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.”

Axalta’s Three Premium Global Refinish Brands Approved By Porsche

Porsche has added Cromax to its list of approved car paint repair brands, making all three of Axalta’s premium global refinish brands – Cromax, Spies Hecker and Standox – authorised for use by Porsche dealerships and body shops worldwide. Axalta has held technical approval with Porsche for more than 20 years with Spies Hecker and Standox.

The rolling approval ensures that Porsche cars are repaired with the highest quality products using the most modern technologies.

“We are delighted to be continuing our successful partnership with Porsche AG with the inclusion of Cromax in the Porsche AG Paint Manual,” said Jürgen Knorr, Director Key Accounts for Axalta’s Refinish Systems in Europe, Middle East and Africa. “The highly productive and value-added paint systems offered by Cromax are a perfect fit for Porsche approved body shops and dealerships to enable repairs that maintain the value of a vehicle and to ensure strict warranty requirements are met.”

BASF Introduces Digital Platform For Visualising Automotive Exterior Colours

BASF’s Coatings division has introduced a digital platform it calls AUROOM, which enables OEM designers to access a database of photo-realistic virtual car colours.

BASF’s virtual colours capture all facets of automotive coatings including lightness flop, colour flop and sparkling. By mapping these colours on car models, OEM designers can virtually paint every colour proposal and gain realistic impressions of colours and effects on a complete car already in an early design phase.

BASF says AUROOM will be a valuable tool for OEM designers to speed up and perfect the overall colour design process as they are no longer solely dependent on physical samples that need to be painted and shipped. AUROOM provides further innovative features like real-time side by side comparison of different colour shades of the same colour group to make the right colour decision easier.

“Automotive coatings are highly complex colours with texture, colour position and surface defining the overall impression,” said Mark Gutjahr, head of Automotive Colour Design EMEA at BASF’s Coatings division.

“To easily understand the impact of these colour parameters on a 3D shape, the digitised colours enable the user to see this on their individual models.”

Working together with almost every car manufacturer on the market, BASF says it currently produces over 600 colours in Europe, with new colours constantly being designed. This large portfolio will now be scanned by cameras. The huge amount of appearance data generated during the scan is processed using a sophisticated mathematic model, while BASF’s colourimetric know-how contributes to ensure its authenticity. OEMs can then access the comprehensive colour data at the AUROOM platform and render it on different 3D shapes provided by the platform or CAD shapes of their own models.

“Digitalisation is an important topic, especially in the automotive industry,” said Krzysztof Patryk Stolarzewicz, head of Global Strategic Marketing at BASF’s Coatings division.

“We have a lot of experience creating colours in our labs and now we are able to digitise them and create photo-realistic digital reproductions. For our customers, it means the colour decision process will become easier, faster and much more effective. They can also use the data for their own brand-specific car configurators so that car buyers can experience automotive colours in their entire variety which supports their buying decision.”

In the start-up phase, BASF says its virtual colour solution will first be introduced to OEMs in EMEA. In addition to the digital platform, the customers will have the chance to experience the technology at AUROOM’s “analogue twin” – a specially designed showroom at the Colour Design Studio Europe in Münster, Germany.

To demonstrate the colours and effects in the most authentic way possible, BASF also developed special virtual 3-D car shapes. Like BASF’s iconic dome shape, the virtual shapes simulate various forms of a car body. In order to assess compatibility of colour with the overall design concept, OEM designers can choose shapes of different vehicle segments in AUROOM for colour visualisation.

Leading Recycler Groups Endorse NSF Automotive Recycler Certification

Two leading automotive US trade groups, the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) and the United Recyclers Group (URG), have endorsed NSF International’s automotive recycler certification programme.

The independent, third-party certification verifies a recycler’s ability to meet criteria for grading, labelling and traceability, in addition to vehicle acquisition, dismantling, inventory, training, customer service and auditing requirements.

NSF International worked with leading automotive recyclers and industry experts to facilitate the development of requirements for the automotive recycler certification programme.

“With NSF International certification, recyclers can differentiate themselves in terms of meeting cycle time and ensuring accuracy when it comes to inventory, grading and part labelling,” said ARA President, David Gold. “ARA supports initiatives that require ongoing audits and underscore continual improvement.”

NSF says certified automotive recyclers undergo annual on-site audits to ensure compliance with all certification requirements. Recyclers meeting all certification requirements can use the NSF Certified Automotive Recycler mark on their website and promotional materials. The recyclers are also included in NSF International’s  online certification listings.

According to Donald Porter, URG’s Chief Executive Officer, “URG supports standards that help the automotive recycling industry enhance its operations from a safety, environmental and traceability perspective. NSF International certification provides recyclers a means to demonstrate this commitment. Participation in a certification process can ensure continual process improvement, increase operational efficiency and improve the recycler’s bottom line.”

To date, PAM’s Auto in the United States, and ASV Euro Car Parts, Grant Walker Parts and Paradise Auto Parts in Australia have earned NSF International’s automotive recycler certification.

Car-O-Liner Introduces CTR9 Auto Spot Welder

Car-O-Liner has released its new CTR9, a fully automatic welder that comes with a new, “revolutionised” light-weight transformer gun.

With its 355-degree swivel handle and ergo-grip, Car-O-Liner says it enables perfect working positions for anyone, for any job. The gun is supported by a telescopic arm made with durable and lightweight extruded aluminium that can be easily adjusted both vertically and horizontally. A compact power unit with a low centre of gravity gives mobility and stability, and a 16,000-amp transformer and CANBUS communication ensure a perfect weld every time, according to the company.

Other features include the automatic establishment of required settings to ensure the proper weld nugget, along with an advanced quality control system that monitors and adjusts the welder to guarantee the total energy input.

The CTR9 is easily upgradable via its USB port, while its storage tray allows all tools and accessories to be kept close at hand. The WeldLogger functionality also enables the ability to create work orders and document them in log files that can be printed if required.

The CTR9 is now available from your local Car-O-Liner distributor.