New Glasurit Clear Coat Boosts Efficiency

Glasurit says its new 923-610 HS clear fast drying VOC offers improved body shop efficiency thanks to an array of application options, shorter process times and lower energy costs.

According to Glasurit, 923-610 HS is suited for quickly repairing cosmetic damage and individual panels, as well as for refinishing entire vehicle sides. The new clear coat needs no flash-off time and provides an excellent finish after only a short drying time in the oven at 60°C panel temperature. 923-610 HS also boasts outstanding drying properties at 40°C and room temperature.

Glasurit says the clear coat has excellent polishing characteristics and can be applied to both vertical and horizontal panels, and used flexibly during a single application. It adds that a perfect paint result can be produced with 1.5-2 spray coats, regardless of whether HVLP or RP spray guns are used.

Axalta Sells 60,000 Spectrophotometers

Axalta Coating Systems has announced the sale of its 60,000th spectrophotometer, with 10,000 sold globally in the past 15 months alone. The digital tools are used to accurately and quickly colour match, boosting the efficiency of body shops.

“Adopting a digital approach to colour matching and retrieval is a global trend that started 25 years ago when Axalta was one of the first coatings companies to offer a digital device and software to refinish customers,” said Dr Martin Wulf, Axalta’s Colour and Technical Manager for Refinish Systems in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “Today, we encourage all of our users to future-proof themselves and optimise their efficiency by moving to digital colour measurement.”

Axalta says that refinishers take the colour readings from a vehicle’s paintwork using the spectrophotometer, which then wirelessly sends the readings to Axalta’s online global colour database. The colour matching software searches over 200,000 constantly-updated formulas and where necessary, automatically adjusts the closest formula to provide refinishers with the closest match. It can then be selected on a smartphone or tablet and sent via Wi-Fi to an IP scale for mixing the colour formula.

“The future is now,” said Wulf. “The spectrophotometer is clearly a valuable part of modern refinish work. We expect to see continued and significant growth globally as body shops adopt a completely digital way of working. For customers who are looking at going digital, we will support and help them make a seamless transition to a fully digital colour management process.”

Axalta Introduces New Products To Audurra

Axalta has continued to design and develop user-friendly products for the professional body shop through its refinish non-paint consumable brand, Audurra. The recently expanded range of products now includes masking foil, mixing cups/lids, stirrers and wipes. In addition, there is a new premium abrasives range which includes discs, strips and soft rolls.

The company says these premium discs, strips and soft rolls are specifically developed to work effectively with Axalta paint systems and are designed for high efficiency sanding. They form part of a new sanding system that focuses on choosing the product that is right for the application, as opposed to choosing a grit size. Products are classified as A-B-C-D-E to make sanding easier, with only eight items to cover 90 per cent of applications. The system aids in avoiding application errors and results in re-coatability without scratch or swirl marks, while the multi-hole pattern makes them flexible for use on pads and blocks.

The product features four grits for paint preparation (A to D). The coarse grits focus on removal rate and time savings, while the fine grits have low scratch depths for perfect finish. In addition, there is one grit (E) for use in blending.

To find out more about the Audurra range, contact an Axalta distributor or go to www.axalta.com.au/audurra.

Swinburne UT, Tradiebot Trialling 3D Printing Material, AR Mobile App

Swinburne University of Technology has started testing its newly formulated, 3D printable, polypropylene-based material. Declaring it a world-first development, the university is collaborating with industry partner Tradiebot Industries, with co-investment from the Innovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC). The material will be used in the collision repair industry to 3D-print replacement plastic bumper bar tabs and headlight lugs.

According to a statement, the advanced plastic material is compatible with automotive-grade injection-moulded plastic, and will increase the number of parts being repaired and reused during the collision repair process, rather than those parts being sent to landfill or waste due to missing tabs and lugs. When ready for industry use, the solution will offer technicians a path to up-skill through learning to repair these parts and designing new replacement components for parts that would have previously required a brand-new replacement.

The material will be able to be 3D-printed using the WorxAR augmented reality (AR) mobile application under development by Tradiebot. WorxAR is expected to enable collision repair technicians to perform quality control on repairs by overlaying an original CAD diagram on the camera viewfinder display of a smartphone, tablet or smart glasses. The app will have the ability to scan broken plastic parts, generate a 3D model of the part and then enable the user to create, or select from a library, the required missing component. This missing component will then be 3D printed using the new automotive compatible material. The developed replacement parts will be stored in a digital library of pre-designed parts, ready for download and 3D printing.

The new material being tested in the form of a headlight base bracket.

