Tradiebot Develops VR Spray Painting Simulator

Tradiebot has announced a virtual reality (VR) spray painting training simulator called SprayVIS, developed and manufactured in Australia. The software, developed over 18 months, is aimed at next generation tradespeople to hone their skills without needing to be on-site.

SprayVIS was made with video games, portable computing and VR in mind to appeal to the younger generation to promote trades while stimulating their interests. Users are placed in realistic virtual environments and exposed to simulated training scenarios, while receiving real-time feedback and ongoing progress tracking. Tradiebot says that its software is one of the most technologically advanced, cost-effective and compact systems on the market in the spray painting industry, providing a new perspective in delivering training using immersive virtual environments. The company added that SprayVIS also delivers sponsorship opportunities for businesses in the industry to promote spray painting as a career choice for the next generation.

The simulator is housed in a compact travel case and comes with a specialised spray gun controller, which replicates the feel, weight and ergonomics of a real spray gun. It also uses an industry standard air hose and is fitted with adjustable weights which simulate the mass of virtual paint.

“What an exciting training tool SprayVIS is, providing a new perspective on how early training can be delivered to the next generation of spray painters and enable us to stimulate interest in the spray painting field like never before,” said Dr Kristan Marlow, Tradiebot Director of Engineering and Operational Technology. “The SprayVIS system is the most competitive VR training solution on the market, priced at US$10,000. It is an all-in-one early training solution for the spray painting industry.

“SprayVIS has been a huge success with the students during our testing periods at career events and industry expos, with participant lines reaching up to 30 kids, waiting to try their hand at the skill of spray painting. Previously, this would not have been possible – those who wanted to try spray painting as a trade would have been required to visit a designated site that had a spray booth, utilise protective gear, have a trainer on-site and use real paint in order to experience the skill and determine if it is the career path for them. This would be an expensive and time-consuming exercise with limited reach and exposure. With SprayVIS, any location can become a virtual training centre. A win-win for all.”

Fix Auto Expands Into Mexico

Fix Network World celebrated bringing the Fix Auto brand to Mexico at the Hacienda de los Morales gala event in Mexico City. The event took place on 24 October and marked the entrance of the global Fix Auto brand to the Mexican collision repair market.

Fix Network World said the Fix Auto franchise model provides repairers with the ability to run a successful business while uniting them with quality brand standards, superb customer service and the predictable consistency of repairs which is highly sought after by both insurance partners and customers. Fix Network World added that it has secured many partnerships with leading industry suppliers, giving their franchisees a genuine competitive advantage.

“We are delighted to bring our brand and concept to Mexico,” said Steve Leal, CEO of Fix Network World. “We have great partners here who understand the local market and already enjoy strong relationships with many work providers and collision repairers. I am excited to see Fix Auto drive forward in Mexico.”

“By bringing Fix Auto to Mexico we are revolutionising the Mexican collision repair industry,” said Manfred Brandes, CEO of Fix Auto Mexico. “The Fix Auto franchise model provides a win-win solution for repairers, work providers and customers. The core values of Fix Auto allow for repairers to own and operate locally while giving them the opportunity to thrive with support more traditionally associated with a corporate model. The future is Fix.”

SEMA Sues US Department of Transportation

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has filed a petition in the US federal court system to require the government to allow replica car manufacturers to immediately begin production.

Under a 2015 law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), low-volume car manufacturers may sell up to 325 replica cars each year that resemble production vehicles manufactured at least 25 years ago. The FAST Act set a deadline of 4 December 2016 for the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue any necessary regulations to implement the law. According to SEMA, the agency has yet to take any action.

Prior to enactment of the FAST Act, the United States had just one system for regulating automobiles, which was established in the 1960s and designed for companies that mass-produce millions of vehicles. SEMA said the lack of regulatory flexibility prevented small businesses from manufacturing turn-key vehicles, with many companies making capital investments and taking customer orders on the assumption that sales could begin in late 2016, as they were eager to produce replica vehicles under the new law. However, SEMA claims that the NHTSA has failed to issue regulations or undertake any other action allowing the small car manufacturers to produce and sell vehicles as permitted by law.

