Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Menzerna Polishing Programme

Menzerna announced that they were revising their labelling scheme (yet again) but this time I think they’ve finally got it right. The revised product names are all unique and incorporate cut level information, which makes it much easier to understand the range, and the newly designed labels (with colour-coding), which makes it easier to pick up the right bottle in the heat of the moment. This new scheme; formally termed the Menzerna Polishing Programme has eliminated potential confusion between similar products and brought the brand image right up to date.

The Menzerna Polishing Programme comprises four process-based categories, which are colour-coded for easy recognition: (1) Heavy Cut (Red); (2) Medium Cut (Yellow); (3) Finish (Green), and; (4) Protect (Blue).

Within each process-based category relevant products are positioned in one of four descriptive groups: (A) Standard Products (for all common applications); (B) Alternative Products (for non-standard applications); (C) Special Products (that cover more than one process or have special performance characteristics), and; (D) Accessory Products.

Standard Products and Alternative Products falling into the Heavy Cut, Medium Cut and Finish categories have unique names ending in a four-digit number. The first digit in this number reflects the process category (1 for Heavy Cut, 2 for Medium Cut and 3 for Finish), while the last three digits reflect the relative cut level of the product compared to others in the same category (the smaller the number the more abrasive the product).…/menzerna_Polishing_Programme_ENG…Abrasives

The ability for an abrasive to "cut" depends on the shape of its crystals or particles, not necessarily its size. A medium size, spiked abrasive will tumble and dig. However, a large round crystal won't leave a deep scratch.

A large hard abrasive may also be brittle. It will cut once and lose its edge, while a softer small abrasive will hold its edge and keep on cutting. Many smaller abrasives have wedge shaped edges protruding from triangular crystals. These can easily slice through an oxidized layer of metal.

Diminishing abrasives require friction - not heat (that is just a by-product of kinetic friction) to activate and progressively reduce their size until they become a finite milled dust; they are buffered or cushioned in a lubricating water-based oil film emulsion, usually in a semi-liquid paste.

Wet polishes eliminate the friction induced heat caused by buffing; heat causes gloss loss. Some very abrasive compound polishes don’t feel abrasive to the touch because the particles are formulated in a solvent or polymer oils in a water-based emulsion and are not released without friction.

The abrasive starts off as large particles, which removes the most paint, they are then reduced in size into finer and finer particles (hence ‘diminishing’) removing progressively less of the paint surface, by the friction caused by the foam pads contact with the paint surface. By varying the size of the abrasive a differing cut is obtained, so the more the abrasives are reduced in size the finer the resultant finish until the particles are reduced to a very fine powder, which in turn produces a burnished surface shine.

The amount of size reduction (diminishing) can be adjusted by the type of abrasive material used (silica and /or aluminium oxide) allowing some polishes to use for the removal of surface scratches only, but if required can then followed up with a finishing type polish that contains smaller abrasives. Were as some polishes will remove surface scratches and by changing the abrasive ability of the foam pad will then go on to buff the surface to a shine ready for the application of a last step product 

Grit Numbers

Sandpaper or finishing paper is the most common item from a larger group of products known as "coated abrasives" i.e. Aluminium oxide.

When talking about "grit" is a reference to the number of abrasive particles per inch of finishing paper (sandpaper). The lower the grit the more abrasive and conversely, the higher the grit number the lesser (smoother) the finishing paper

When talking about abrasive finishing paper, "grit" is a reference to the number of abrasive particles per inch of paper. It eliminates the risk of deep sanding scratches by providing a uniform grit size. This makes sense if you imagine how small the grit particles on a 1000-grit finishing paper would need to be to fit into a 1- inch square. Grit finishing paper is referred to by the size of its abrasives (i.e. 1500-grit paper) the grit you use depends on what kind of scratch (i.e. the scratch made by what grit of sandpaper) you are trying to remove.

Each level of abrasive you use leaves it own scratches, so the method behind polishing is to use a finer and finer grit abrasive until they can no longer be seen by the naked eye

Compound: 1000-1200 grit

Polish: 1500 – 2000 grit

Finishing polish: 2000 – 400 grit

Materials used - most good compounds are a combination of both silica and aluminium oxide. The abrading ability of these compounds can be changed by their application method (i.e. machine speed and/or pressure used, using wet or dry and/or type of foam (different foam compositions have a differing abrading ability) Allow sufficient time for the polish to work, with a more aggressive polish a longer time period is required (approx. 3 – 6 minutes)

The speed at which the foam pad travels across a paint surface is also important, moving too fast won’t allow the micro-abrasive to ‘beak down’, Machine linear speed; machine left to right movement shown as inches per second (IPS) apply polish at a machine linear speed (MLS) of 3-inches per second with a rotary polisher (1.0 to 1.5-inch per second random orbital buffer).

