Axalta’s Acquire Quantum EFX Selected As Finalist For 2018 R&D 100 Awards

Axalta announced its Color Retrieval System featuring Acquire Quantum EFX was named a finalist for R&D Magazine’s 2018 R&D 100 Awards, which features the top 100 revolutionary technologies of the past year.

 The Axalta Color Retrieval System is the company’s proprietary online process designed to help customers obtain any colour information needed, quickly and more efficiently than ever before.

“The Axalta Color Retrieval System and the Acquire Quantum EFX are helping to digitize the body shop industry and reduce its reliance on matching colours by their visual appearance,” said Barry Snyder, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer. “The System packs innovative colour technology into a lighter and faster unit to help customers create more accurate and faster colour matches, allowing for more vehicle throughput.

“Axalta is an innovation company and we invest four per cent of sales each year to developing new technologies. The Axalta Color Retrieval System and the Acquire Quantum EFX are new innovations paving the future for a more efficient body shop industry. We’re thrilled and honoured to be named a finalist in the R&D 100 Awards.”

The R&D 100 Awards is an annual awards programme which will be held in mid-November. The programme identifies and celebrates the top 100 revolutionary technologies of the past year. These awards recognise 100 of the top innovations across five categories: Analytical/Test, IT/Electrical, Mechanical Devices/Materials, Process/Prototyping, and Software/Services. The R&D 100 Awards Finalists were selected by an independent panel of more than 50 judges representing R&D leaders in a variety of fields.

Axalta’s Acquire Quantum EFX.

Ezi-Methods Achieves One Million Method Downloads

Auto Industry Consulting has announced that it recently achieved the milestone of one million repair methods downloaded by customers of its Ezi-Methods service.

Ezi-Methods gives repairers the ability to download the repair methods they need to ensure safe and efficient repairs are undertaken and to remain compliant with industry standards.

Over the last four years the number of subscribers has increased rapidly, with customers particularly appreciating the ease of use, reliability and value for money provided. The service is fully BSI 10125 compliant, and users can access their individual download history to demonstrate compliance at audit time.  The system can be accessed from a desktop, tablet or mobile phone, and as it takes just three clicks to download the correct method, no special training is required.

“We launched Ezi-Methods as a result of there being a significant demand for a repair methods system that is simple, reliable and reasonably priced, said Ben Cardy, Commercial Director of Ezi-Methods owner, Auto Industry Consulting Ltd.

“Providing over one million repair methods to customers since the launch is an incredible achievement for us and is testament to how hard we’ve worked to get here. However, it’s only the first step as we expect to do the second million far quicker than the first!”

Andrew Marsh, Engineering Director, added: “We continue to offer a collision repair centric service covering not only body panel but SRS, seats / seat belts, interior trim, ADAS, four-wheel alignment, steering / suspension / brakes as well as front end cooling pack. It is this that sets us apart and gives our clients the edge in the repair process. We thank all of our clients who have been with us so far, and look forward to serving the industry for many years to come.”

The lucky customer who downloaded the one millionth method was Paul Wood, Vehicle Damage Assessor at The ARC Group in Chippenham, UK. Presented with a bottle of champagne and an Ezi-Methods shirt customised with his name and the words “Millionth Method Man”, he commented: “Thanks loads to Ezi-Methods – not only for this excellent bottle, but for making our lives easier in the office here. It really is a great system to use, quick and simple, with everything you need instantly accessible. The guys on the helpdesk are super responsive and will get you anything you need ASAP.”

Ezi-Methods is available to customers in the UK for under £100 a month with unlimited usage. For more information visit ezimethods.com, or call Ben Cardy on +44 7923 563260 to set up a free trial.

Automechanika Frankfurt Kicks Off 25th Edition With New Records

Automechanika Frankfurt 2018 has opened its doors with more than 5000 exhibitors showing off their wares across the 12 halls of the Frankfurt Messe. The fair brings together the many trends, large and small, of the automotive aftermarket and collision repair industry, opening this year to an array of innovations in the fields of equipment, parts, accessories, management and services.

Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt, said: “Growth in the automotive aftermarket continues unabated; this is shown by a renewed participation in a record number of exhibitors for the 25th edition. This year we also expect guests from over 170 countries. They will be focusing on technological progress, knowledge transfer and forging new alliances.”

The best of the best entries for the Automechanika Innovation Awards were honoured at a presentation ceremony on the first day in the Forum, with 10 winners in three categories chosen from a total of 120 entries (58 nominees and 36 finalists along with the 10 winners). The jury of eight experts was made up of representatives of the industry, trade, associations, science and media, with judging criteria being innovative content, solution excellence, functionality, aftermarket relevance, safety, security, quality, contribution to environmental protection, resource conservation and sustainability.

