Lamborghini Introduces New Paint Shop

Lamborghini inaugurated its new paint shop for the Urus SUV in Sant’Agata Bolognese. The company says its cutting-edge plant is inspired by its Factory 4.0 model in combining craftsmanship and digitisation, and is the first in the world to integrate “new frontiers of artificial intelligence”. It’s also first to be equipped with artificial intelligence able to recognise priorities and programme processes.

The intelligent system maintains a memory of each process carried out, calculates the time needed for each vehicle, and “learns” to programme the subsequent steps based on past experience, for example, the quantity of a particular colour needed to paint a vehicle.

With the new paint shop, Lamborghini says it can offer its customers infinite colour options. The colours are divided into four types: standard, special, matte, and “Ad Personam”.

Through the Ad Personam programme, customers can not only choose to personalise their car with the colours and graphics they prefer, but can also create their own unique and special colour, as in a true work of art.

3M, Saint-Gobain Settle Paint Spray Patent Dispute

3M Company and Saint-Gobain Abrasives Inc. announced that they have settled a long-standing patent dispute in Europe relating to 3M’s Paint Preparation System and Saint-Gobain’s Norton Paint Systems brands.

The settlement covers infringement actions brought by 3M under several European patents against Saint-Gobain Abrasives in Germany and in France. It also covers corresponding actions by Saint-Gobain Abrasives in both countries and before the European Patent Office.

The settlement concluded between the two companies includes the resolution of all disputes and a release of Saint-Gobain’s NPS products under 3M’s paint spray technology related patents.

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.

Tesla Model 3 And Audi A6 Achieve High ANCAP Safety Scores

Tesla’s Model 3 has achieved strong results in the areas of occupant protection and active collision avoidance, scoring a five-star ANCAP safety rating. The Audi A6 sedan also performed well, achieving five stars.

A score of 96 per cent was achieved by the Model 3 for adult occupant protection with full points achieved for the driver in three of four destructive crash tests. Full points were also scored by the front passenger in the frontal offset test which simulates a head-on crash. The vehicle scored maximum points for child occupants in the side impact test and 94 per cent in the safety assist category, the highest score achieved against current protocols.

The Model 3 is equipped with a range of driver assistance systems, including an advanced lane support system capable of emergency lane-keeping which actively intervenes to avoid steering into the path of an oncoming or adjacent vehicle.

“This is an impressive result, and great to see electric vehicles continuing to prioritise safety,” said ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, James Goodwin.

“It is encouraging to see Tesla give equal attention to the active safety systems and technologies on board as well as the safety fundamentals through the structure and restraints.”

ANCAP said the Audi A6 is well equipped with a range of safety features and technologies. It performed well across the range of assessments and is equipped with an active bonnet to reduce injury to pedestrians.

“The Audi A6 offers a good mix of safety systems for adults, children and other road users,” said Goodwin.

Five-star ANCAP safety ratings apply to all Australian and New Zealand variants of the Tesla Model 3 and Audi A6 variants.

CIECA Webinar To Examine Artificial Intelligence Black Box Impact On Claims

CIECA has announced its next CIECAst webinar titled Inside the AI Black Box: Understanding How Algorithms Appraise Auto Damage in Seconds.

The webinar will be held on 8 August at 10am CST and will feature two people from UK artificial intelligence (AI) software company, Tractable: Julie Kheyfets, head of North America, and estimating research lead Marcel Horstmann.

During the one-hour live broadcast, Kheyfets and Horstmann will explain how AI generates repair estimates from photos. They will walk through the fundamentals of computer vision, share a live demo, and highlight key considerations for organisations pioneering AI.

Kheyfets leads the North America business for Tractable, where she works closely with collision industry players who are adopting Tractable’s technology. Horstmann leads the Machine Learning and Product Development teams for Tractable’s AI estimating product. Since its start in 2014, Tractable says it has deployed its AI solutions across North America, Europe and Asia, and processed hundreds of thousands of claims.

Following the CIECAst webinar, attendees will have the opportunity to take a short quiz to earn credit toward a professional designation from the Automotive Management Institute (AMi).

To register for the CIECAst, visit this link.

Nissan Plans To Cut 12,500 Jobs Globally

Nissan intends to axe more than 12,500 jobs around the world by 2022, with most of the cuts coming in Europe.

The Japanese car manufacturer is suffering from falling sales in the US, one of its biggest overseas markets, following years of heavy discounts.

The global plan includes the 4800 job cuts announced in May and will mostly be at factories in South America and other regions where Nissan’s profitability is low.

The cuts, exceeding nine percent of Nissan’s 138,000-strong workforce, highlight the extent of problems facing Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa, who is also grappling with fractured relations with French alliance partner Renault, which owns 43 per cent of the Japanese manufacturer, following the arrest of their shared former chairman, Carlos Ghosn.