“SEMA warned NHTSA in 2018 that it would file suit if companies could not begin production of turnkey cars as authorised by the FAST Act,” said Christopher J. Kersting, SEMA President and CEO. “SEMA has made every effort to work collaboratively with NHTSA for over three and a half years, although the agency has taken no action to implement the replica car law. Consequently, companies have not hired workers, businesses have lost money, and consumers have been denied their rights to purchase replica cars.”

SEMA said vehicles produced under the FAST Act will be current model-year clean cars – the US Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board have developed guidelines and regulations to confirm that the engine packages to be installed will meet current emissions standards.

The association added that the replica car provision was designed to be easy for NHTSA to implement, as it is an extension of the common-sense approach to overseeing kit car production that the agency has employed for decades. While the FAST Act requires NHTSA to “issue such regulations as may be necessary” to implement the law, SEMA said the agency also has other options such as issuing a guidance document that will allow production to begin immediately. SEMA has asked the court to compel the NHTSA to take action.

I-CAR Announces Gold Class For Accident Repair Centre Dandenong

I-CAR Australia has awarded Accident Repair Centre Dandenong (ARCD) in Victoria with I-CAR Gold Class Collision status.

“The team at ARCD entered the Road to Gold programme 12 months ago in order to meet the Holden requirements for their approved repairer network,” said Gary Wood, I-CAR Australia Gold Class Coordinator. “They have been regular participants in the I-CAR online Virtual Classroom courses and training organised through their paint supplier, PPG. It is great to see another Holden repairer gain the Gold Class accreditation and continue to set high standards within the industry.”

“ARCD Repair Centre Pty Ltd are delighted to have successfully obtained the I-CAR Gold shop rating,” said Theo Pagiamtzis, ARCD owner. “We have found the process both informative and challenging due to the changing vehicle structures, metals and repair requirements.

“The team of people at I-CAR, from the office staff to the instructors, have been helpful, supportive and a wealth of knowledge. We as a team found the training a great team-building exercise. It has been educating, refreshing and extremely rewarding both individually and as a company to achieve this accreditation.

“Thanks, I-CAR. We will work together to maintain our current level [of] Gold,” said Pagiamtzis.

Axalta Appoints Jim Muse VP Refinish For EMEA

Axalta has announced the appointment of Jim Muse as Vice President of Refinish Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), succeeding Adrien Schrobiltgen in this role.

Muse first joined Axalta in 2013 as part of the North American refinish leadership team and was awarded the Axalta senior leadership award in 2015 for his contributions to the company. In his most recent role as Vice President of Global Refinish Sales, Muse led the organisation’s global customer base and was responsible for key American strategic accounts.

“I am delighted to welcome Jim to the region,” said Yves Kerstens, Vice President Axalta and President for EMEA. “His continued commitment to commercial excellence coupled with his success in playing a lead role in building and executing a new go-to-market strategy in North America makes him a great fit for this role. I am confident that with his vast knowledge of the refinish industry and his excellent leadership skills, he will be instrumental in continuing to grow the business in our region.”

Schrobiltgen is leaving the company to pursue opportunities outside the coatings industry after more than 34 years with Axalta. “We thank Adrien for his immense contribution to the organisation and wish him all the very best with his new endeavours.” said Kerstens.

Muse is based in Axalta’s EMEA headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.

Uni-Select Announces Sale Of ProColor Franchise To Fix Auto

Uni-Select Inc., a leader in the distribution of automotive refinish and industrial paint and related products in North America, announced it has completed the sale of its ProColor franchise programme to Fix Auto.

