VACC Celebrates 100 Years Of Service To The Victorian Automotive Industry

Leading Victorian industry association, the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) turns 100 today.

To mark the start of a three-day celebration, a bronze memorial plaque will be installed on VACC’s founding home, Cahill Chambers, formally known as the Bendigo Chamber of Commerce at View Point.

Additionally, the VACC Executive Board will sit for a special board meeting at Bendigo Town Hall, welcomed by the City of Greater Bendigo Mayor, Margaret O’Rourke.

VACC Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Gwilym said all VACC’s centenary celebrations will take place in Bendigo.

“We were determined to do so in acknowledgement of where we come from, and to say thank you to the people of Bendigo. Regional Victoria is very important to VACC, with half of our members residing there. Regional members have also been incredibly loyal over the years.”

Long-standing VACC members include Wilson Bolton of Horsham, which has just renewed its membership for the 100th time, Edneys of Leongatha which joined in 1920, and Donalda Motor Service in Maffra, which joined in 1925. Wangaratta Toyota has been a VACC member since 1927 and Bendigo business, Innes Motors joined VACC in 1927.

Formed on 20 September 1918 in Bendigo by three local motor dealers, brothers Henry and Percy Rickards, and Montague Simes, VACC was created to protect the local automotive industry from being overwhelmed by larger, overseas competitors.

One-hundred years later, VACC is one of Australia’s largest and most influential employer associations, with more than 5000 business-owner members.

While celebrating it’s past, VACC is also looking to the future. The association recently sold its St Kilda Road home of 60 years, VACC House, and has purchased land in North Melbourne where a new head office will be built.

“VACC’s new headquarters will be modern, fit for purpose and a statement of the chamber’s future focus,” said Gwilym.

25th Automechanika Frankfurt Closes, Records Visitor Increase

Automechanika Frankfurt has concluded, following five trade fair days with a record number of exhibitors, more visitors than the 2016 show and a new record for exhibition space.

 The event drew 136,000 trade visitors from 181 countries, and of these, more than 10,000 were at the event for the first time. More than 80 per cent of exhibitors said they had achieved their goals for the event.

“The 25th Automechanika Frankfurt was the biggest and most international event in its history,” said Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt.

“From 11 to 15 September 2018, more than 5000 companies presented their new products and solutions in an area of around 315,000 square metres. The feedback from our customers has been unmistakable. Never before has the Automechanika Frankfurt fair been so focused on the future. All areas of the automotive aftermarket – industry, retail and workshops – have responded to megatrends that include connected cars, networked workshops and clean vehicles, offering an amazing range of innovations for the international group of professionals in attendance these past few days.

“In all 23 exhibition hall levels and in the outdoor exhibition area, things were really humming.”

US paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams, which was making its first-ever appearance at an Automechanika trade fair worldwide, used virtual reality to present new products and a new training app.

As a counterpoint to the emphasis on the digital world, the new Classic Cars exhibition area enjoyed an impressive debut at the trade fair. 75 per cent of exhibitors in this new area were very satisfied, including parts manufacturers, paint suppliers, start-ups and associations.

The next Automechanika Frankfurt is scheduled to take place from 8-12 September 2020.

Axalta’s Acquire Quantum EFX Selected As Finalist For 2018 R&D 100 Awards

Axalta announced its Color Retrieval System featuring Acquire Quantum EFX was named a finalist for R&D Magazine’s 2018 R&D 100 Awards, which features the top 100 revolutionary technologies of the past year.

 The Axalta Color Retrieval System is the company’s proprietary online process designed to help customers obtain any colour information needed, quickly and more efficiently than ever before.

“The Axalta Color Retrieval System and the Acquire Quantum EFX are helping to digitize the body shop industry and reduce its reliance on matching colours by their visual appearance,” said Barry Snyder, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer. “The System packs innovative colour technology into a lighter and faster unit to help customers create more accurate and faster colour matches, allowing for more vehicle throughput.

