Back in 2019, PPG introduced its innovative MoonWalk paint mixing system to the world in a bid to revolutionise the refinish industry. MoonWalk is a self-contained system designed to replace manual mixing methods with an easy-to-use automated process. Boasting incredible mixing accuracy and precision, MoonWalk helps to reduce labour time and product wastage whilst maintaining a clean, safe environment for paint technicians.
With over 1.200 MoonWalk systems installed in bodyshops and repair centres across the world since its launch, PPG’s Refinish team was over the moon to bring this groundbreaking technology to North Africa for the first time in June 2022.
Kia Casablanca is a mid-sized dealer based in Casablanca, Morocco, that has experienced substantial growth in the past three years. Speaking on behalf of Kia Morocco, Nicolas Schmit, Aftersales Director at Kia Maroc, explains how he first discovered MoonWalk technology whilst working at a trade show in Europe:
“I had the opportunity to see the machine at the Equip’Auto Show in 2019. While working on a stand at the show, I was able to see a demonstration of the machine and soon as I returned to Morocco, I thought, ‘we’re going to have to move forward with this’.”
When it came to planning the transition to MoonWalk, PPG technician Frédéric Richard was on hand every step of the way. Working closely with Nicolas and the PPG importer in Morocco, Atlas Peinture, Frédéric and his team planned for each stage of the process; from initial discussions about the bodyshop setup through to training the Kia Casablanca team post-installation.
Painting and refinishing processes in the automotive sector can differ by region or place in the world, and North Africa faces some specific challenges due to its warm climate. Nicolas Schmit explains how MoonWalk has helped Kia Casablanca to overcome some of the difficulties the region faces:
“In Morocco, we almost exclusively use solvent-based paint systems and we had so many problems with colours because the formulas weren’t always appropriate. That is no longer the case today, thanks to MoonWalk. We use less paint and are more precise, so it’s win-win on both fronts.”
Nicolas also had initial concerns with how the Kia Casablanca team would adapt to the new technology, but thanks to the support of the PPG team, the transition was smooth and successful:
“There was a double challenge for us: firstly, the move to a waterborne product, and secondly, to be able to use MoonWalk.
It can be complicated for our teams that aren’t used to working with computers and technology, when people have worked a certain way for 10 to 15 years and then they are told that they will have to work differently. My teams who weren’t familiar with the technology were a bit apprehensive. That’s where PPG’s support became key.
In fact, the transition only took 48 hours. Everything had been well prepared beforehand so that when the PPG technical teams arrived, everything went very smoothly and now my teams don’t want to go back to the old ways.”
Nicolas confirmed that his teams have indeed moved to a new way of working, and that the implementation of MoonWalk has allowed the dealership to not only streamline their paint processes but to optimise and improve the customer journey too:
“Today, the main advantage for us is the amount of time we’re saving. With the help of our technical support, in combination with the MoonWalk management software, we have managed to reorganise and optimise our customer path. We’re working differently now”.
Sara Fanciano is Director of the CEMTA region at PPG, which covers Eastern Europe, Russia, Poland and Central Europe, Israel, Middle East, Africa, Turkey and South Africa. Sara says:
“At PPG we are committed to improving quality and sustainability to our customers in every corner of the world. It’s important that we really understand the reality and challenges of each region so that we can provide the best solution.
It’s a misconception to assume that MoonWalk can only benefit businesses in certain areas of the world. MoonWalk is a truly best-in-class product that not only helps profitability but also improves working conditions in the bodyshop, as well as helping local industries and communities to meet advances sustainability’s levels.”
The introduction of MoonWalk to Kia Casablanca could set the ball rolling for implementation in more sites across Morocco and North Africa. Nicolas hopes to install the system at the Kia dealership in Morocco’s capital, Rabat, in the future.
“I am eager to see MoonWalk rolled out because it will help raise the bar in the industry. It’s a real innovation both for Morocco and also for us, everything works wonderfully.”