What is the 3M PPS Cups System and Why Should I Use It?

What is the 3M PPS Cups System and Why Should I Use It? Author - Andy Potts July 6th 2020 (reading time 1 mins)


3M PPS cups

3M PPS Cups, collar & liner

Smart painting contractors and paint shop production managers are converting from standard spray gun cups to the 3M Paint Preparation System (3M PPS). This article explains what the system is and how it can revolutionise your paint mixing and spraying processes.

3M PPS- A new approach

The 3M PPS is an all-in-one disposable solution for measuring, mixing, filtering, and spraying paint products. It's different from traditional mixing systems because it removes the need to mix paint in separate cups and then transfer the paint through a filter into the paint reservoir.

Instead, it uses just one plastic mixing cup and disposable gravity-fed liner for both mixing and spraying.


How do you use it?

Step 1: Using a special 3M PPS adapter, attach directly to your spray gun.

Step 2: The plastic mixing cups come in three different sizes. Choose the right 3M PPS cups and liner for your paint job.

Step 3: Mix and thin your paint directly in the liner inside the cup. The system includes a mix ratio film with graduated markings that sits inside the cup. You also have the option of using scales or a paint manufacturer's measuring stick.

Step 4: Take a lid from the dispenser and lock it in place over the cup with the collar. If you need to shake the paint, secure the PPS mixing core to the lid, and clamp the cup in your shaker. Then, either seal the lid with a plug or attach the cup to the gun. This process is quick and simple. Invert your gun over the lid and lock it in place with a half-turn. 

Step 5: Keep the cup upright and add an air hose to the spray gun. Pull the trigger and bleed all air from the liner. The gun is now ready to spray in any direction. Because PPS uses a vacuum system, the liner will continue to collapse as you use the paint.

Step 6: When you want to change colour, swap the liner and give your gun a quick clean with thinners. There's no need to clean out your cup and gun each time you change colour.

Step 7: Finished spraying?, disconnect the airline, invert the gun and open the trigger for 2 or 3 seconds to release the remaining paint back into the liner. Seal the lid with the plug and remove the liner from the cup. Then dispose of the liner and its contents or store it for later use.

Step 8: Finally, give the gun a quick clean through the adapter with thinner.


Why should I use it?

Compared to other paint preparation systems on the market, 3M PPS increases productivity, delivers better quality and achieves more cost savings.

  1. Productivity

Operators can work smarter, and efficiency can improve by up to 15% because:

  • The system uses one single cup for measuring, mixing and spraying, which cuts down on materials, reduces product waste, and saves on labour time.
  • The lid has a built-in strainer, allowing the gun to run cleaner with less mess, waste and zero clean-up.
  • Changing between colours is quick, easy and clean, preventing bottlenecks in your production line.
  1. Quality

The closed system delivers a superior finish.

  • It prevents external contamination from entering your paint.
  • It delivers a consistent and even spray at any angle, even upside down, so there is no need to move the panel to accommodate the gun.
  • It reduces product overspray and consumption.
  1. Cost Savings

You can make exceptional cost savings because:

  • The system eliminates the need for traditional mixing cups and filters.
  • There is less material consumption through product wastage (primer, sealer, basecoat & clear coat).
  • There is no risk of 'starving the gun' when using a closed system, so operators don't need to over mix.
  • You will use up to 70% less in cleaning solvents, which also means reductions in solvent disposal costs and operator exposure to solvents.
  • Clean-up is fast.

Are you ready to revolutionise your paint mixing system? Buy the complete 3M PPS 2.0 system at Ultrimax, and you'll also have access to our Total Paint Shop Support Team who can help you with any set-up and maintenance questions that you might have.


3M PPS Cups System Explained

3m pps 2.0 system


3M PPS Liners





Advice and training - with two NACE CIP Level 1 Inspectors in the team, you can rest assured the advice you receive is based on industry best practices. Our qualified paint technicians offer valuable training, suggestions and advice, ensuring you get the best finish for your project.

We cover the UK and are on hand for demonstrations and trials.

Learn more about TPS4

Watch this short video to find out more about TPS4 and how it can benefit your paint shop:


The Alternative Solution - Etalon


etalon 3m pps cups 1.0 alternative

If you're still in love with PPS 1.0 and don't want to be pushed by 3M onto PPS 2.0...there is an alternative solution.

Etalon have released a near perfect version fo the 3M PPS 1.0 system which has the same on/off easy fitment system and comes with cap, collar, liners, cup and adaptor for your gun in a handy and all be it more cost effective pack. A superb product and easily available. Take a look at Etalon here.




Need More Help Understanding 3M PPS and Etalon?

If you can’t find a fix for the issue you’re experiencing or you need more advice, drop us a line and we’ll get your paint job on track.


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