Around a third of entries came from Germany and two thirds from outside the country; 10 per cent of those entries were from outside the European Union. There was also an above-average increase in the number of entries from outside Germany – a trend that has been apparent for several years. The majority of entries were products and solutions from the workshop equipment segment, including tools, measuring devices and aids, in the categories Repair & Maintenance, and Repair & Diagnostics.

Automechanika Frankfurt 2018 is being held across all 12 halls at the Frankfurt Messe, with Hall 11 dedicated to the Body and Paint section. BodyShop News is exhibiting at stand 11.1 D63.

Mercedes-Benz App Helps Motorists Move To New-Age Cars

Mercedes-Benz has developed a new smartphone app that helps motorists decide if they should switch to alternatively powered cars.

Known as EQ Ready, the app can record journeys made by the user in any make of car, analyse their everyday mobility behaviour and compare it with numerous parameters of electric and hybrid vehicles. Mercedes-Benz says this makes it possible to try out e-mobility in a virtual yet realistic way. The usage profile generated is also significantly more meaningful than a once-only test drive.

EQ Ready also shows which alternatively-powered Mercedes-Benz vehicles best match the user’s individual behaviour.

The tracking feature records speed, acceleration and stoppages, as well as ambient parameters such as temperature and altitude profile, making it possible to calculate range and energy consumption. Users can also manually enter the location of potential charging stations. In the case of a hybrid, the mobility behaviour evaluation focuses exclusively on all-electric mode.

The user’s personal mobility behaviour is transmitted by Wi-Fi or mobile data to the ‘Mercedes me’ server for evaluation. The user then receives feedback such as “Congratulations! All your journeys can be made electrically without additional recharging.”

Mercedes-Benz says users can maintain privacy by disabling the tracking feature at any time. The app also regularly reminds users when data is being recorded.

Wilko Stark, Head of Daimler & Mercedes-Benz Cars Strategy and Head of CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services, Electric), said the app shows electric cars and hybrids in all-electric mode are more suitable for everyday use than most people believe.

“Following their personal reality check with our app, even sceptics discover that an electric car or hybrid would satisfy their mobility needs,” he said.

The EQ Ready app can be downloaded free for iOS and Android.

Elite Body Shop Solutions Launches Online Academy

Elite Body Shop Solutions founder Dave Luehr has created an online body shop academy he says will assist collision industry professionals in gaining a competitive business advantage.

Luehr says the academy will offer affordable online video classes to help owners, managers, and administrative staff find solutions to many leadership and personal development challenges faced in today’s business environment. The classes will be in addition to the free Elite Webinar Series the company has hosted since March 2018.

“At Elite Body Shop Academy, we are hoping to fill a void in the industry by offering an online resource where collision industry professionals can easily experience the education that will make the biggest difference in their lives and businesses,” said Luehr. “This educational content is designed to help shop leaders and their teams not only increase their business skills, but also to help the individuals involved discover their own limitless potential and live more satisfying lives as a result, all without leaving the office.”

According to Luehr, the academy will allow students to sign up for various classes and systematically go through each lesson at their own pace.

“We are also working closely with the Automotive Management Institute (AMi), so students will be able to take a short quiz and earn valuable credits towards their chosen Ami professional designation. Even the free Elite webinars are eligible for AMi credit,” said Luehr.

The site currently hosts all of Elite’s past educational webinars, including presentations by industry leaders such as Jake Rodenroth, Mark Olson, Ryan Taylor, Nick Schoolcraft and Mike Jones.

“In the next few weeks, we will be making a big announcement about our first official online course,” Luehr said. “We will be sharing a very special limited‐time offer to those who are existing members of our online community, so I recommend signing up right away to be included.”

For more information about Elite Body Shop Solutions and the Elite Body Shop Academy, visit www.elitebodyshopsolutions.com/academy or email info@elitebodyshopsolutions.com.

Axalta’s Charlie Shaver To Lead Specialty Chemicals After Sale Completion

Charles “Charlie” Shaver will join Specialty Chemicals from Axalta, where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. He will step down as CEO of Axalta on 4 September but will remain Chairman of the Board.

In its strategy to separate Specialty Chemicals from its Paints and Coatings business, AkzoNobel announced in March 2018 that it had agreed to sell its Specialty Chemicals business to The Carlyle Group and GIC. Upon completion of the transaction, expected before the end of 2018, Shaver will head the new company as Chief Executive Officer.

Shaver brings more than 35 years in leadership roles across the global chemical industry. His appointment is subject to completion of the transaction.

