: news & views

Bel-Air collaborates with Mack Trucks to launch new Model Range (April 2008)

Following the success of working with Mack to prepare their trucks for the 2007 Queensland Truck and Machinery Show where Mack was awarded "Best Stand", Bel-Air was again approached in June 2007 to design and apply the livery for its 2008 model launch - the biggest ever undertaken by the brand in Australia. From Brisbane the fleet of "New Breed" Mack trucks would hit the road on a nation-wide cavalcade, spanning two months and 15,000 km, to visit customers and let them try out the impressive new features of the range in their own backyards. 

According to Wayne Dawson, Director and part owner of Bel-Air, the livery design was eventually distilled down into a relatively simple theme that has significant impact that complemented the bold new look of the trucks. "we needed to incorporate the Mack brand into an obviously Australian theme with a simple briel for all the vehicles to turn heads. In collaboration with Mack's Marketing Department and Sonny Au from our partner Kustom Lordz, we developed a design which took the iconic Bulldog emblem and blended it into the Australian flag painted onto a deep blue truck"

Dean Bestwick, National Sales Manager for Mack, says they were very excited by the concept drafts presented by the team at Bel-Air. "Their professional, creative and proactive aproach was the deciding in our selection process. The final paint scheme displayed by our New Breed range is spectacular. Their on-road presence is something special and the bold paintwork helps capture the impressive new look and lines of our 2008 range."

"to contend with the rigors of Mack's national cavalcade launch program, a custom colour was formulated from PPG's Deltron paint system", Wayne explains. "that was followed up with PPG's CeramiClear clearcoat technology which had a Prizmatique effect (from PPG's Vibrance special effects range) added. It not only looked great it also reduced the potential for dirt and grime to appear obvious as they toured Australia. In an eight week period leading up to the launch a total of over 1,500 man hours was spent applying 12 coats and over 130 litres of paint to the four vehicles."

This project was a true collaboration between customers and suppliers to achieve the quality outcome in such a tight timeframe. One of the suppliers, PPG, has a close association with both Mack Trucks (as the sole supplier to its production facility in Wacol, Brisbane) and to Bel-Air.

(Note: The information presented here is extracted from an article written for PPG and published in the Autumn 2008 edition of their company magazine "The Refinisher" which celebrates the 50th anniversary of that publication.)

 

Spray Painting in the age of Environmental & Workplace Health & Safety Responsibility (July 2008)

From its very beginning Bel-Air has a proud history of leading the way in creating a workplace that is both safe and environmentally compliant.  We were one of the very first commercial refinishers to instal large commercial vehicle spray booths that not just controlled temperature, humidity and air flow, but also efficiently filtered harmfull VOC's before they were exhausted out of the booth.  Since then we have continued to refine our work practices to improve safety and reduce environmental impacts. Waste water from washing down vehicles is pumped through a separator and settling tank before being discharged into the sewer system. Abrasive blasting waste is bagged, tested at a laboratory and then correctly disposed of by a licenced hazardous waste operator. Waste from paint materials is also collected by licenced waste disposal operators. Thinners is recycled and all other flammable paint materials are stored in a contained fire proof room.  Work areas are correctly ventilated and records of hazardous materials stored on site and disposed of off site are maintained.

Workplace Health & Safety underpins all of our work practices at Bel-Air.  From day 1, our employees receive an induction before they commence work and this is supplemented by an Employee Manual, a sub-set of our Quality Management Manual, that they are required to read and sign. We are insistent that proper PPE be used including dust extraction dry sanders, full face air-fed spray masks, protective eyewear and filtered air supplies. At Bel-Air we take Workplace Health & Safety and Environmental Responsibility very seriously.  It is important to protect both the environment and the well being of our employees, visitors and the community in which we operate.

Regrettably, not everyone in the automotive paint and panel repair industry share this view.  They operate below the radar flaunting the law to cut corners and costs at the expense of others. The reality is that there is a cost to being clean, green and safe. At Bel-Air we have mostly absorbed this cost throught the implementation of well managed and measured work practices. In the end, we believe that there is a far greater cost to be paid by everyone if people and the environment are not protected from the unscrupulous behaviour of some operators. Increasingly, customers and the people of communities in which businesses operate are demanding that business exercise socially responsible behaviour when conducting business. For Bel-Air we deem it a privilege to be in business and not a right. Every day we re-commit ourselves to earning our place in the world by behaving in a safe, responsible and ethical way that supports the integrity of what we do.

In the end its up to all of us together to do our bit to make a difference. Take the time to find out about the people and organisations with whom you do business and you may be surprised at what you find. If they don't measure up then take you business elsewhere. If you continue to support their bad practices then they continue to prosper at the expense of the community at large. Regrettably, in terms of enforcing environmental and workplace safety laws, government authorities are generally well intentioned but under resourced. Customers and suppliers have the power to influence the behaviours of business operators. If they do not comply to the expected standards, then they don't care about the communites and customers they serve. Don't reward them and hopefully they will be forced to lift their standard and if they do, then everyone benefits.

We all have our part to play in protecting our world and to live a good life. At Bel-Air people come before profit. That's why we place such an important emphasis on safety and environmental issues. We want to be a socially responsible business that enhances the standing of both your business and ours by continuing to strive to move beyond leglislative compliance to "best practice" in every element of our business. By working together upon a platform of shared social values we can change the world and make it a better place without compromising commercial goals.