“Axalta is an innovation company and we invest four per cent of sales each year to developing new technologies. The Axalta Color Retrieval System and the Acquire Quantum EFX are new innovations paving the future for a more efficient body shop industry. We’re thrilled and honoured to be named a finalist in the R&D 100 Awards.”

The R&D 100 Awards is an annual awards programme which will be held in mid-November. The programme identifies and celebrates the top 100 revolutionary technologies of the past year. These awards recognise 100 of the top innovations across five categories: Analytical/Test, IT/Electrical, Mechanical Devices/Materials, Process/Prototyping, and Software/Services. The R&D 100 Awards Finalists were selected by an independent panel of more than 50 judges representing R&D leaders in a variety of fields.

Axalta’s Acquire Quantum EFX.

BASF Opens Modular Lab For Automotive OEM Coatings At Its Münster Site

BASF’s Coatings division has opened a new laboratory for automotive OEM coatings at its Münster site in Germany. The modular “Lean Lab” concept aims to ensure optimised, digitalised and transparent processes and efficient use of resources in the laboratory area throughout Europe.

BASF says its lab employees’ discrete working processes and the use of standardised and automated processes allow the company to meet future market requirements quickly and flexibly. In line with this, the workforce in Münster is supported by a lab dosing machine that was specially developed for BASF and is the only one of its kind in the coatings industry, according to the company.

“BASF cooperates very closely with all major automotive manufacturers worldwide to develop advanced coatings technologies,” said Dirk Bremm, President of BASF’s Coatings division.

“Through the digitalisation of processes, optimised use of resources, and automation, we can respond even more efficiently and address our customers’ needs.”

Since 2014, BASF says it has invested €24 million to completely overhaul an existing laboratory building for this purpose, which included adding an extra story. The building now features four bright and airy laboratory levels with spacious offices and state-of-the-art lab workplaces that are all digitally linked. Discrete work processes are intelligently designed to foster customer-specific product developments, manufacture paint samples and perform application tests.

An optimised logistics concept also ensures that all materials for daily work – and for this work only – are available, which positively impacts resource efficiency. A lab dosing machine that is unique in the coatings industry and was specifically built for the lab in Münster, facilitates work and assures quality. At 12 metres long and weighing eight tonnes, it can manufacture standard formulas from over 300 liquid raw materials.

“It is said that digitalisation affects everyone,” said Karl-Josef Laumann, Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. “BASF’s Lean Lab clearly demonstrates how certain occupations, such as that of a laboratory technician for coatings, are being redefined.

“It is still about researching the features and appearance of colours and paints, but it takes place in a high-tech environment today. Young people who take this job need knowledge in chemistry, technology and IT alike. This proves to me that vocational training is modern. It is attractive. It is the starting point of a career.”

All job orders and the associated experiments within the lab are digitally stored and documented, which promotes transparency, reproducibility and knowledge transfer among the individual sites.

“The Lean Lab in Münster is our pilot project,” said Wolfgang Reckordt, Product Development Europe Automotive OEM Coatings at the BASF Coatings division. “Since late 2017, we have been gathering experience that we can use for introducing the Lean Lab at other sites in Europe – in Würzburg, Germany; Guadalajara, Spain; and Clermont, France.

“Lean Lab is our new European standard and will open up many possibilities for us to intensify product development and respond flexibly to new challenges.”

(From left) Minister Karl-Josef Laumann; Wendela-Beate Vilhjalmsson, Münster City Mayor; Susanne Richert, Lean Lab Project Manager; and Dirk Bremm.

Ezi-Methods Achieves One Million Method Downloads

Auto Industry Consulting has announced that it recently achieved the milestone of one million repair methods downloaded by customers of its Ezi-Methods service.

Ezi-Methods gives repairers the ability to download the repair methods they need to ensure safe and efficient repairs are undertaken and to remain compliant with industry standards.