“The new 3D printing material and the mobile app development marks a significant step towards the utilisation of new digital tools, additive manufacturing/3D printing and advanced materials in the collision repair industry,” said Mario Dimovski, Tradiebot CEO. “Tradiebot has been leading the way in 3D printing innovations in the collision repair industry for the past four years and is very excited to bring to market such an innovative solution.”

The polypropylene composite material, formulated in-house and developed by Swinburne materials scientist Dr Mostafa Nikzad and his team, will allow on-demand replacement tabs to be printed and fuse-welded by repair technicians on plastic car parts, enabling these broken parts to be reused, according to the statement. By keeping the plastic composites based on polypropylene, direct welding can be performed on bumpers or headlight bases, as most of these parts are made from the same material.

Dr Nikzad and his team were tasked with creating a material with the right bonding properties, strength and toughness required to meet automotive quality standards, while also possessing the necessary characteristics to be 3D printed. Compatibility with automotive grade injection moulded plastics was also required to be guaranteed.

“This is a ground-breaking development and I am is very proud of the work my team has achieved,” said Dr Nikzad. “It has been great working alongside an innovative project partner like Tradiebot. The initial idea to develop the material and how best to provide access to it for the industry is really exciting. I like the idea of using a mobile scanning app and creating your own replacement parts for printing. We are also now planning a second phase of this project that involves embedding self-healing capabilities into the material in a world-first.”

The statement added that IMCRC functions as a catalyst in the research collaboration, co-investing in 3D printing and material innovation that creates opportunities not just for Tradiebot and the collision repair industry, but for Australia’s broader manufacturing sector.

“I see the progress of the research collaboration as an indication of the things to come,” said David Chuter, CEO and Managing Director at IMCRC. “From day one, Tradiebot and Swinburne University have been working hand-in-hand, embracing opportunities as well as challenges to drive progress and get the job done. Seeing them test new 3D printing materials that did not exist two years ago and explore digital technology to enhance the user experience is very rewarding.”

Tradiebot said it aims to have the material and mobile application available to the market in early 2020, as the project moves into its final stage of commercialisation.

Post-Repair Calibration To Vehicle Manufacturer Tolerances Is Essential: Thatcham

Thatcham Research says it has provided much needed clarity to the automotive, automotive repair and insurance industries on how to manage vehicle repairs involving ADAS, such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and adaptive cruise control.

According to Thatcham, more than 10 per cent of vehicles on the road today are fitted with AEB, equating to some four million cars. However, there is a dearth of information on how to approach the repair of these safety critical systems.

“As ADAS continues its ever-increasing penetration into the car parc, the lack of a clear approach to the repair of ADAS-equipped vehicles is having an effect across the whole repair industry,” said Richard Billyeald, Chief Technical Officer at Thatcham Research. “For their own peace of mind, insurers and repairers need proof that they have taken all reasonable steps to reinstate the safety functions of a vehicle before returning it to the road.”

The Thatcham Research position on the safe repair of ADAS is as follows:

If ADAS sensors, or parts that are in proximity to ADAS sensors, are included in a repair specification, calibration post-repair must be completed to confirm sensors are functioning to the vehicle manufacturers’ specified tolerances. In addition, to enable identification and safe repairs involving ADAS, vehicle repairers should:

  • Assess for the presence of ADAS sensors and record the outcome clearly
  • Research and seek guidance from relevant repair methods and calibration instructions
  • Ensure all calibration activities are completed by currently competent technicians
  • Complete system calibration in accordance with the relevant repair method / instruction
  • Be able to demonstrate that the calibration of all affected sensors has been completed and that the results of the calibration confirms functionality within the vehicle manufacturer’s specified tolerance – unless stated otherwise in the repair specification
  • Where no specific repair guidance exists, and functionality cannot be proven through systemised calibration, then advice should be sought from the vehicle manufacturer’s dealership network and appropriate action taken prior to vehicle release
  • If vehicle manufacturer information states dynamic calibration, this should be completed and confirmed prior to vehicle release

“ADAS supports the driver to prevent a crash in the first place,” said Billyeald. “This represents a huge step forwards for vehicle safety and the transition into more advanced assisted and automated driving will continue to raise the safety bar. However, whilst that benefit may be fully realised on a new car, maintaining it once a car has been repaired is vital.

“The whole industry needs to work together to make sure ADAS repairs are safe and vehicles are returned to the road quickly and efficiently. Equipment suppliers must ensure that verifiable evidence of a successful calibration is provided. Repairers must invest in training to ensure competent persons are reinstating ADAS safely, and vehicle manufacturers must provide ADAS fitment data and consistent advice around which repair scenarios will result in successful ADAS calibration.”

