Axalta Launches Advanced Color Proofing

Axalta has announced the launch of Advanced Color Proofing, the latest enhancement to its colour retrieval software, ColorNet. The company says the upgrade provides greater insight into a colour’s blendability and saves body shops time and money.

“Advanced Color Proofing allows collision customers to view paint colours and digitally rotate them on 3D vehicle renderings to determine colour match and blendability across panels,” said Troy Weaver, Vice President of Axalta, Global Refinish. “Advanced Color Proofing reduces the need to paint multiple test panels to achieve the desired appearance, which saves time and materials and maximises productivity in the body shop.

“We are dedicated to making colour formula retrieval and match as accurate and easy as possible for collision centres. By adding Advanced Color Proofing to ColorNet, we are extending our software platform to include 3D modelling, which will transform how colour blendability is determined and enhance the user experience for our customers.”

In addition to ColorNet, Axalta says it offers a range of colour tools that are developed with advanced technology to help maximise efficiency and profitability, such as its Acquire Quantum EFX spectrophotometer.

Australia

Axalta has confirmed that ColorNet is not available in Australia.

CAPA Creates Standard For Vehicle Sensors

The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA), a non-profit standard-setting and certification organisation for automotive collision repair parts, has announced its new Standard 703 for automotive sensors.

The standard contains requirements for function, performance, durability, ingress protection, electrical, mechanical, climate, electromagnetic compatibility, fit, dimensionality, appearance and materials. CAPA says it’s applicable to ultrasonic park distance control sensors but may also be expanded to include other types of sensors in the future.

The association believes the growing trend of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) means that more vehicles use sensors to assist with parking and low speed manoeuvring. CAPA estimates that rear parking sensors will be present in nearly 40 per cent of registered vehicles in 2021 and will increase up to 95 per cent over the next two decades.

CAPA says it created Standard 703 because of feedback from the collision repair industry and includes demonstrated compliance to applicable sections of ISO 17386 and ISO 22840 for function and performance, as well as ADAS-related requirements not addressed by ISO standards. The association says all CAPA-certified sensors undergo extensive testing to demonstrate comparability to OEM service parts.

“CAPA’s goal is to provide the auto repair industry with a reliable, trusted means for identifying replacement parts comparable to parts from the original equipment manufacturer,” said Clark Plucinski, Chairman at CAPA. “As parking sensors become more prevalent in automobiles, the collision repair industry, insurers and consumers require peace of mind in having access to quality, safe and affordable replacement sensors. We are thrilled to offer our new standard to fit this need.”

Axalta Introduces 1K Waterborne Stonechip Guard

Axalta says its new 1K Waterborne Stonechip Guard is designed to extend the lifespan of commercial vehicles on the road.

According to Axalta, 1K Waterborne Stonechip Guard is a highly flexible coating that provides excellent protection against damage caused by stones and other day-to-day road debris. It also acts as an anti-corrosive barrier for vehicle underbodies.

“This product is a great addition to our portfolio,” said Michael Busch, OEM and Military Manager at Axalta Australia. “It will allow our commercial vehicle customers to keep their vehicles on the road for longer. This is especially important for those whose livelihoods rely on their vehicles being in service on the road rather than in the repair shop for maintenance.”

Axalta says the product is easy to apply using conventional spraying equipment, is touch dry 30 minutes after application, and can be recoated after two hours at room temperature. The product’s waterborne nature makes it easier to clean up and provides better working conditions for painters.

For more information, contact your local Axalta distributor or call 1800 292 582.

AIC Opens Additive Manufacturing Centre

Auto Innovation Centre (AIC) has unveiled its new facility which provides additive manufacturing, a crucial component of the centre’s capability.

The AIC says additive manufacturing allows designers to test product fitment, identify issues or potential design problems and to study, improve and optimise. 3D printers can produce intricate and difficult designs that are not simple or cheaply replicated with regular equipment or production techniques.

The AIC’s new Additive Manufacturing Centre has three different printers, each providing different options for automotive product developers to suit their requirements.

AIC said for companies that are prototyping or want to produce small production runs, the HP Jet Fusion 580 Colour can create strong, useable parts and can print in colour.  An example of a part created in the 3D printer is a brake duct which is intricate and has a thin wall, making it well suited to additive manufacturing.

The company says it has purchased a 3D Systems Figure 4 for smaller part prototyping, short production runs and quality creations with a high level of surface detail. The Figure 4 uses stereolithography to create parts that may ordinarily be injection moulded, and a variety of resins are available to produce parts with varying flexibility, from rubberised to nylon.