“Since Uni-Select launched the ProColor banner in Québec in 2001, the network grew from 28 to 172 collision repair shops,” said Brent Windom, President and Chief Executive Officer of Uni-Select. “I wish to extend our gratitude to the ProColor team members who worked with us during the past 18 years and contributed to establish ProColor’s clear leadership position in the Québec market. Fix Auto has a strong global network and a solid reputation in the auto repair industry, especially in the Canadian market, and we are excited that ProColor will continue to grow under their umbrella.”

ProColor will complement Fix Auto’s operations in Québec and the Uni-Select network said it is committed to continuing to support ProColor and furthering expanded growth throughout Canada through a long-term supply partnership agreement.

Uni-Select has also entered into a transition agreement with Fix Auto to ensure an orderly and smooth transition for team members, customers and suppliers.

Body & Paint Championships In South Africa: Taking The ‘Big Five’ To The Finals

With a lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhinoceros on the bonnet, Etienne Dutoit is heading to the finals of the Automechanika Body & Paint World Championships in Frankfurt. The painter was named the national winner by the jury in South Africa on 21 September 2019 with a car bonnet displaying an impressive interpretation of the South African flag.

For Dutoit this means one thing: he’s going to Frankfurt! The professional painter won the second round of the international Automechanika Body & Paint World Championships, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. The competition was supported by SATA, Kansai Plascon, Launch Technologies and Kapatal Brands.

The top three finalists all chose the South African flag as their motif, yet their different interpretations and approaches to the subject matter gave rise to three unique car bonnets. Whereas Hannes Trollip played with various textures, Thomas Holder focused on a flag with gentle transitions on a black background. The winner’s design was notable for its creativity, symbolism and precision. In addition to the ‘big five’, Dutoit integrated a variety of elements into each colour zone of the flag in order to emphasise the significance of each – from the country’s beauty and cultural diversity to its dark past. He poured approximately 135 hours into his creation.

Dutoit, who works for Plascon, explains: “I wanted to create something that illustrates South Africa’s diversity and its history. You rarely get the chance to create something like this in your daily work. Designing this car bonnet was a time-consuming and nerve-racking process, but I wanted to do it right, and to create something that I could be proud of. I gave it my all.”

The bonnets were evaluated by a panel of experts according to criteria that include the uniqueness of the design, its relevance to the theme, harmonious colours, the use of environmentally friendly products, the operational safety and management of the workshop, the type and configuration of the spray guns used, and much more. The panel comprised Wolfgang Auer, Editor-in-Chief of FML and co-founder of the international Automechanika Body & Paint World Championships, Michel Malik, CEO of BodyShop News International, Ian Groat, publisher of Automotive Refinisher South Africa, and Joshua Low, Managing Director of Messe Frankfurt South Africa.

Dutoit’s remaining competitors at the finals in 2020 will be chosen in the months ahead. Great Britain’s national winner was selected back in June, while the participants from China, Mexico, Dubai and Germany will be determined in the upcoming rounds. The next round will take place from 3 to 6 December 2019 at Automechanika Shanghai.

With his car bonnet, the national winner from Johannesburg has succeeded in telling a piece of South Africa’s history. To do so, Dutoit used a variety of techniques and created elaborate templates. The blue area of the flag, with ornaments and white accents, symbolises the sky and the sea. Various shades of green illustrate the beauty of South Africa’s forests, yellow depicts the sun and the country’s rich trove of natural resources, and when the black area of the flag is viewed from a certain angle, a silhouette of South Africa’s former president, Nelson Mandela, can be seen.

To create his shade of red, Dutoit mixed a variety of reds and integrated water-droplet effects. “This symbolises the blood and tears that were shed during South Africa’s struggles on the road to freedom,” he said. The bonnet also depicts South Africa’s ‘big five’ animals, spread out over the outline of the African continent: the lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhinoceros.

