AkzoNobel Increases Support For The HD Repair Forum

AkzoNobel Coatings has increased its support of the HD Repair Forum by joining Navistar as one of the two exclusive Elite Sponsors for the 2019 event, to be held on 2-3 April in Fort Worth, Texas.

The company was a premier sponsor at the inaugural conference in 2018 and hosted its spring 20-Group meeting alongside the heavy-duty collision conference.

“The company’s involvement and enthusiasm for the heavy-duty industry was obvious. Attendees knew their products and were proud to discuss the benefits they received from being involved with AkzoNobel,” said Brian Nessen, President and Co-Founder of the HD Repair Forum.

Jimmy Harris, co-facilitator to AkzoNobel’s 20-Group, said members find great value in attending the HD Repair Forum.

“At our autumn meeting in 2018, members voted unanimously to once again host the spring meeting upon completion of this conference,” he said.

Nessen said having the group for 2019 confirmed the importance of bringing the industry together.

“We are pleased to hear of their enthusiasm and take pride in being able to further assist this already strong segment of the industry. Their decision supports the ongoing plan for industry collaboration and fits with the direction of the HD Repair Forum, to bring the heavy-duty repair industry together for education and networking.”

The HD Repair Forum is a dedicated resource of heavy-duty collision repair information for shop owners, managers, estimators, appraisers, insurance personnel, manufacturers, educators, and consultants.

At this year’s event, heavy-duty collision repair professionals from across North America will gather to obtain information on the latest trends and industry issues, and discuss the latest technology, solution-based services, and training opportunities.

Heavy-Duty Collision Repair Event Schedule:

Tuesday 2 April
7:00am: Registration
8:00am – 5:00pm: Conference
5:00pm – 6:30pm: Networking Reception

Wednesday 3 April
8:00am – 5:00pm: Conference

Thursday 4 April
AkzoNobel’s 20-Group Meeting

Early-bird registration is available until 9 February. To register visit hdrepairforum.com/hd-repair-forum-2019/register. For more information about the conference, visit www.hdrepairforum.com.

Chuck Olsen Will Host 12 February CIECAst Webinar

Chuck Olsen, Executive Director of Operations for AirPro Diagnostics, will host the next CIECAst webinar on Tuesday, 12 February at 11am CST (5pm UTC): “Interpreting and Documenting Scan Data, Trouble Codes, Calibration.”

During his one-hour live broadcast, Olsen will discuss the proper application of live scan data, DTCs and service information during the scan process for diagnostic and calibration decisions, as well as the tools and equipment needed.

Olsen has 40 years of experience in the automotive repair and technologies industry. His current focus includes operations and continued development of remote diagnostics, calibrations, programming procedures with data analysis for improved diagnostic results, and documentation of confirmed electronic repairs and procedures.

To register for the CIECAst, visit: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8353101282448106755

PPG To Acquire Hemmelrath

PPG said it has reached a “definitive agreement” to acquire automotive coatings manufacturer Hemmelrath, a German manufacturer of coatings for automotive original equipment manufacturers.

“We are excited to add Hemmelrath to our robust and diversified automotive coatings offering,” said Michael McGarry, PPG Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “This acquisition is another step forward in our strategic growth plan that will provide further value to our customers and shareholders.”

Headquartered in Klingenberg, Germany, Hemmelrath is a family-owned manufacturer of OEMs. With more than 450 employees, the company operates manufacturing facilities in Klingenberg and Erlenbach in Germany, as well as Jilin in China, Duncan in South Carolina, USA and Indaiatuba in Brazil.

Hemmelrath supplies automotive plants worldwide and more than seven million vehicles are coated with its products each year.

“The fit between Hemmelrath and PPG is complementary,” said Rebecca Liebert, PPG Senior Vice President, Automotive Coatings. “The acquisition will enhance PPG’s automotive coatings offering and add formulating and manufacturing solutions.”

AMR 2019 Expands Special Zones, Introduces German Pavilion

The Automotive Maintenance and Repair Expo (AMR) will take place from 21 to 24 March 2019 in Beijing’s New China International Exhibition Centre. As one of Asia’s leading repair and maintenance trade shows, the fair has expanded many of its special zones for 2019, and for the first time will host the new German Pavilion. Organisers say the show’s latest addition will allow visiting buyers to explore a more comprehensive exhibiting platform and enable them to connect with some of the most influential names in the global market.

