Nov. 30, 2010
-- If James Bond were real, he would presumably drive a car from CARAT Duchatelet, the Belgian luxury coach builder. And it would of course be refinished with paints from Standox. In a factory well hidden from the public eye, the company customises luxury models from Maybach, Rolls Royce, Mercedes AMG, Bentley and others – including Toyota and Range Rover SUVs. Apart from their impressive appearance, CARAT vehicles also provide perfect safety and security for their passengers. After all, CARAT is also the market leader in the production of armored vehicles. Sophisticated technology and maximum comfort are part of the total package. “We meet all our customers’ requirements – from armored saloons with turning seats and multimedia systems to completely re-styled and protected SUVs,” says Patrick André, Purchasing Manager of CARAT. “Every car that leaves our premises is a customised, perfectly protected and unique vehicle.”
The Liége site employs 150 staff. Every step of the process is carried out in the 10,000 sq metre factory, including procuring the OEM model, developing future designs, dismantling and reassembly, fitting technical equipment and refinishing. Each step of the process is standardised as far as possible, yet is versatile enough to include every individual request.
It is taken for granted that the vehicles leaving the site sport a brilliant gloss and their finish is equal to a serious work load. However, the fact that armored vehicles have special requirements with regard to refinishing and drying – depending on the thickness of the armoring – is something that only a few people except for the 40 refinishers working here are aware of. All parts are refinished individually before they are reassembled, of course without revealing any obvious changes. This not only makes maximum demands on the art of refinishing, but also on the paint system used. This is why CARAT has used only paints and materials from Standox for several years now. “They have a good opacity, gloss and flow are as they should be and there are no flaws even with thicker paint coats,” says master refinisher Jean Paul Delayer.
“For a stretch saloon, we need about 10 to 12 litres of basecoat. And another 10 litres of clearcoat,” explains Patrick André. CARAT buys the quantities required readily mixed in the desired color from the Standox dealer, Abbiusi. Joseph Brucculeri and his team are always ready to answer any questions with regard to application or new challenges. “And if there is a scratch on a customer vehicle, we go there and repair the damage. We offer worldwide service,” says Patrick André proudly. The orders come from all over the world, too, even though currently most of them (about 80 percent) come from the Middle East.
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Standox is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of car refinishing paints. With its headquarters in Wuppertal, Germany, the company offers innovative and environmentally compatible product systems worldwide.