Over the last four years the number of subscribers has increased rapidly, with customers particularly appreciating the ease of use, reliability and value for money provided. The service is fully MVIRI compliant, and users can access their individual download history to demonstrate compliance at audit time.  The system can be accessed from a desktop, tablet or mobile phone, and as it takes just three clicks to download the correct method, no special training is required.

“We launched Ezi-Methods as a result of there being a significant demand for a repair methods system that is simple, reliable and reasonably priced, said Ben Cardy, Commercial Director of Ezi-Methods owner, Auto Industry Consulting Ltd.

“Providing over one million repair methods to customers since the launch is an incredible achievement for us and is testament to how hard we’ve worked to get here. However, it’s only the first step as we expect to do the second million far quicker than the first!”

Andrew Marsh, Engineering Director, added: “We continue to offer a collision repair centric service covering not only body panel but SRS, seats / seat belts, interior trim, ADAS, four-wheel alignment, steering / suspension / brakes as well as front end cooling pack. It is this that sets us apart and gives our clients the edge in the repair process. We thank all of our clients who have been with us so far, and look forward to serving the industry for many years to come.”

The lucky customer who downloaded the one millionth method was Paul Wood, Vehicle Damage Assessor at The ARC Group in Chippenham, UK. Presented with a bottle of champagne and an Ezi-Methods shirt customised with his name and the words “Millionth Method Man”, he commented: “Thanks loads to Ezi-Methods – not only for this excellent bottle, but for making our lives easier in the office here. It really is a great system to use, quick and simple, with everything you need instantly accessible. The guys on the helpdesk are super responsive and will get you anything you need ASAP.”

For more information on Ezi-Methods, visit www.ezimethods.com.au.

Ezi-Methods Achieves One Million Method Downloads

Auto Industry Consulting has announced that it recently achieved the milestone of one million repair methods downloaded by customers of its Ezi-Methods service.

Ezi-Methods gives repairers the ability to download the repair methods they need to ensure safe and efficient repairs are undertaken and to remain compliant with industry standards.

Over the last four years the number of subscribers has increased rapidly, with customers particularly appreciating the ease of use, reliability and value for money provided. The service is fully BSI 10125 compliant, and users can access their individual download history to demonstrate compliance at audit time.  The system can be accessed from a desktop, tablet or mobile phone, and as it takes just three clicks to download the correct method, no special training is required.

“We launched Ezi-Methods as a result of there being a significant demand for a repair methods system that is simple, reliable and reasonably priced, said Ben Cardy, Commercial Director of Ezi-Methods owner, Auto Industry Consulting Ltd.

“Providing over one million repair methods to customers since the launch is an incredible achievement for us and is testament to how hard we’ve worked to get here. However, it’s only the first step as we expect to do the second million far quicker than the first!”

Andrew Marsh, Engineering Director, added: “We continue to offer a collision repair centric service covering not only body panel but SRS, seats / seat belts, interior trim, ADAS, four-wheel alignment, steering / suspension / brakes as well as front end cooling pack. It is this that sets us apart and gives our clients the edge in the repair process. We thank all of our clients who have been with us so far, and look forward to serving the industry for many years to come.”

The lucky customer who downloaded the one millionth method was Paul Wood, Vehicle Damage Assessor at The ARC Group in Chippenham, UK. Presented with a bottle of champagne and an Ezi-Methods shirt customised with his name and the words “Millionth Method Man”, he commented: “Thanks loads to Ezi-Methods – not only for this excellent bottle, but for making our lives easier in the office here. It really is a great system to use, quick and simple, with everything you need instantly accessible. The guys on the helpdesk are super responsive and will get you anything you need ASAP.”

Ezi-Methods is available to customers in the UK for under £100 a month with unlimited usage. For more information visit ezimethods.com, or call Ben Cardy on +44 7923 563260 to set up a free trial.