Most abrasives are foam pad ‘dependant’ as far as its paint correction abilities are concerned and they appear to work better when the foam pad is ‘primed’, I would recommend a two level foam pad / polish system to really heighten the paints finish shine.

Current Information
A little science is useful to understand both the How and Why of detailing and to be of real practical use, a subject like automotive detailing requires a great deal of research, and updating as new products become available. The advent of materials like detailing clay, micro fibre technologies and finely milled micro diminishing abrasives, suitable for ceramic nanotechnology paints are examples of why it’s so important to monitor the industries new products, chemical technologies and ideas that are constantly being introduced, as are the techniques for applying them, hence all of the in-depth articles will be up-dated and revised on a regular basis

Always be willing to learn; because the more you learn, the more you’ll realize what you don’t know. You should never stop learning, and your quest for information should be part of your everyday process. It is said that knowledge is power, with the caveat that it includes access to a reliable information sources. I would like to think that these articles become an asset to anyone who is new to detailing and to professional’s alike, as well as industry experts who seek to advance their knowledge.

I detailed my first vehicle at the age of fourteen (1958) forty plus years later I started to write detailing articles to share my experiences. For about fifteen years or so I started to contribute to various detailing forums answering questions posted by neophyte’s, enthusiasts and professionals alike.

 My mantra has always been Experience Unshared Knowledge Wasted.

I purchase all the products I use, so the endorsement is entirely personal and commercially unbiased, the product recommendation is based on "Does exactly what it says on the tin" and it suits my detailing goals. The products mentioned have been personally subjected to extensive laboratory (using state of the art instruments and methodologies in some of the world's most prestigious labs) as well as field testing, and using the methodology and tools cited, which may or may not be the same as those recommended by the manufacturer.

It has been my experience that they will perform the task more than adequately, hence the personal recommendation, as this testing is carried out without sponsorship I have no intention of publishing any test results. Using the methodology and tools cited, which may or may not be the same as those recommended by the manufacturer.

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

1.       Eye Protection: I would strongly advise the wearing of safety glasses or visor (prescription eyeglasses are not a substitute) when operating any machine polisher. OSHA requires employers to ensure the safety of all employees in the work environment. Eye and face protection must be provided whenever necessary to protect against chemical, environmental, radiological or mechanical irritants and hazards.

2.       Hearing Protection; the constant pitch of a polishing machine could affect your hearing so wearing ear plugs would be wise to protect you from hearing loss.

3.       Hand Protection; Gloves- with the verity of chemicals a detailer uses on a daily basis wearing chemical-resistant gloves resist penetration and permeation, and will provide protection against dermatitis and chemical burns. Gloves can provide protection, but they must be chosen with care, the proper selection matched to the hazard is critical as they offer a much needed protective barrier when handling cleaning chemicals such as wheel cleaners and multipurpose cleaners.
Nitrile gloves are made of synthetic latex. They contain no latex proteins and offer excellent resistance to punctures and tears. Nitrile gloves are three times more puncture resistant than rubber and can be used to offer superior resistance to many types of chemicals.
Chemical-resistant gloves resist penetration and permeation, and cam protect against dermatitis, chemical burns and corrosion. Nitrile gloves are three times more puncture resistant than latex rubber and can be used to offer superior resistance to many types of chemicals. Unlike other latex gloves, Nitrile gloves have low resistance to friction and are very easy to slide on –
Clove Chemical Resistance Chart -

4.       Respiratory Protection (N95): Materials such as aluminium oxide (Aluminium oxide is on EPA's TRI list if it is a fibrous form) or silicon carbide (Nuisance particulate-Accumulation in lungs) used in polishes and compounds, and powdered fillers
Crystalline silica (polishes and compounds) poses a serious inhalation hazard because it can cause silicosis and Isocyanate clear coat residue represent a hazard to your lungs and may cause respiratory distress. Use a NIOSH-approved half face respirator equipped with a combination filter cartridge should be worn while using them

Consult the current 3M Respiratory Selection Guide for additional information or call 1-800-243-4630 for 3M technical assistance.


1.      Correlation between vibration emission and vibration during real use - Polishers and sanders. Prepared by the Health and Safety Laboratory Health and Safety Executive 2007

Related Articles

4.      The Health Hazards of Detailing -

5.      The Physics of Polishing -

I would like to think that these articles become an asset to anyone who is new to detailing and to professional’s alike, as well as industry experts who seek to advance their knowledge.
I hope the above article was informative. By having some understanding of the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ as well as the ‘How’ along with a little science to help you understand how the chemicals we use react, you can achieve the results you desire.
I would appreciate it if you would share this article as it helps other detailers further their knowledge.
Questions and/ or constructive comments are always appreciated.
Copyright © 2002 - 2012 TOGWT® (Established 1980) all rights reserved