This year’s fair will feature more than 1300 exhibitors across 120,000 square metres of space, covering the most recent advances in garage and collision equipment, testing, diagnostics equipment and tools, repair, car care, parts and more.

In recent years, the automotive industry across China and throughout Asia has seen continued growth driven by increasing vehicle ownership. The trend is expected to continue rising in the coming years, which has encouraged key players across the value chain to tap into the country’s automotive market. With this, the repair and maintenance sector in particular is seeing more demand for new and innovative product ranges and services.

Show organisers say this demand can be seen first-hand at AMR, where they forecast that over 8000 brands from across the world will exhibit. A number of regional and overseas participants have already confirmed their place at the show, including 3M, Atlas, Autel, Axalta, Baozhongbao, Beiersdorf, Bright, Celette, Corghi, DeVilbiss, Festool, Fly-eagle, Guangli, GYS, Hunter, Launch, Mirka, Monarch, Saint Gobain, SATA, Snap-on and Yokistar, from countries such as Greece, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, the United States and more.

In a new development for 2019’s show, the German Pavilion will be making its debut at the fair. The area has already been highly anticipated by many buyers from the Chinese market, as it provides a one-off opportunity to approach some of the most influential European companies in the sector.

“To help maximise the experience for both our exhibitors and visitors, we are excited to welcome the first German Pavilion to this year’s edition of AMR,” said Fiona Chiew, Managing Director for Messe Frankfurt Traders-Link (Beijing). “The exhibitors in this devoted area will be able to offer insights into specific sectors of the industry such as the aftermarket, which is already a very established field in Europe. We believe that this new collaboration will compliment China’s quickly growing repair and maintenance market.”

This year at AMR, organisers say visitors will benefit from more strategic hall planning to provide enhanced coverage and easier navigation across different areas of the repair and maintenance sector. Halls have been categorised into specific zones to support matchmaking for both buyers and exhibitors; these zones include Spare Parts, Car Care, Lubricant Oil and traditional Repair and Maintenance, each of which will feature special sectors to better highlight the industry’s most intricate areas. For example, the aftermarket and new energy vehicles sectors will have their own dedicated area to cover each of these specific trends, while spare parts and lubricants will span across 20,000 square metres of space alone.

Away from the zone’s exhibitors, a total of over 30 fringe events will also run concurrently with the show. Here, industry experts will hold seminars, forums and other activities to reflect the latest global developments, current themes and regional trends across the industry.

Organisers say some of the significant trends under the spotlight within the fringe programme include lubricant oils and the automotive aftermarket supply chain, the development of the repair industry under environmental policy changes, and how the automotive aftermarket is influenced by the development of new energy vehicles. Other interrelated topics will focus on the challenges and opportunities for traditional automotive parts dealers, workshop profit patterns and marketing strategies for tyre shops. Participants can also attend the 2019 Automotive Aftermarket Brand Festival, which is being hosted at AMR.

For all overseas visitors who pre-register online, organisers say they will sponsor VIP services including accommodation, transport, AMR lounge access and assist with visa applications. For further information about AMR visit www.amr-china.cn.

Dave Luehr’s Elite Body Shop Academy Launches ‘Operations Monthly Live’

Elite Body Shop Solutions founder Dave Luehr has announced the release of the Elite Body Shop Academy’s latest training course, Operations Monthly Live. The academy says the new course is specifically designed to help collision repairers receive interactive monthly training and support to reach their operational goals.

“My observations lately indicate that body shop leadership and their teams work way too hard for the results they are getting,” said Luehr. “Shops that will thrive in the future desperately need a better approach. My purpose in launching ‘Operations Monthly Live’ is to share these much‐needed operational secrets with our industry.”

Luehr is offering the first live cast for free on 8 January, 2019, at 10:00am US Central Standard Time.

The academy says that during this one-hour training session, Luehr will share a simple system of operational goal setting and execution that will help body shop executives proactively regain control and find operational success like never before.

To attend, visit and signup for Operations Monthly Live. The academy says visitors who subscribe to future monthly live casts will be given an opportunity to interact live with Luehr while learning world‐class operational techniques and leadership fundamentals, with the blend of educational content allowing participants to successfully implement and sustain the operational techniques learned each month.

Dave Luehr’s Elite Body Shop Academy was created in 2018, with the goal of providing “collision shop personnel modern operational, leadership, and general body shop education in an easy-to-access online video format”. Visitors can sign up for free at the academy to access their own private content accounts.

To learn more, visit elitebodyshopsolutions.com/academy.