Nissan, which has about 138,000 employees worldwide, warned in May that its operating profit would fall to the lowest level in 11 years after posting a 98.5 per cent plunge in first-quarter operating profit.

I-CAR Announces New Gold Class Insurer

I-CAR Australia has announced that RACQ Insurance, QLD, has been awarded the I-CAR Gold Class Insurer status.

“We’re proud to be recognised for investing in ongoing training and development of our motoring assessors at the highest industry level,” said Brian Woodrow, Manager of Technical Support at RACQ. “Our members’ trust is paramount to us so this endorsement shows they are being looked after by the best in the business. As vehicle and repair technologies continue to evolve, RACQ is committed to equipping our team with leading-edge skills to deliver a seamless repairer and member experience.

“Our partnership with the I-CAR team has been very positive, and we look forward to continued engagement in the future.”

“RACQ Insurance has shown an unwavering commitment to technical training and as a result have achieved I-CAR Gold Class Insurer status,” said I-CAR Australia’s CEO, Mark Czvitkovits. “The I-CAR Gold Class accreditation is the highest level of technical training within the industry and ensures that all assessing staff have the skills, knowledge and expertise to ensure safe and complete repairs for their members. This is a great achievement by everyone at RACQ Insurance.

“As Australia’s fifth insurer to achieve Gold Class, it underlines the importance of training when providing a service to deliver complete, safe and quality repairs on modern vehicles.”

To achieve Insurer Gold Class, a minimum of 75 per cent of an insurance company’s assessing staff must have been awarded the Platinum Individual designation.

BASF Spain Inaugurates Its Renovated Refinish Competence Centre

The Refinish Competence Centre at BASF Spain in Marchamalo (Guadalajara) celebrated its official reopening.

BASF says the training centre is dedicated to teaching body shop technicians, distributors and large automotive companies – all of them BASF customers in Spain and Portugal – about its premium brands, Glasurit and R-M. In addition, it hosts numerous events intended to promote the training of young future professionals, through initiatives such as “R-M Best Painter Contest” and “Castilla-La Mancha Skills”, as well as training vocational teachers through the FORTECO programme.

Originally built in 1983, BASF says the facility is among the top addresses for its customers in Iberia, with more than 2000 people a year participating in the training programmes. The training is key to mastering the complex techniques of colour adjustment and automotive refinishing, and it provides a complete overview of the latest innovations of the two brands.

Since the start of this year, BASF says the Marchamalo centre has invested around €2.5 million in renovating the facility to offer the best possible technological experience, saying the fundamental reason for the modernisation was the company’s “innovative spirit” as well as its commitment to its customers. With a focus on sustainability and environmental protection, BASF has installed equipment with maximum energy efficiency and minimum emissions.

Patricia Franco Jiménez, Regional Minister of Economy, Enterprise and Employment for Castilla-La Mancha, and Rafael Esteban Santamaria, Mayor of Marchamalo, joined other official representatives at the inauguration. The company was represented by Katja Scharpwinkel, Senior Vice President Automotive Refinish Coatings EMEA, Carles Navarro Vigo, Managing Director Country Cluster Head Iberia, Christian Schneider, Site Manager Marchamalo / Director of Operations, and Ramón Farré Gaudier, Regional Business Manager Automotive Refinish Coatings Iberia.

The production centre in Marchamalo (Guadalajara) is the headquarters of the Coatings division in Spain. The plant has been used by BASF as a production centre since 1982, although the company origins date back to 1867. Covering an area of 310,000 square metres, the centre employs around 650 staff and encompasses two paint factories – one plant for intermediate resins, and a large-scale production unit. Apart from the renovated training centre, the site includes an automotive application centre as well as quality control and development laboratories for all its main product segments.

The products manufactured in Guadalajara include high-technology coatings for the automotive industry and other technically demanding applications, various acrylics, binders for electrocoating, thix additives, polyesters and other special intermediate resins, and decorative paints, fillers and protective additives for tunnelling machines.

Hino Australia’s Bodyworx Programme Expands

Hino has found success in its Bodyworx programme, resulting in the company hosting a series of information seminars for truck body builders, component suppliers and engineering certifiers in what it believes to be a first for the Australian truck industry.

Hino launched the programme in early 2018 with the creation of an online portal containing technical and regulatory information to assist with the design and construction of truck and bus bodies on Hino chassis.

“Hino is at the forefront of the operational, safety and technology integration between the truck and the body, with body builders, component suppliers and certifiers now requiring a far greater understanding of the intricate workings of these systems than ever before,” said Daniel Petrovski, Manager of Product Strategy for Hino Australia.

“It is also essential that they understand the implications associated with fitting a body to a Hino chassis and that there can be differing impacts on the vehicle’s chassis from the various body types and the body mountings that can be chosen.

“We have a responsibility to actively share all the information that we can with the body builders and component suppliers who we consider our business partners.

