal fats in a small town in Germany called Bischofsheim. The function of the wax was to protect the lacquer like paint that was applied to animal drawn carriages. This predates the manufacturing of the first car by almost 100 years. In the year 1886, Karl Benz launched the world’s first “vehicle powered by a gas engine”, today we know this brand as Mercedes-Benz.

Whilst only the wealthy could afford these new cars, it made sense that protecting their expensive paintwork developed into a business also. In 1910, the US company Simoniz  created ‘Simons Paste Wax’, derived from the wax of the ‘Carnauba’ palm found only in Brazil. The success of this rare natural wax encouraged less expensive and more convenient innovations later in the century, with the first bottled car wax invented by Ben Hirsch, Turtle Wax® named for its hard-shell finish.

Whilst wax provides a high glossy finish to cars, it do not last very long and requires regular reapplication.

Second Generation – Polytetrafluoroethylene

Also known as PTFE is a synthetic fluoropolymer. Fun fact, this was discovered accidently by the DuPont chemist, Roy Plunkett in 1938 whilst trying to invent a better coolant gas. After checking a frozen sample, he and his associates were to find that the gas had polymerised leaving a white, slippery, waxy solid, which is impervious to extreme temperatures. This was the birth of PTFE, which was originally marketed as Teflon™.

PTFE was further refined and developed for the automotive industry from 1969. These new polymer coatings did not bond with the paint at a molecular level, but created a protective layer on the surface of the car, about 0.2 microns thick, producing similar shine to wax, but providing longer lasting and stronger protection of up to 12 months, but unlike the original Teflon product were easily removed if required.

Third Generation – Paint Protection Film

This thermoplastic urethane film can be traced back to the mid 1950’s during the Vietnam War, when the US Military contracted 3M to invent a solution to protect and extend the life of helicopter blades from being damaged by shrapnel and debris. Resultantly, the solution was a lightweight film which could be wrapped around the rotor blades providing the necessary protection without hindering performance.

It wasn’t until the 1980’s that PPF caught the attention of the automotive industry. It was originally used by professional racing teams to protect the front end of their race cars from track rubber, debris, and close contact driving. By the 1990’s the urethane film became available to the general consumer, primarily purchased by high-end car owners.

Today, PPF, can last from 5 to 10 years, and comes in a variety of thicknesses and colours.

 Fourth Generation – Ceramic Coating

At the turn of the new century came the creation of Ceramiclear™ by PPG industries. This was the first automotive clearcoat product which used nano particle technology.

With the advancements in technology, most notably, around 2010 the first in a series of ceramic products were created; these products were designed using nanoceramic technology for the automotive, aviation and marine industries, suitable for a variety of surfaces both interior and exterior. As a result of the nano technology, ceramic coatings bond to surfaces at a molecular level by sealing any nano-pores in the paint, lasting longer but being difficult to remove.

Fifth Generation – Paint Protection Spray

We have now arrived at the newest technological breakthrough; paint protection spray. Fading, peeling, cracking, scratching, oxidising and discolouration are all common flaws associated with previous ‘generations’ of paint protection products. Ngenco Ultra-Fast® is the only product on the market designed as a crystal clear, durable, safe method of protecting paintwork and carbon fibre on the most vulnerable areas of a car from the everyday rigours of the road.

The sprayable film consists of 3 coats of a Rubber Base and 2 coats of a Gloss, Matt or Satin Topcoat which can be applied, baked and dried in under 4 hours. The act of using a spray gun to apply the product eradicates any joints, cuts or edges as seen with Third Genertion PPF, making it indistinguishable from the original paint work, whilst providing 200+ microns of protection.

Ngenco Ultra-Fast® has self-healing and hydrophobic properties. It can be used to protect the car, or it can be used to customise the colour of a vehicle. This is completely reversable as the coating can be professionally peeled off without any damage or residue; perfect for maintaining the integrity of the car’s original paintwork.

It should be said that paint protection has come a long way from its origins back in the 1700s. What has remained constant however, is that auto enthusiasts take pride in their cars. However, cars are destined to pick up stone chips, scratches, insect damage and other general paintwork blemishes, as such there will always be a need for paint protection and Ngenco Fifth Generation Paint Protection Spray is the latest solution on the market.