Quality means doing it right when no one is looking
For KPH and our new horseboxes, although it is super important, paintwork is not just spraying the outside of a horsebox with shiny new paint. Our reputation has been built on quality and longevity. Aeos and Helios horsebox spraying goes way deeper that the outside paintwork, it actually goes all the way through the horsebox and starts with the chassis.
One of the key aspects of our manufacturing process and where we most definitely stand out from the crowd is that we integrate paintwork at set intervals during manufacture. So rather than complete a build and then spray just what customers can see, we paint the areas they will never see! As far as we are concerned, horsebox spraying is a no compromise area of the build process. Painting stainless steel, aluminium and steel at the sub-frame stage before the floor and sides are fitted ensures we fully protect metalwork and all chassis components. Even then we go the extra mile and Waxoyl the underside of chassis too. The quality of our external paintwork plus all this extra work and a thousand other little unseen details is the reason our customers keep our horseboxes for so long. It is also why they hold their price and why only a few come up for sale!
A little back history
When talking about horsebox spraying, I suppose a little spraying/painting and commercial spray shop back history is a good starting place.
KPH have a wealth of horsebox spraying experience and have had a commercial spray shop for many years. Over those years we have seen some absolutely dreadful paintwork! The culprits are usually defective materials, corner cutting to save cost, water ingress, rust and oxidisation on older horseboxes. Sometimes it can be something as simple as workshop transferred contamination. Get the paintwork wrong and at best it will result in a dull finish that is worn out in under twelve months and at worst, rust and paint surfaces that peel away in sheets! If you asked any of our skilled paint team, they will tell you that as far as they are concerned there are no processes that can be missed out and no corners that can be cut.
For any paint shop public enemy number one is workshop transferred contamination such as dust, silicone, grease, oils and polishes. Having a paint booth inside the workshop is the quickest possible route to defective paintwork. So it was for a very good reason that we invested in a standalone spray shop with quality Dalby plant. It had to accommodate the largest of vehicles and be totally self contained with stores, toilets and paint mixing rooms.
Chassis and component spraying
Always looking to the future and the longevity of our horseboxes we fully spray the chassis at the sub-frame stage. The paint team spray chassis, cab underside, engine, gearbox, all our steel work plus the inside surfaces of the skirts with oil resistant paint. They add further protection by spraying Waxoyl. Again for reasons of contamination both these processes are done in a dedicated building far away from the spray shop. In fact we spend almost as long painting the parts customers never see as we do spraying the outside colour.
Our new horsebox paint process
Surprisingly, horsebox spraying is more involved than just spraying the finished horsebox. On the day a customer’s chassis appears on site, one of the paint team will strip and label all the parts and place them on a labelled trolley. This is so that we don’t have mix ups later on. Then, after our mechanic has inspected the new chassis, or serviced a used one, they will steam clean it and take particular care to remove all the oil and grease. The chassis then enters the manufacturing process and the sub frame is built. The next step is for the paint team again when they take the chassis into the preparation shop for sanding. Three coats of paint and one coat of Waxoyl later the chassis arrives back in the workshop for the remainder of the build. In the meantime the team have been cleaning and spraying any parts removed at the start of the build. So bonnet, wind deflector corners, bumper and lettering for the bonnet have all been colour coordinated to match. We do this on all our horseboxes and as an example, if you compare our cab fronts to other horseboxes you will see the extra care and detailed work that our paint team actually put into each bespoke build.
For the next stage the un-sprayed horsebox disappears into the spray shop and then magically reappears painted in a stunning colour and ready for building, testing and handing over to a very pleased customer.
Our used horsebox paint process and a few items to consider when repainting
The team will strip the horsebox and store the parts safely. Next they wash and degrease where needed. The work from here on is far more involved than spraying a new horsebox manufactured with new materials, because the team have to take into account rusty steel, oxidised aluminium, residue from silicone cleaners and poorly keyed paint and accident damage. Unfortunately many of these problems only become apparent when stripping the horsebox down. At this stage we will advise the customer and suggest a cure. Often it will be skinning the sides of the horsebox, replacing faulty screw or rivets, adding new sealer adhesive or even (depending on the budget) completely replacing parts. The next process is sanding the horsebox and repairing accident damaged areas. At this point the team will use etch primer and then a bar coat to protect the new paint from the previous paint (bar coat stops old paint bleeding through to the new). From this stage on the paintwork follows the same process a new build with colour coats and clear coats.
It is perhaps worth noting that from time to time we respray much older vehicles. By far the biggest single item the team have to deal with on these well used horseboxes becomes water ingress. Over time doors, lockers, ramps and the actual vehicle sides soak up moisture from damaged areas. Water content is something that is very hard to deal with, it is almost impossible to remove and can spoil very expensive paintwork in a very short period of time. Although we take every precaution water damage is a wild factor and not something we can guarantee against or warranty. As a conscientious company we always highlight these points and any accompanying risks so customers can make informed choices before we take on any work.
Horsebox spraying and stunning colours at KPH
Our paint team with help from our paint manufacturer have assembled a range of colours to suite every taste. The range of colours is astounding and includes pearls and effect paints. If customers want something even more bespoke we can mix or match almost any colour. For customers the paint is usually the most exciting part and it totally transforms the build. I know the paint team frown upon it, but if I can get in to the spray shop unseen, I will take photographs of the painted horsebox for the customer and also to post on social media. If possible I usually sneak in when they are on a break, between coats, washing the paint guns or simply baking the horsebox using the oven (it gets very hot indeed!).
The internet is full of run-of-the-mill horsebox colours, I am happy to report that we have gone the opposite direction and by design, put together a paint team with true dedication and just as importantly heaps of flair. When we say bespoke paintwork, the team will create something inspiring and unique. They are innovative and always testing new ideas, paint colours and finishes.
Health, safety and looking after the team
Providing first class facilities for spraying and excellent working conditions is only a starting place for the spray shop team. We have a myriad of safety checks and procedures that you would never expect to protect the team. These include lung function and urine tests, filter and pressure vessel tests, air flow and level of exhaust ventilation tests. There is also compressor and air dryer tests and air fed mask, filter changes and inspections.
As you would expect the oven can heat to over one hundred degrees, so we have regular fire drills, alarm inspections and tests. Further protection for the spray shop is taken care of with heat sensors and camera system.
In addition to all the tests, we fully strip the booth every year for cleaning and repainting and this is also important because we walk customers around each week and it sets the tone of how we look after goods in trust.
So the next time you see one of our horseboxes, have a good look at the stunning paintwork and spare a thought for our unsung horsebox spraying heroes!!
If you have further questions please send an email from our Contact Us page or call me on 01995640079