ASA Appoints Ray Fisher As Executive Director

Ray Fisher, Executive Director of ASA’s Michigan affiliate, has been selected to head the Automotive Service Association as its Executive Director and President, from the beginning of 2019.

Fisher replaces Dan Risley, who left to pursue an opportunity in his home state of Illinois in July. Beth Risch has served as ASA’s interim Chief Operating Officer while ASA’s Board of Directors conducted an extensive search.

“I appreciate the opportunity that the ASA Board of Directors has afforded me, and I look forward to serving the independent automotive repair industry,” Fisher said about his new role leading the 67-year-old organisation.

“We are at a critical time in our industry where involvement plays an important role. Education and training are no longer an elective but required. Trade schools were forgotten, technology can be overwhelming, and we have an aging workforce that is faced with some difficult decisions. ASA can help lead the industry in addressing those challenges.”

ASA Board Chairman Roy Schnepper said the board felt Fisher distinguished himself in several categories that led to his selection.

“The ASA National Board considered many variables in choosing our next executive director,” said Schnepper. “After reviewing approximately 80 resumes, the search committee of Bryan Kelly, Jim Keller, Robert Redding, Darrell Amberson and myself narrowed it down to three well-qualified candidates and presented this to the board of directors. Ray’s broad industry background and long association experience as Executive Director of the ASA-Michigan affiliate made him the best candidate. We welcome Ray to his new role and look forward to working with him to grow the association through his knowledge and dedication to serving our members.”

Fisher, who has served the industry in varied roles, has been President and Executive Director of ASA-Michigan since 2010. In addition, he served as a body shop manager for more than 20 years and an expert witness for a local law firm regarding collision repair and processes.

With formal education in business administration, Fisher is an Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) and an Accredited Master Automotive Manager (AMAM). He has extensive legislative experience, driving key issues for ASA-Michigan members on sales tax issues and shop licensing. His recognition and contributions to the organisations he served have resulted in numerous awards, including the ASA Affiliate of the Year Award in 2018, ASA Legislative Award in 2015 and 2016, as well as the I-CAR Founder’s Award.

“I’d also like to thank Beth Risch for her service as interim COO during our search process and look forward to continuing our relationship in her consulting capacity,” added Schnepper.

Robert Bryant Named Chief Executive Officer Of Axalta

Axalta has announced that its board of directors has named Robert Bryant Chief Executive Officer on a permanent basis, effective immediately. He had been serving as interim CEO since October 2018. Bryant was also appointed to serve on Axalta’s board of directors.

“Over the past two months, Robert has seamlessly stepped into the role of interim CEO and led the company in a challenging market environment,” said Charlie Shaver, Axalta’s Chairman of the Board. “Having worked closely with him over the past six years, I am extremely confident in his ability to lead Axalta effectively as our permanent CEO. The board and I look forward to seeing Axalta build on its success and continue to thrive under Robert’s leadership.”

“I appreciate the board’s confidence in me and am honoured to continue working alongside a talented management team and dedicated employees to build on Axalta’s well-deserved reputation for customer service and innovation,” Bryant said.

The company also announced that Sean Lannon has been named Chief Financial Officer on a permanent basis, effective immediately. He had been serving as Vice President and interim Chief Financial Officer since October 2018.

“Sean’s business and financial acumen, years of experience working in increasingly senior finance roles at Axalta, and extensive background in financial reporting make him a great fit to succeed me as Axalta’s CFO,” said Bryant. “I am very excited to continue working with Sean to grow Axalta and build shareholder value over the long term.”

UNSW Sunswift Solar Car Sets Guinness World Record

The UNSW Sunswift solar car team last week set a new Guinness World Record for the lowest energy consumption driving across Australia with an electric car.

The student team completed the 4100km journey between Perth and Sydney two days ahead of schedule and averaged 3.25kWh per 100 kilometres, well under the 5.5kWh/100km needed to set the record.

The Sunswift team’s aim for the energy cost was to be less than that of a single tank of fuel. The total costs for the trip turned out to be A$50.

Traveling an average of 600 kilometres each day, the trip was without incident – but ‘Violet’ proved difficult to control.

“Violet is lively on the road a lot, it’s not a production car and you have to kind of handle it like a horse in order to manage it on public roads. But we did it,” said Sunswift team member Hayden Smith.