“Insurers are major supporters of systems which improve vehicle safety and reduce the frequency and severity of crashes,” said Laurenz Gerger, policy advisor for motor insurance at the Association of British Insurers. “With a number of assistance systems set to become mandatory from 2021, it will be even more important to have clear guidance on managing vehicle repairs involving them. Ensuring these high-tech systems are working effectively after a repair is an important part of putting a vehicle back onto the roads and we are committed to helping establish the standards and processes to make sure this happens.”

In addition to the information issued, Thatcham Research said it has created a guide for repairers on ADAS system calibration requirements and identifying component locations and functions. The organisation said it is also working with the industry to develop a code of practice and has commenced a round of consultation with vehicle manufacturers, insurers, windscreen repair and replacement companies, equipment providers and repairers. The full code of practice will then be released later this year.

Spies Hecker and Standox Gain Reapproval by BMW for 2019

BMW Group has renewed its annual approval of Spies Hecker and Standox. The agreement, which is for BMW and MINI passenger car repair, covers the BMW Group service network in 51 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

Jürgen Knorr, Director, Key Accounts Director for Axalta’s Refinish Systems in Europe, Middle East and Africa, says “Spies Hecker and Standox have been recommended by BMW Group for 22 years now and we are delighted to be continuing our very successful partnership.”

The agreement recommends BMW Group’s dealerships and service garages use Spies Hecker and Standox refinish paint technologies and the renewal is based on thorough performance testing. It also includes wide-ranging support and focused training from both Spies Hecker and Standox.

“Thanks to Axalta’s constant product and technology development, the refinish technologies offered by Spies Hecker and Standox are not only heavily focused on sustainability by helping to reduce energy consumption and waste and the use of less material, but also ensure the paintwork repairs on BMW cars perform to the specified quality levels. And innovations like Axalta’s Digital Colour Management help BMW Group’s dealerships and service garages to be more efficient and more profitable. By supplying our customers with innovative and cutting-edge technologies, we hope to gain reapproval for many more years to come,” says Knorr.

Tradiebot Launches WorxAR Software Package

Tradiebot Industries officially launched its augmented reality (AR) software application WorxAR at the Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo in Melbourne. The company said WorxAR will allow latest release information to be delivered to users at the touch of their fingertips via smart devices such as phones and tablets like never before.

According to a video sample Tradiebot posted on YouTube, WorxAR should allow workers to view a vehicle through a viewscreen, with an information overlay appearing on the screen to provide the user with information on parts in that vehicle. The software also enables workers to dismantle and repair a vehicle while following real-time instructions delivered to the screen by the software.

Tradiebot says AR is currently making a big impact with industrial applications, allowing technicians to perform service and repairs by accessing the latest digital repair processes and service manuals. The technology is also being used for training.

“The response by people attending the expo and witnessing the technology first hand was one of excitement and amazement that such a digital tool was now available,” said Mario Dimovski, founder of Tradiebot. “Having such technology on offer will be a game changer. Context relevant information can now be delivered in an on-the-job interactive way that is so intuitive and effortless for end users to assist in repairs, service, maintenance and training. This digital tool is also the perfect catalyst to help attract a new breed of apprentices to the trade that might be looking for a more tech-focused career combined with hands-on skills.”

“This is the next evolution in how information is offered and a real boost to our industry that is struggling to maintain an upskilled workforce,” said Kevin Woolerton, Director of Marketing at PPG who attended the expo and experienced WorxAR firsthand. “This technology will allow the upskilling of future technicians whilst also providing knowledge to technicians in digital format.”

Tradiebot says it has started fielding expressions of interest from a broad range of potential automotive customers from across the world that could utilise the software technology for their own products and services. The company says the profile of users is “extremely broad”, covering OEM, training providers, machinery manufacturers and equipment manufacturers from around the world, who could convert their current paper-based manuals and processes into a digital interactive platform.

The WorxAR video sample can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fBPSjctbpk

Cromax Unveils New Training Video Series

Cromax has introduced a series of training videos entitled ‘Let’s get to work’, with the videos focusing on everyday repair methods.

Carried out by one of Axalta’s technical experts, the aim of the tutorials is to show the correct use of Cromax paint products and application processes. Axalta says the videos act as a valuable tool for all Cromax refinishers, as well as a refresher for refinishers who have attended face-to-face training courses at one of the Axalta training centres. The tutorials are available on the Cromax website and on the Cromax YouTube channel free of charge.

Axalta says the videos concentrate on the challenges refinishers face every day. The first tutorial in the series gives Cromax Pro Basecoat application guidelines for a side panel repair of a Volkswagen Polo in Reflex Silver. The technical expert begins by highlighting key aspects that need to be considered at the start of the repair – such as climate and gun settings – before the product is even touched. Several things are then demonstrated – a one and a half coat application process, a good effect coat with close and controlled overlap zones, and good hiding and full mottling control.