AIC added that the Stratasys F370 is an FDM machine with a large build bed, capable of producing larger creations quickly and is another strong option for prototyping. Typical uses for the machine are large packaging studies where bulk volume accuracy is more important than detailed surface finish.

“Additive manufacturing is an integral part of our new product development,” said Heath Moore, General Manager at Harrop Engineering. “It is critical for us being able to get to market sooner with a product that has been tested and validated before full production occurs. The result is savings in time and costs throughout our production process.”

The AIC additive manufacturing facilities have an in-house fleet of new production vehicles and a fully equipped workshop. Companies will be able to get 3D scan information and measurements to assist CAD creation. After printing, companies can test-fit products to the AIC fleet vehicles.

“Our purpose is to assist business to bring products to market,” said Luke Truskinger, Managing Director at AIC. “Additive manufacturing is one important service offering that provides new opportunities to aftermarket companies across Australia.”

Colad Unveils Snap Lid System For SMART Repairs

Colad has released a small version of its Snap Lid system which is specifically designed for SMART repairs.

The system is available in two versions, 130 and 190 microns, and each system is comprised of 50 Snap Lids, 50 mixing cups and 10 sealing caps. The system is designed to enable quick and cost-effective repair to an area with small cosmetic damage by focusing on damage in a small localised area without needing to repaint the entire panel.

Colad says the solution takes less time and effort and reduces the cost of material and paint. Additionally, the cups are made of advanced durable plastic which makes them quite strong.

For more information, visit www.snaplid.com.

Nouryon Introduces Ingredient To Improve Battery Performance

Nouryon has begun the first deliveries of AkuPure, a carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) polymer designed to improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries, which are skyrocketing in demand due to increased consumer interest in electric vehicles.

Nouryon says AkuPure is an ultra-high-purity CMC that improves the electrode coating process, making the battery more efficient by helping it to retain and deliver power more effectively. CMC is a sustainable polymer derived from cellulose sources such as wood or cotton that is used as a thickener, binder and rheology modifier in markets ranging from mining to pharmaceuticals.

“Customers in this market require ultrapure CMC [and] impurities can interfere with the performance of the battery or with production efficiency,” said Geert-Jan Beijering, Nouryon Product Director. “AkuPure has a number of properties key to the battery production process, such as the speed at which it dissolves and its low level of insolubles. The possibility to frequently charge and discharge a battery without losing performance under various temperature conditions is what matters most to our customers in this segment.”

“Our R&D team worked extremely hard to create a top-tier version of AkuPure, and this is the right time to bring this technology to market,” said Larry Ryan, Nouryon Americas Executive Vice President and President of Performance Formulations. “Demand for lithium-ion batteries continues to rise, and as battery manufacturers struggle to find CMC that meet the stringent demands of the industry, we are introducing a more advanced solution.”

Nouryon recently announced plans to acquire CMC business J.M. Huber Corporation, which the company hopes will significantly broaden its portfolio of CMC products.

Hyundai, Kia Develop First Predictive Shift System

Hyundai and Kia have announced their development of the “world’s first predictive Information and Communication Technology (ICT) connected shift system”, which enables the vehicle to automatically shift to the optimal gear after identifying the road and traffic conditions ahead.

According to the two companies, the system uses intelligent software in the Transmission Control Unit (TCU) that collects and interprets real-time input from other technology, such as including 3D navigation, cameras and radar. The TCU then predicts the optimal shift scenario for real-time driving situations through an artificial intelligence algorithm and shifts the gears accordingly. For example, when a relatively long slowdown is expected and radar detects no speed irregularities with the car ahead, the transmission clutch temporarily switches to neutral mode to improve fuel efficiency.

“Vehicles are evolving beyond simple mobility devices into smart mobility solutions,” said Intelligent Drivetrain Control Research Lab head, Byeong Wook Jeon. “Even a traditional area of the automobile, such as the powertrain, is becoming a high-tech technology optimised for smart mobility through efforts to integrate ICT and artificial intelligence technologies.”

The companies tested a vehicle with the ICT connected shift system on a heavily curved road, resulting in the frequency of shifts in cornering being reduced by around 43 per cent compared to vehicles without the system. The system also reduced the frequency of brake operation by about 11 per cent, minimising driving fatigue and brake wear.

Hyundai and Kia say they are planning to further develop the ICT connected shift system into an even more intelligent transmission technology that can communicate with traffic signals based on LTE or 5G communication, along with identifying drivers’ tendencies, to further refine gear-shift control.