Symach And DCR Systems Form Strategic Partnership

Symach has announced a strategic partnership with DCR (Diversified Collision Repair) Systems. As part of the new collaboration, the two companies will combine their strengths to build what Symach CEO Osvaldo Bergaglio refers to as “tomorrow’s workshop.”

“It’s clearly a relationship that will allow us to develop tomorrow’s workshops and utilise the strengths of each company not only to put together the ‘super shop’ but also the ‘super team’ to operate it,” said Michael Giarrizzo, CEO and President of DCR Systems. “It’s exciting to be on the cutting edge and be able to work with another forward-thinking company.”

“DCR uses a fantastic process-based production system that standardises and streamlines each procedure and eliminates many of the inefficiencies associated with auto body repairs,” said Bergaglio. “It is very complementary to the Symach system and we are really excited about working together.

Founded in 2001, Symach offers a complete range of body shop equipment for the collision repair industry, including its unique FixLine repair process, SPAP (Symach Paint Application Process) and DryTronic robotic technology for drying paint in a less than a minute.

DCR Systems was founded in 2004 and is owned by Giarrizzo and partners. The Ohio and Atlanta-based business sets up accident repair facilities based on lean manufacturing principles for automotive dealerships looking to outsource their operations.

Moving forward, Symach plans to sell new collision repair facilities in the USA market that will operate under the DCR standard model. In addition, DCR Systems will offer a turn-key franchise-like model for dealers. In both scenarios, Symach equipment will be utilised and training will be provided.

When Giarrizzo first met Bergaglio a couple of years ago, he said he was impressed with the robotics technology being designed, manufactured and sold by the Italian-based company. The two business owners spent time in body shops set up by DCR Systems as well as some recent installations by Symach in Canada.

The business owners said they soon discovered the commonalities of the two companies. For example, the DCR System’s proprietary model involves the layout of the rail system, which allows vehicles to move through the paint line. This is similar to what Symach does as well in its layout process.

“It was really eye-opening seeing what the company has already done,” said Giarrizzo. “We started to feel the synergy between the two companies.”

Both Symach and DCR Systems say they focus on continuous workflow in the body shop and a process-centered environment. The goal is to ensure the team understands the required pace so that the steps of the process are interdependent and must work in sequence. The desired outcome is to have all vehicles go through the shop uninterrupted and ensure they are repaired in a very predictable amount of time.

“DCR Systems specialises in fostering a team environment with very strict validation stages that maximises touch time and minimises waste,” said Bergaglio. “It’s about speed and first-time quality, so nothing has to be redone.”

“As an industry, we can never stop seeking improvement not only in technology, but also in the way we do work,” said Giarrizzo. “This is truly tomorrow’s technology and groundbreaking for the industry. The folks at Symach are innovators – they are engineers and inventors and so are we, making it a powerful relationship.”

Terrence Hahn Appointed New Axalta Chief Executive Officer

Axalta Coating Systems today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Terrence Hahn as Chief Executive Officer, effective 4 September, 2018, succeeding Charlie Shaver, who served as Axalta’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since 2013. Hahn will also serve on Axalta’s board of directors, expanding the board’s size from eight to nine directors.

Hahn was most recently President and Chief Executive Officer of Honeywell International Inc.’s Home and Building Technologies group. Shaver, who has chosen to step down as Chief Executive Officer to pursue a unique professional opportunity, will remain on Axalta’s board and serve as Non-Executive Chairman, working closely with Hahn to ensure a seamless leadership transition.

“On behalf of Axalta’s board, I want to welcome Terrence Hahn to the company,” said Shaver. “We are confident that Terrence is a great choice to lead Axalta going forward. His accomplishments as an executive with over a decade of domestic and international experience across multiple business groups at Honeywell, along with his nearly two decades of previous experience in a variety of leadership roles at air products and chemicals, make him a terrific fit for Axalta.

“Since I became CEO more than five years ago, we have prudently managed Axalta’s business and balance sheet, positioning the company to capitalise on opportunities as they arise and generate long-term shareholder value. I am very proud of our achievements as well as our excellent prospects for the future. I recently informed the board that I was considering stepping down as CEO and, consistent with our long-term succession planning, the board commenced a search for a potential successor CEO to build on Axalta’s accomplishments and lead the company forward. We identified Terrence as having a proven track record of success, and the right expertise, experience, and personality for Axalta. I look forward to a successful transition of the Chief Executive Officer role to Terrence and a wonderful partnership with him in my role as Chairman.

“Serving as CEO of Axalta has been an honour and a privilege. It was an extremely difficult decision to step away from an executive role at Axalta, but I am confident that Terrence has the right skillset to take Axalta to the next level of growth and development.”