The second video deals with the repair of a bonnet in Reflex Silver and delves into clouding and mottling issues, while the third video highlights blending by showing best-practice processes. The fourth video focuses on tricky tri-stage repairs including blending, and the fifth video looks at the Cromax Ultra Performance Energy System by showcasing two different types of repairs on one vehicle.

Finally, the sixth video highlights an easier and more reliable way to find the correct colour formula, using simple and effective digital colour retrieval processes through the Genius iQ spectrophotometer and Standowin iQ software.

“Our customers are at the forefront of everything we do, which is why at Cromax we live by our ethos of delivering more than just paint to our customers,” said Paul Polverino, Axalta Australian National Training Manager. “These new videos certainly support that. They form part our arsenal of training tools that are designed to ensure everyone who uses our products and services do so in the best and most productive way possible.”

Axalta says the ‘Let’s Get to Work’ videos complement the face-to-face training sessions refinishers can attend at Cromax Training Centres around Australia, and support the content of the Technical Data Sheets.

“These videos will help make our refinishers’ lives easier by offering simple, accurate and highly accessible application instructions – direct from the experts,” concluded Polverino.

Five training videos are now live on www.cromax.com.au/LetsGetToWork. For more information about Cromax, please visit www.cromax.com.au.

Axalta Services Offers Course To Help Redefine Body Shop Processes

Axalta is offering an I-CAR-approved Lean Foundations Course designed for body shop owners, managers and team leaders to improve processes and reduce waste in their body shop.

With ongoing time and cost pressures from insurance companies and work providers, collision repairers are constantly looking for ways to “do more with less”. Axalta says Lean Foundations is a highly interactive one-day course that allows participants to walk away with an in-depth understanding of tools and techniques to drive efficiency and profitability in their shop. It will also present easy-to-understand concepts and tools that help participants challenge and refine their processes using the knowledge and skills of their own employees.

The company says the principles and tools discussed in the course provide an ideal foundation for removing waste and improving processes within a body shop. While short-term gains or improvements are often made, process improvement either stalls or regresses. That’s where the company says its Axalta Services team excels in its presentation of the course, giving tips on where process improvements become derailed and how to get things back on track.

Axalta’s training alliance with I-CAR means that upon completion of the Lean Foundations course, an attendee will be awarded credit hours that can be applied towards the I-CAR Gold Class Professionals and Platinum Individual designations, or be used to meet role relevant annual training requirements.

The training dates for Lean Foundations in 2019 are:

  • Adelaide 13 March
  • Brisbane 20 March
  • Sydney 27 March
  • Melbourne 8 May
  • Perth 15 May

Full details on Axalta Services and the latest courses available can be found at www.axalta.com.au/AxaltaServices.

Axalta’s “Sahara” Is 2019 Automotive Colour Of The Year

For the first time in its five-year history, Axalta’s Automotive Colour of the Year is showcasing a colour primed for vehicle customisation both at manufacturing facilities and in the aftermarket. The company says Sahara, a golden-bronze tone, radiates warmth, richness and strength for vehicles of all sizes – especially the expanding global truck and SUV markets – and can serve as the principal colour for two-tone possibilities including black roofs.

“At Axalta, we are seeing car designers leaning toward options for two-toning, accent roofs and stripes,” said Nancy Lockhart, Axalta Global Colour Marketing Manager. “When it comes to mass customisation, Sahara is the type of colour that can serve as the foundation for these premium options.”

Borne from Axalta’s ChromaDyne line of colour coats formulated for global automotive manufacturers, Sahara is partly inspired by global trends for warmer shades highlighted in the company’s Global Automotive Colour Popularity Report. Yellow/gold vehicles are most popular in India and China, while the number of brown/beige vehicles increased in North America more than any other region.

Sahara is Axalta’s fifth Colour of the Year following Radiant Red (2015), Brilliant Blue (2016), Gallant Gray (2017) and StarLite (2018). StarLite, a pearlescent white, introduced coatings technology into the autonomous vehicle discussion. Axalta says its colours under development are tested for readability by autonomous sensors, and Sahara is formulated for visibility.

According to Dan Benton, Axalta Refinish Colour Marketing Manager, Axalta’s Colour of the Year is another example of how Axalta transfers OEM technology to the aftermarket and repair businesses.

“We get calls every year from some of the industry’s best custom builders looking to use colour to differentiate their products,” he said. “We have Sahara formulated and ready-to-go in our industry-leading refinish brands including Cromax, Standox and Spies Hecker.”