Axalta Promotes Troy Weaver To Vice President, Global Refinish

Axalta Coating Systems announced that Troy Weaver has been promoted to Vice President, Global Refinish, effective immediately. Weaver will report directly to CEO, Robert Bryant.

“We are thrilled to promote Troy to head up our Global Refinish business and add him to Axalta’s leadership team,” said Bryant. “Troy’s experience, in virtually every aspect of our Refinish business during the past 27 years, positions him extraordinarily well to be the next leader of this cornerstone business. His deep institutional knowledge of our Refinish business and the industry, his long-standing relationships with customers ranging from multi-shop operators to independent body shop owners, and his strong business acumen and sales and marketing expertise, make him a perfect fit for this leadership role.”

“Our Refinish business will continue to be an industry innovation leader,” continued Bryant. “We are committed to consistently delivering the exceptional products and services that our customers want. Troy has played a critical role in developing the plan that has driven our strong track record of growth and success.  We are confident that his vision for the future will help us grow our Refinish business and industry-leading position.”

“We are proud to have another internal promotion on our leadership team,” concluded Bryant. “We believe the expertise, understanding, and continuity that our next generation of leaders, like Troy, brings new thinking and enhances our culture. Troy will be a great addition to our leadership team, and we expect that he will continue to differentiate our Refinish business through innovation, while he and his team deliver value to customers every day.”

Prior to his promotion, Weaver was Axalta’s Vice President, North America Refinish where he was responsible for Axalta’s Refinish business in the USA and Canada.  He began his career at DuPont Performance Coatings in 1992, and has held various sales and marketing leadership roles. He is also a two-time recipient of DuPont’s Prestigious Marketing Excellence Award, first in 2007 and again in 2010. Weaver is active in the industry and has served as Chairman of the Board of the CIECA (Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association).

Hyundai Launches Solar Roof Charging System

Hyundai is launching its first car with a solar roof charging system. The company says the technology will provide vehicles with additional electrical power, as well as increasing fuel efficiency and driving range.

The solar roof charging system will first feature in the latest generation Sonata Hybrid to support the vehicle’s electric power source, improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. In the coming years, Hyundai says it will roll out the technology to other vehicles across its range.

“Solar roof technology is a good example of how Hyundai Motor is moving towards becoming a clean mobility provider,” said Heui Won Yang, Senior Vice President and head of the Body Tech Unit of Hyundai Motor Group. “The technology allows our customers to actively tackle emissions issues. We are striving to further expand the application of the technology beyond eco-friendly vehicle line up to vehicles with internal combustion engine.”

Hyundai says the solar roof can charge 30 to 60 per cent of the battery per day with 6 hours of daily charging, and is capable of functioning while the car is in motion. Hyundai expects the roof to increase drivers’ travel distance by an extra 1300km annually.

The system is composed of a solar panel and a controller. Electricity is produced when solar energy – photons of light from the sun – activates the panel’s surface. The electron-hole pairs in silicon cells are then created, and the photons are converted into electricity. The electricity is then converted to the right voltage by the controller, and then stored in the battery.

The new Sonata is now on sale in Korea and will soon be sold in North America. Hyundai says it currently has no plans to expand sales to the European market.

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.

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.