While the panel has already chosen a winner, voting is still ongoing for the People’s Choice Award. Hundreds of trade visitors to Automechanika Johannesburg seized their chance to view the bonnets and vote for their favourites. Now, other interested individuals and paintwork fans can vote for their own favourites online – voting is open until 2 October 2019. The participant with the most votes will receive the People’s Choice Award, as well as a surprise package from SATA valued at approximately €700. Vote for your favourite at www.automechanika.com/vote.

More information is available at: www.automechanika.com/wettbewerb.

Automechanika Body & Paint World Championships: Round 2 In South Africa

The Automechanika Body & Paint World Championships will be held in South Africa for round two, following the debut in Great Britain. The next winner for the final round in Frankfurt in 2020 will be determined at Automechanika Johannesburg, which is taking place from 18 to 21 September 2019.

The second round of the competition will require painters to design the hood of a car using a variety of techniques. Each hood design is meant to be inspired by the country in which the Automechanika event is taking place. In the first round of the competition at Automechanika Birmingham, participants used a wide range of motifs, including Union Jack flags, poppies and Brexit.

The national winners from Great Britain and South Africa will be joined by four other contestants for the final round. One of the remaining participants will be chosen later this year at Automechanika Shanghai, with two more being chosen next year at Automechanika Dubai and Automechanika Mexico City. The German finalist will be determined on the first two days of Automechanika Frankfurt, after which an international grand prize winner will be selected.

Automechanika Johannesburg has been taking place every two years since 2009, with the most recent event welcoming around 600 exhibitors and over 12,000 visitors.

“I am planning to integrate the colours of the South African flag into my entry,” said Etienne DuToit, one of the entrants in the Johannesburg event. “My artwork will show our hero Madiba (Nelson Mandela), as well as our ‘big five’: the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and cape buffalo. I will be spraying the rhino red to raise awareness of the danger the species is in due to poaching. This competition gives me the opportunity to showcase my skills using different techniques and shows how proud I am to be a South African citizen.”

The participants’ car hood creations can be viewed in Hall 6, Stand 6E017 throughout the event, and the national winner will be announced on 21 September. The competition is being supported by various international and regional firms in the field of body and paintwork, including SATA GmbH & Co. KG, Kansai Plascon, Kapatal Brands and Launch Technologies SA.

Competition Name
Date
Automechanika Johannesburg18-21 September 2019
Automechanika Shanghai3-6 December 2019
Automechanika Dubai7-9 June 2020
INA PAACE Automechanika Mexico City22-24 July 2020
Automechanika Frankfurt
(Germany’s national winner along with the finals)
8-12 September 2020

Fix Network And Spanesi In Global Partnership

Fix Network has announced the addition of collision repair equipment leader Spanesi as one of its official global supply partners this month.

Fix Network says it believes that strong supplier partnerships are a critical component to the successful expansion of its network worldwide, and as it grows its operations, working with Spanesi will bring tremendous value through their expertise and advanced collision repair equipment.

Spanesi will supply a mix of its collision repair equipment, custom-made furnishings and accessories all aimed at delivering great performance. Fix Network says Spanesi’s quality and productivity aligns well with its goal of making the best in collision repair equipment technology available to each of its locations.

“The Fix Network team works tirelessly to deliver a consistent, high quality supply chain offering to its network members,” said Steve Leal, President & CEO of Fix Network. “The addition of the Spanesi suite of equipment will support us in our ongoing objective to provide an attractive, clean and efficient environment to our locations which will help to elevate the overall customer experience.”

“We have a 50-year long tradition in delivering tools and experience to help repairers succeed in an increasingly competitive collision repair marketplace,” said Cristina Spanesi, Export and Marketing Manager of Spanesi. “We are pleased to align with the Fix Network family of brands and are looking forward to a fruitful partnership.”

Fix Network’s supply chain portfolio of industry experts now includes 3M, AkzoNobel, Mirka, SATA and Spanesi – each a leader in the global automotive aftermarket space.