Violet is the sixth solar car designed and manufactured by the Sunswift team and its first four-seat, family-oriented vehicle. It is five metres long, 2.2 metres wide and stands 1.2 metres high. The vehicle weighs 360 kilograms, thanks in part to its lightweight chassis of carbon fibre monocoque with foam and an aramid honeycomb core.

The car’s solar array consists of 318 SunPower monocrystalline silicon cells with a conversion efficiency of 22 per cent. They charge a modular lithium-ion battery bank that can be sized between 10 and 20 kilowatt-hours, powering twin rear wheel in-hub, brushless DC synchronous motors. Violet has a top speed of 140 km/h.

The car also has front and rear boot space, a reversing camera, parking sensors, an interactive display screen with GPS as well as other creature comforts such as air-conditioning.

“These students have pushed the boundaries of modern engineering and proven that solar powered cars are likely to be a big part of Australia’s motoring future,” said UNSW Dean of Engineering Professor Mark Hoffman, who met the team at the finish line in Sydney.

The team will be busy in the new year preparing for the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, which covers 3000km from Darwin to Adelaide.

The Sunswift Solar Car project has been running at UNSW for 23 years.

Volkswagen Toolmaking Opens 3D Printing Centre

The Volkswagen brand’s Toolmaking unit says it is adding a “highly advanced” 3D printing centre to its facilities in Wolfsburg, bringing the “most highly advanced generation of 3D printers” to the Volkswagen Group to enable the production of complex vehicle parts in the future.

“The 3D printing centre takes Volkswagen’s additive manufacturing activities to a new level,” said Dr. Andreas Tostmann, board member for production of the Volkswagen brand. “In two to three years’ time, three-dimensional printing will also become interesting for the first production parts. In the future, we may be able to use 3D printers directly on the production line for vehicle production,” Tostmann added.

VW says the new generation of 3D printers developed in cooperation with US manufacturer HP is the most modern within the Volkswagen Group and is based on the binder jetting process, which supplements the previous selective laser melting (SLM) process. Binder jetting not only makes metallic 3D printing considerably easier but also faster, while in future, it will be possible to manufacture production parts in addition to prototypes, according to Volkswagen.

At the opening ceremony, Oliver Pohl, Head of Additive Manufacturing, underlined the performance of the team which was said to have recorded outstanding achievements for the future since the start of conversion work a year ago. “Here, we have created an innovative centre which will be of tremendous strategic importance for Volkswagen in the future.”

“The inauguration of the 3D printing centre underlines the importance of Innovation Fund II, which makes investments like this possible,” said Works Council member Susanne Preuk. “The Works Council welcomes the fact that the company is opening up to new technologies and shaping them in a future-oriented way in the interest of the employees.”

To date, the Volkswagen Group says it has mainly used the SLM process for 3D printing with metals. In this process, the material used, such as steel, is applied to a base plate in a thin layer. A laser beam then melts the powder at the points where the component is to be created. The molten powder hardens, forming a solid material layer. The new printers at the centre will now allow the use of other 3D printing processes such as binder jetting. In this additive process, components are manufactured using a metal powder and a binder applied in layers. The metal part which has been printed is then “baked” in a sintering process. Volkswagen say in future, the various processes, which each have specific applications, will supplement each other in an ideal way.

Volkswagen Joins All Auto Recalls To Recover Takata Airbags

Following on from its agreement with Subaru Australia, All Auto Recalls has added Volkswagen Group Australia to its list of partners for recovering Affected Takata Airbag Inflators (ATAIs) from salvage yards and automotive recyclers.

The mandatory recall notice issued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) requires all manufacturers to replace all defective ATAIs that were used in their vehicles by 31 December 2020.

As vehicles get older, a combination of high temperatures and humidity can affect airbags installed inside. In the event of a collision, airbags can activate with too much explosive force, causing sharp metal fragments to shoot out and kill or seriously injure people in the vehicle.

Any salvage yard or automotive recycler wanting to determine whether any vehicle or parts in their possession are affected by the Takata mandatory safety recall can use the VIN check tool available on the Volkswagen website. This tool is accessible at au.volkswagen.com.au/airbag-safety-recall.

Alternatively, All Auto Recalls says it offers a bespoke validation tool and process using their systems, which will enable checking of every VIN held on record retrospectively. For more information, contact All Auto Recalls at [email protected], or Chris Daglis at [email protected] or 0411 743 560. Daglis says upon contact, he will discuss next steps and have his team facilitate the collection/return of frontal Takata airbags on behalf of Volkswagen Group Australia.