Automechanika Frankfurt Kicks Off 25th Edition With New Records

Automechanika Frankfurt 2018 has opened its doors with more than 5000 exhibitors showing off their wares across the 12 halls of the Frankfurt Messe. The fair brings together the many trends, large and small, of the automotive aftermarket and collision repair industry, opening this year to an array of innovations in the fields of equipment, parts, accessories, management and services.

Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt, said: “Growth in the automotive aftermarket continues unabated; this is shown by a renewed participation in a record number of exhibitors for the 25th edition. This year we also expect guests from over 170 countries. They will be focusing on technological progress, knowledge transfer and forging new alliances.”

The best of the best entries for the Automechanika Innovation Awards were honoured at a presentation ceremony on the first day in the Forum, with 10 winners in three categories chosen from a total of 120 entries (58 nominees and 36 finalists along with the 10 winners). The jury of eight experts was made up of representatives of the industry, trade, associations, science and media, with judging criteria being innovative content, solution excellence, functionality, aftermarket relevance, safety, security, quality, contribution to environmental protection, resource conservation and sustainability.

Around a third of entries came from Germany and two thirds from outside the country; 10 per cent of those entries were from outside the European Union. There was also an above-average increase in the number of entries from outside Germany – a trend that has been apparent for several years. The majority of entries were products and solutions from the workshop equipment segment, including tools, measuring devices and aids, in the categories Repair & Maintenance, and Repair & Diagnostics.

Automechanika Frankfurt 2018 is being held across all 12 halls at the Frankfurt Messe, with Hall 11 dedicated to the Body and Paint section. BodyShop News is exhibiting at stand 11.1 D63.

Volkswagen Developing 3D Printing Process For Mass Production

Volkswagen is working on a new process for 3D printing to be used in mass production. The company says the new Metal Jet process by printer manufacturer HP simplifies and speeds up metallic 3D printing, improving productivity by up to 50 times faster compared to other 3D printing methods.

With the announcement, Volkswagen is declaring 3D printing as mass-production ready in automotive industry. Together with printer manufacturer HP and component manufacturer GKN Powder Metallurgy, the German marque is pressing ahead with the development of the technology for mass production. The partners presented the new process for the first time at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago this week.

Dr Martin Goede, Head of Technology Planning and Development, Volkswagen, said: “Automotive production is facing major challenges: our customers are increasingly expecting more personalisation options. At the same time, complexity is increasing with the number of new models. That’s why we are relying on state-of-the-art technologies to ensure a smooth and fast production. 3D printing plays a particularly important role in manufacturing of individual parts.”

Volkswagen says one of its vehicles is manufactured from 6000 to 8000 different parts. While previous 3D printing processes can only be used for the special production of individual parts or prototypes, the additive 3D Metal Jet technology from HP enables the production of a large number of parts using 3D printing without having to develop and manufacture the corresponding tools. This significantly reduces the time required to manufacture parts, making the process a serious consideration for the production of large quantities of parts in a short period of time.

“That’s why the new HP Metal Jet platform is an important step into the future for us as an automotive manufacturer, but also for the entire industry, and we look forward to helping shape this development and thus creating further added value for our customers in the future,” Dr Goede continued.

In collaboration with HP and GKN, Volkswagen is further developing the technology so that design elements can be printed in a small series at first. This will be required to produce individualised design parts such as tailgate lettering, special gear knobs or keys with personalised lettering for customers without a great deal of effort. Volkswagen say the plan is to be capable of offering this type of individualisation proposition to customers as soon as possible.

As early as next year, GKN says it intends to establish a process chain geared toward automotive production in collaboration with Volkswagen. The first small (design) components will be used to further develop the technology so that the first structural components for mass-production vehicles can be printed within two to three years.