Plastfix Develops First Automated Headlight Repair System

Plastfix has developed the first known prototype of an automated headlight repair system using robotics, software algorithms, 3D scanning and a custom automotive polypropylene-based 3D printing material. Plastfix said it had spent three years of R&D on the so-called ‘Repairbots’ in collaboration with research partners Swinburne University and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC).

The company said the patented solution is moving towards expanding its repair range and commercialising a more compact, industry-suited, automated system that is more affordable and easily utilised in any collision repair facility worldwide. The network of Repairbots will be supported by Plastfix’s central control centre in Europe, managed via a cloud-based inventory of repair programmes and headlight tab CAD data.

“The team has been outstanding during this project as we overcame several significant obstacles, not the least of which was that we had to engineer our own polymer as commercial grades were unsuitable [for] our application,” said Dr Mats Isaksson, Project Leader at Swinburne University of Technology.

The system replicates the manual lug repair-kit solution that OEMs use to replace broken tabs for certain headlights, but instead of screwing the tabs into the provided repair points on the headlight, the Repairbot system 3D-prints a set of staking posts. A heat staking method is then used to attach the tab which gives a cleaner outcome than the screw heads being exposed.

“It is so amazing to see how far we’ve come since the idea was floated back in 2017,” said David Chuter, CEO of IMCRC. “Australia is the perfect market for such innovation and this demonstration has been tremendous. Congratulations to the team at Swinburne and to all those involved throughout the journey.”

The company is continuing research and testing but hopes to 3D-print the entire replacement tab directly onto the headlight as materials and technology evolve.

“We now move into the exciting part of commercialisation,” said Mario Dimovski, owner of Plastfix and Tradiebot Industries. “The Tradiebot EU team has been working on the project for the last 12 months side-by-side with Swinburne and are preparing a more finetuned commercial Repairbot system ready for use in today’s collision repair industry.

“We have come so far and learnt so much and the advancements in technology and hardware [are] positive as the systems become faster and products are more affordable, ultimately allowing us to build an end product in reach of any collision repair or parts supply business, no matter its size.

“Our end goal is to have these Repairbot units on the shelf for sale by the start of next year retailing for approximately US$20,000, including an ongoing subscription and material cost.

“We are currently exploring all market opportunities with collision groups, OEMs and part suppliers to [determine] the best fit for our solution. In the end, if we can assist the industry to repair more headlights instead of buying new, reducing repair costs and [diverting] them from landfill, it’s a win for both business, consumers and the environment.”

JLR Developing Shape-Shifting Seat

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is developing a new shape-shifting seat, designed to improve customer wellbeing, that will target health risks of sitting down for too long.

The seat uses a series of actuators in the seat foam to create constant micro-adjustments that make your brain think you’re walking and may eventually be tailored to each individual driver and passenger.

Over a quarter of people worldwide (around 1.4 billion) are leading increasingly stationary lifestyles which can shorten muscles in the legs, hips and gluteals, causing back pain and increasing the chance of injury from falls or strains.

“The wellbeing of our customers and employees is at the heart of all our technological research projects,” said Dr Steve Iley, JLR Chief Medical Officer. “We are using our engineering expertise to develop the seat of the future using innovative technologies not seen before in the automotive industry to help tackle an issue that affects people across the globe.”

Dr Iley has also issued advice on how to adjust your seat to ensure the perfect driving position. He said to remove bulky items in your pocket, note your shoulder positioning, ensure your spine and pelvis are straight, and support your thighs to reduce pressure points.

Symach Develops UVA-LEDtronic Technology

Symach has announced its new UVA-LEDtronic technology for drying and curing UV coating products.

Symach says the product is unique compared to known products on the market today, because it is more powerful with a lower 90-watt energy consumption, along with being more than double the drying speed of most known systems. The UV-LEDtronic is available as a portable lamp, the UVA-LEDtronic M1, that covers an area of 50 centimetres, or in the Flydry robotic version which is available in a FlyDry Hybrid model with IR-Drytronic and the UV-LEDtronic. There is also a UV-LEDtronic-only version called the FlyDry LE.

The LEDs used are of different wavelengths throughout the UV-A segment and are assembled along a line of reflectors which are designed to achieve the fastest and most efficient drying result. The LEDs are controlled by an electronic board with a temperature control device that shuts off the electric power if the device overheats from prolonged use. The LEDs are installed on an aluminium support equipped with a heat sink which allows for prolonged use of the lamp and drying several car panels in sequence.