AkzoNobel Celebrates 85 Years Of Wanda Refinish

AkzoNobel is celebrating the 85th anniversary of its Wanda vehicle refinishes brand, a product that started locally but grew into a globally used brand.

Wanda was formed in the early 20th century by Roque Montesano, a Brazillian man who wanted to own his own paint factory. Montesano told his wife that if he succeeded, he would name his brand after their daughter, a goal that he achieved.

AkzoNobel says Wanda is available in over 40 countries on five continents and has a global reputation which is built on its colour accuracy, ease of use, quality and value. Wanda Montesano Ferrara, the original inspiration for the name of the brand, has been involved in the anniversary celebrations too.

“I followed in my father’s footsteps to become an entrepreneur and am very proud to look back, see everything that the Wanda brand has achieved and celebrate these 85 years of moments and memories,” said Wanda.

“Our Wanda brand is synonymous with tradition, evolving technology and quality and has become a preferred choice for market professionals around the world,” said Rakshit Punetha, Global Brand Manager for Wanda. “It’s not only a great example of our passion for paint, it also highlights the huge sense of pride we take from continuing to show the same commitment to customers that Roque first demonstrated all those years ago.”

Wanda is now manufactured in Europe, Asia and at AkzoNobel’s plant in São Paulo, and can be purchased in the US, Spain, Russia, India, Italy, Australia, Poland, China and New Zealand. Wanda is compatible with a range of AkzoNobel’s advanced colour search tools, such as MIXIT, ColorPro and Automatchic Vision.

Ford And McDonald’s Collaborate To Create Car Parts

Ford Motor Company and McDonald’s USA will soon work together by using the discarded skins of roasted coffee beans in vehicle parts such as headlamp housings.

The companies found that coffee chaff, the dried skin of the bean that naturally comes off during the roasting process, can be converted into a durable material to reinforce certain vehicle parts. The chaff is heated to high temperatures under low oxygen, mixed in with plastic and other additives, and turned into pellets which can then be formed into various shapes.

The chaff composite meets quality specifications for parts such as headlamp housings and other interior and engine bay components. The resulting items are around 20 per cent lighter and require up to 25 per cent less energy during the moulding process. Ford said the heat properties of the chaff component are significantly better than the currently used material and is the first time the company has used bean skins to convert into select vehicle parts.

“McDonald’s commitment to innovation was impressive to us and matched our own forward-thinking vision and action for sustainability,” said Debbie Mielewski, Ford Senior Technical Leader. “This has been a priority for Ford for over 20 years, and this is an example of jump starting the closed-loop economy, where different industries work together and exchange materials that otherwise would be side or waste products.”

McDonald’s is expected to give a significant portion of its coffee chaff in North America to Ford to be incorporated into vehicle parts.

“Like McDonald’s, Ford is committed to minimising waste and we’re always looking for innovative ways to further that goal,” said Ian Olson, Senior Director, Global Sustainability, McDonald’s. “By finding a way to use coffee chaff as a resource, we are elevating how companies together can increase participation in the closed-loop economy.”

The project also involves Varroc Lighting Systems, which supplies the headlamps, and Competitive Green Technologies, the processor of the coffee chaff. Ford says its goal is using recycled and renewable plastics in vehicles globally and increasing the range of sustainable materials.

McDonald’s says it is on its way to sourcing all its guest packaging from renewable, recycled or certified sources by 2025, and helping develop a recyclable and/or compostable cup through the NextGen Cup Consortium and Challenge. Both efforts are part of McDonald’s Scale for Good initiative, a global commitment to use its size and scale to drive meaningful change.

NTSB Blames Uber Oversights For Deadly Self-Driving Crash

The USA’s National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the results of its investigation into the 2018 fatal Uber crash in Tempe, Arizona, which was widely believed to be the world’s first death by a self-driving car.

During a board meeting held to determine the probable cause of the 18 March crash, the NTSB said an Uber Technologies division’s “inadequate safety culture” contributed to the night-time fatal collision between an Uber automated test vehicle and a pedestrian. The vehicle operator was uninjured in the crash, while the pedestrian, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg who was walking her bike across the street, died.

Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group had modified the striking vehicle, a 2017 Volvo XC90, with a proprietary developmental automated driving system. The vehicle’s factory-installed forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems were deactivated during the operation of the automated system. An Uber ATG operator was in the driver’s seat, but the automated system was controlling the vehicle when it struck the pedestrian at 39 MPH (62 km/h).

The NTSB determined that the immediate cause of the collision was the failure of the Uber ATG operator to closely monitor the road and the operation of the automated driving system because the operator was visually distracted throughout the trip by a personal mobile phone. Contributing to the crash was Uber ATG’s inadequate safety risk assessment procedures, ineffective oversight of the vehicle operators and a lack of adequate mechanisms for addressing operators’ automation complacency – all consequences of the division’s inadequate safety culture.

“Safety starts at the top,” said Robert L. Sumwalt, NTSB Chairman. “The collision was the last link of a long chain of actions and decisions made by an organisation that unfortunately did not make safety the top priority.”

The NTSB recommended that the NHTSA require entities wishing to test a developmental automated driving system on public roads to submit safety self-assessment plans before being allowed to begin or continue testing, and that the NHTSA should review the plans to ensure they include appropriate safeguards.

Robert L. Sumwalt.

Standox Releases 2020 Colours Of Europe Calendar

The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship (Euro 2020) will take place next year with Ireland to host some of the final games alongside other European countries. The Standox 2020 calendar is embracing the tournament, while highlighting certain cars.

Anatol Kotte, a German photographer, has captured Europe’s fascination with football in the Standox 2020 calendar – The Colours of Europe. Kotte captures the flair of 12 European countries in very individual ways, using subtle hints through shop signs, road markings or the colour of a licence plate.

Standox said the calendar’s images show people engrossed in what they do and aims to illustrate that football is more than a European championship, but rather has its roots in people’s playfulness. The calendar also shows some unique and rare vehicles, such as the Spyker C8 (which used to be manufactured near Amsterdam), a Lamborghini Aventador and a GAZ-14 Chaika from Russia.

“We have been working with well-known photographers to design our Standox wall calendar for over 30 years,” says Olaf Adamek, Brand Manager for Standox in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “It is not commercially available, but goes exclusively to customers, partners and friends of the brand. We wish all participating countries the best of luck for all their matches and look forward to a fair and exciting Euro 2020.”

The calendar images can be downloaded online at www.standox.com/europe2020.

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.