“At Hino, our trucks are built under the guiding principles of Quality, Durability and Reliability, and by providing this next level of information to our body builders, we are equipping them with the knowledge about the Hino trucks they require to build and mount their bodies to the end customer’s vehicle.

“We know that a correctly integrated body provides our customers with superior operational outcomes, which is a positive for everyone.”

Over 200 body builders nationally were invited to attend the first round of the Hino Bodyworx seminars, which ran over two months in five capital cities.

“Hino Australia Applications Engineer Jeff Gibson has been instrumental in the creation of the Hino Bodyworx Portal and taking the Hino Bodyworx programme to the next level with the creation of these information seminars,” said Petrovski.

“Jeff was supported at the seminars by Hino Australia’s recently appointed Applications Engineer, Yousif Nassrat, who has brought a wealth of capability and new approach thanks to his previous work in the Authorised Vehicle Examiners (AVE) area of the industry.”

Information taught in these seminars includes body mounting guidelines, recommendations and specifications, CAD drawings, detail on technology systems employed in the various Hino models and how bodies need to be built to integrate with them.

“The Bodyworx seminars are a natural extension of the information already available on the Hino Bodyworx portal,” said Petrovski.

“They allow Hino direct contact with the body builders and component suppliers and provide context, and importantly enable us to answer specific questions that industry participants may have.

“Feedback from the seminar attendees has been very positive, and we believe it will ultimately lead to better outcomes and products for our customers.”

Pete Weatherby, President of the Licensed Certifiers Association (LCA), attended the first event in Sydney in May.

“The event was an excellent opportunity for AVEs and body builders to establish important business links with Hino and more so important with the growing applications of technologies,” said Weatherby.

“We recommend the Hino Bodyworx events to all of our LCA members, including our AVE counterparts interstate.”

The next round of the Hino Bodyworx seminars will occur in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Holden To Bring New Corvette To Australia

General Motors Holden has confirmed that the next generation mid-engine Corvette will be built in right-hand-drive and will be made available in Australia.

“Like anyone with a hint of petrol in their veins, we were glued to our screens watching the reveal of the new Corvette,” said Dave Buttner, Chairman and Managing Director of Holden. “The news that Corvette will now be built in right-hand-drive for the first time ever – and will be exported to Australia – is hugely exciting for our team at Holden and any Australian who loves high performance cars.

“With our long history in motor-racing, performance vehicles are an indelible part of the Holden brand. Our team is totally revved up to build on Holden’s performance legacy with the most technologically advanced Corvette ever built.

“We look forward to taking on the European and Japanese performance vehicles with some highly sophisticated American muscle.”

“Corvette has always represented the pinnacle of innovation and boundary-pushing at GM,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout. In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history. Customers are going to be thrilled with our focus on details and performance across the board.”

The new mid-engine layout gives the Corvette:

  • Better weight distribution, with the rear weight bias enhancing performance in a straight line and on the track.
  • Better responsiveness and sense of control due to driver positioning closer to the front axle, almost on top of the front wheels.
  • The fastest 0-100km/h time of any entry Corvette — approximately three seconds when equipped with Z51 package.
  • A race car-like view of the road due to lower positioning of the bonnet, instrument panel and steering wheel. Excellent forward sightlines throughout the vehicle for both driver and passenger.
  • An enhancement of the Corvette’s traditional utility strengths with dual boots, ideal for luggage or two sets of golf clubs.

“As America’s most iconic performance nameplate, redesigning the Corvette from the ground up presented the team a historic opportunity, something Chevrolet designers have desired for over 60 years,” said Mike Simcoe, Vice President of Global Design, General Motors. “It is now the best of America, a new arrival in the mid-engine sports car class. We know Corvette can stand tall with the best the world has to offer.”

The new location of the engine is visible through the large rear hatch window. GM says the Corvette’s canopy-forward stance was inspired by F22s, F35s and other modern fighter jets, along with Formula One racing, adding that the Corvette is designed for superior ride comfort on the highway and well-balanced handling on the track.

“Thanks to sophisticated suspension geometry, tailored tyre technology and exquisite attention to structural details, we have improved ride and handling,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette Executive Chief Engineer. “No Corvette has ever felt so comfortable, nimble and yet completely stable.”

The new Corvette is powered by the LT2 ‘small block’ 6.2L V8 engine, producing 369 kW of power and 637 Nm of torque when equipped with performance exhaust. The LT2 is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and features double-paddles on the steering wheel for a ‘different’ shifting experience.

“Though now placed behind the driver, the LT2 gives the same visceral experience we all expect from Corvette,” said Jordan Lee, GM’s Global Chief Engineer of Small Block engines. “The LT2 has been designed to deliver excellent low-end torque and high-end power to give thrilling pedal response at any RPM.”

New Corvette production begins at GM’s Bowling Green facility in late 2019. Holden said it will share further details about Corvette in Australia at a later date.