“I am honoured to join Axalta at this dynamic time for the company and the coatings industry,” said Hahn. “Axalta has leading positions, a terrific executive team, strong global presence and top brands. I am excited about the tremendous opportunity at Axalta to drive organic growth through innovative and value-add offerings that will deepen existing customer relationships and attract new customers, as well as add inorganic growth through strategic acquisitions. I appreciate the board’s confidence in me and look forward to working with Charlie and the Axalta leadership team to help drive the next phase of Axalta’s growth and build shareholder value.”

Mark Garrett, Presiding Director of Axalta’s board, added: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Charlie for his outstanding service to Axalta. As CEO, he led the company’s separation from its former parent and oversaw Axalta’s initial public offering and listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Under his leadership, Axalta has made tremendous strides, driven by a resolute commitment to customer service and innovation. We are very pleased that he will continue to serve as Chairman. We are confident in a seamless transition of leadership to Terrence Hahn. With his experience and impressive track record he is well-suited to lead Axalta’s continued growth in the coatings industry.”

Thatcham Research’s Peter Shaw To Step Down As Chief Executive

Thatcham Research has announced that Peter Shaw is stepping down from his role as Chief Executive with immediate effect due to ill-health.

Shaw, who has been Chief Executive as well as a Board member for seven years, has steered Thatcham Research through a period of notable change, with the organisation increasingly recognised as a global centre of excellence for assisted and automated driving assessment and testing.

He initiated a research strategy which reflected this fast pace of change in the automotive market – and more importantly, kept ahead of it with thought leadership and rapid development of safety standards.

The recruitment process to identify his successor is now underway. Strategic duties at Thatcham Research will continue to be managed by Neale Phillips and Ruth McRitchie.

The Thatcham Research Board is drawn from its 24-member insurers, who fund the essential research on vehicle safety, security, personal injury and accident damage repair.

Graham Gibson, Chief Claims Officer at Allianz Insurance and Chairman of Thatcham Research, said: “Peter has achieved so much for the business and our position in the industry since joining us.

“He has played a pivotal role in driving a new focus upon testing and influencing vehicle safety and security performance to minimise motor insurance costs. This has been hugely important due to the technological advances in active and passive car safety.

“Under Peter’s leadership, Thatcham Research has never been more relevant than it is today, and keeping our members informed and educated will remain vital.

“We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Peter who has been an outstanding Chief Executive and Board member since 2011. I’d also like to extend my gratitude to Ruth and Neale, who have maintained our strategic agenda so strongly in the interim period.”

Car Manufacturer Use of the Word ‘Autonomous’ Dangerous: Thatcham Research

Thatcham Research and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) issued an urgent call to car manufacturers and legislators for greater clarity around the capability of vehicles sold with technology that does more and more driving on behalf of motorists. The call comes in the wake of growing reports of people crashing while over-relying on technology which is not yet designed to drive the car independently.

The risks to drivers have been outlined in the new ‘Assisted and Automated Driving Definition and Assessment’ paper, which has identified dangerous grey areas associated with some driver support technologies. These include misleading names, like Autopilot and ProPilot, given to systems by car manufacturers, how and when drivers should take back control of their vehicles and systems which are designed to work in specific situations only (e.g. on motorways) but can also function anywhere.

Matthew Avery, Head of Research at Thatcham Research said, “We are starting to see real-life examples of the hazardous situations that occur when motorists expect the car to drive and function on its own. Specifically, where the technology is taking ownership of more and more of the driving task, but the motorist may not be sufficiently aware that they are still required to take back control in problematic circumstances. Fully Automated vehicles that can own the driving task from A to B, with no need for driver involvement whatsoever, won’t be available for many years to come. Until then, drivers remain criminally liable for the safe use of their cars and as such, the capability of current road vehicle technologies must not be oversold.”

Avery continues, “It begins with how systems are named and described across car manufacturer marketing materials and the driver’s handbook. Names like Autopilot or ProPilot are deeply unhelpful, as they infer the car can do a lot more than it can. Absolute clarity is needed, to help drivers understand the when and how these technologies are designed to work and that they should always remain engaged in the driving task.”

James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy at the ABI, said, “Insurers are major supporters of efforts to get assisted and autonomous vehicles onto the UK’s roads. Given the part human error plays in the overwhelming majority of accidents, these technologies have the potential to dramatically improve road safety. However, we are a long way from fully autonomous cars which will be able to look after all parts of a journey and in the meantime, it remains crucial that all drivers are alert and ready to take back full control at a moment’s notice. Manufacturers must be responsible in how they describe and name what their vehicles can do, and the insurance industry is ready to hold them to account on this.”