Long time dealer, Binh Nguyen, celebrates the installation of Jotun’s 10,000th Multicolor Machine.
Long time dealer, Binh Nguyen, celebrates the installation of Jotun’s 10,000th Multicolor Machine.

A long, colourful road to success

Jotun has celebrated an important milestone. The company’s 10,000th Multicolor Machine has been installed in a paint shop in Vietnam.

Located in Ha Noi, Vietnam, the paint shop owned by Binh Nguyen may not seem like a place where history is made, but the otherwise routine installation of a new Jotun Multicolor Machine late last year was a big event for both the dealer and Jotun.

“I have been a dealer for Jotun for almost 20 years,” says Nguyen.

“I have always valued Jotun’s quality products and good support, but the Multicolor Machine is the best tinting machine there is: It’s easy to use, tints colours faster than competing machines, the colours are always correct and it never breaks down. It’s critical to my business!”

Family affair 

Nguyen’s positive feedback on the Jotun Multicolor Machine is music to the ears of the Jotun’s Multicolor team in Sandefjord, especially Commercial Support Manager, Arild Langnes.

“The Jotun Multicolor Machine is a remarkable piece of engineering representing decades of innovation, hard work and careful attention to detail,” he says.

“While many have participated in its development over the years, I am proud to say the father of Jotun Multicolor is also my dad, Arne Langnes.” 

Now happily retired, Arne Langnes began his career at Jotun in 1958, as an assistant in the marketing department.

“At the time, paint companies produced ready-mixed paints that were tinted in the factory,” he explains.

“For Jotun, which has always focused on offering a wide colour selection, producing and storing so many different ready-mixed paints was expensive and inefficient. The solution seemed simple: What if the tinting – the last step in the production process – could be moved from the factory to the shop?”.

Building a better machine 

While there were some manual in-shop tinting machines introduced to Norway in the 1960s, none of them met with the company’s exacting standards on quality. In 1974, Arne Langnes (then Marketing Manager), was assigned to find a better solution.

“We had seen computerised tinting machines using punch cards at exhibitions, but they weren’t fool proof, so we kept looking. Eventually, we partnered with Graco, a company specialising in paint spray equipment, and Tikkurila, Finland’s leading colorant supplier, to develop a machine that would prioritise error-free, colour accuracy.” 

Working with critical support from Jotun chemists and the company’s in-house computer expert Ole Kval, Jotun finally completed a working prototype in 1976. The only thing left to do was to order them.

“Graco would only set up production if we ordered 236 units, so it was a big risk,” he says.

“But within the first month, Jotun sold them all to dealers in Norway!”

Arild (left) and his father Arne Langnes in front of a first-generation Jotun Multicolor Machine at Group HQ in Sandefjord, Norway. Photo: Morten Rakke
Arild (left) and his father Arne Langnes in front of a first-generation Jotun Multicolor Machine at Group HQ in Sandefjord, Norway. Photo: Morten Rakke

In the years that followed, Jotun would continually improve the Jotun Multicolor Machine, always keeping one step ahead of the competition. In 1983, the first machine was shipped outside of Norway, to Bangkok, Thailand and in 1989, Jotun launched the Jotun Multicolor Industrial Machine (MCI) for Marine and Protective Coatings. In the decades that followed, new Jotun Multicolor shops opened in Scandinavia, the Middle East, South East Asia, Turkey and later, China.

Today, the Jotun Multicolor Machine can be found in 108 countries worldwide, helping Jotun to become a leader in some of the most dynamic markets in the world. 

Continuing a legacy of innovation 

Arild Langnes notes that his father’s spirit of innovation lives on today.

“The latest generation of Jotun Multicolor Machines are available in four different sizes: S-Line, E-line, M-Line and XL-line,” he says.

“In addition, our customers tell us we have the best tinting software in the market. Our target is to have all machines connected to the cloud, allowing Jotun to download software updates and troubleshoot remotely. Also, we have introduced ‘touch screen’ usability to the concept, which makes the tinting process faster and easier for shop sales staff to select the right colours. We are always looking to make improvements, based on feedback from dealers like Binh Nguyen.” 

When asked if he ever expected Jotun would have 10,000 units, Arne Langnes thought for a moment before answering.

“I am proud of the organisation for this achievement, but to be honest, I can’t really say I’m surprised,” he says.

“We knew almost from the beginning that the Jotun Multicolor Machine would be a gamechanger. And we were right!”

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