“A complete vehicle will probably not be manufactured by a 3D printer any time soon, but the number and size of parts from the 3D printer will increase significantly,” explained Dr Goede. “Our goal is to integrate printed structural parts into the next generation of vehicles as quickly as possible. In the long term, we expect a continuous increase in unit numbers, part sizes and technical requirements – right up to soccer-size parts of over 100,000 units per year.”

According to Volkswagen, the new 3D printing process using the HP Metal Jet process is an additive process in which parts are produced layer by layer using a powder and binder. The component is then ‘baked’ into a metallic component using a sintering process. This differs from previous processes in which powder is melted by means of a laser.

Mercedes-Benz Australia Approves Glasurit As Preferred Supplier

Glasurit, BASF’s premium automotive refinishing brand, has been named the preferred supplier for refinishing paint for all Mercedes-Benz Autobody Repairers in Australia and New Zealand.

Mercedes-Benz Autobody Repairers say they operate under the commitment to return cars to their pre-accident condition and ensure the original safety and quality of the vehicle is not compromised. BASF says the Glasurit brand is known worldwide for its innovative premium refinish products and its extensive portfolio of services, in addition to offering an extensive training programme and diverse range of instruments for developing body shops.

“Our partnership with Mercedes-Benz in Australia and New Zealand is about more than just delivering high-quality refinishing paint. It also offers Mercedes-Benz Autobody Repairers with access to our leading training programmes and expert know-how required to implement the most efficient work processes in the body shop,” explained Paul Hooper, Senior Key Account Manager BASF.

BASF and Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, have a long-standing partnership across production and supplier networks throughout the world.

As a global vehicle manufacturer renowned for cutting edge design and technology and superb build quality, Mercedes-Benz says it only endorses products that meet its stringent quality and performance requirements.

“Being elevated to preferred supplier status with Mercedes-Benz enables us to build on our existing partnership and deliver premium products and services, including training, business consultancy and colour support to the authorised repairers,” added Hooper.

Mercedes-Benz Launches Its First EV – The EQC

Mercedes-Benz has launched its first electric car, the EQC, in Stockholm.

Touted first at the Paris Motor Show in 2016, the new EQ-prefixed models will go into full production in 2019 in Bremen, Germany.

The EQC features an all-new drive system with compact electric drivetrains at each axle. These give the EQC the driving characteristics of an all-wheel drive vehicle.

To reduce power consumption and increase dynamics, the electric drivetrains are configured differently; the front electric motor is optimised for best possible efficiency in the low to medium load range, while the rear one determines dynamics. Together, they generate an output of 300kW and a maximum torque of 765Nm. This allows the vehicle to get to 100km/h from a standing start in 5.1 seconds and reach a governed maximum speed of 180km/h.

The lithium-ion battery, which has an energy content of 80 kWh supplies the vehicle with power, with Mercedes-Benz claiming a range of more than 450km on a full charge under Europe’s old NEDC test cycle. Real-world range is expected to be slightly lower.

Mercedes-Benz says the EQC meets the highest requirements with respect to passive safety. In addition to the usual extensive programme of crash tests, the company says it applies further, particularly-stringent safety standards to the battery and all component parts carrying electrical current. The vehicle structure of the EQC has been adapted to suit the special requirements of the electrical components and battery and is “configured to achieve the usual high safety level”.

Mechanical protection of the battery begins with the installation position of the high-voltage battery beneath the vehicle floor, where it is surrounded by a stable frame that can absorb impact energy. Deformation elements are installed between the frame and the battery, and these are able to absorb additional forces in the event of a severe side impact. A battery guard in the front area is able to prevent the energy storage unit from being pierced by foreign objects. Placement of the heavy battery at the bottom of the car improves the vehicle’s centre of gravity, ensuring a stable and dynamic ride.

Electrical protection of the high-voltage system consists of a multi-stage safety concept that deploys in the event of an accident. The high-voltage system automatically shuts down, reversibly or irreversibly, according to the severity of the accident. There are also shutdown points where emergency teams can deactivate the high-voltage system manually.