Post-Repair Calibration To Vehicle Manufacturer Tolerances Is Essential: Thatcham

Thatcham Research says it has provided much needed clarity to the automotive, automotive repair and insurance industries on how to manage vehicle repairs involving ADAS, such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and adaptive cruise control.

According to Thatcham, more than 10 per cent of vehicles on the road today are fitted with AEB, equating to some four million cars. However, there is a dearth of information on how to approach the repair of these safety critical systems.

“As ADAS continues its ever-increasing penetration into the car parc, the lack of a clear approach to the repair of ADAS-equipped vehicles is having an effect across the whole repair industry,” said Richard Billyeald, Chief Technical Officer at Thatcham Research. “For their own peace of mind, insurers and repairers need proof that they have taken all reasonable steps to reinstate the safety functions of a vehicle before returning it to the road.”

The Thatcham Research position on the safe repair of ADAS is as follows:

If ADAS sensors, or parts that are in proximity to ADAS sensors, are included in a repair specification, calibration post-repair must be completed to confirm sensors are functioning to the vehicle manufacturers’ specified tolerances. In addition, to enable identification and safe repairs involving ADAS, vehicle repairers should:

  • Assess for the presence of ADAS sensors and record the outcome clearly
  • Research and seek guidance from relevant repair methods and calibration instructions
  • Ensure all calibration activities are completed by currently competent technicians
  • Complete system calibration in accordance with the relevant repair method / instruction
  • Be able to demonstrate that the calibration of all affected sensors has been completed and that the results of the calibration confirms functionality within the vehicle manufacturer’s specified tolerance – unless stated otherwise in the repair specification
  • Where no specific repair guidance exists, and functionality cannot be proven through systemised calibration, then advice should be sought from the vehicle manufacturer’s dealership network and appropriate action taken prior to vehicle release
  • If vehicle manufacturer information states dynamic calibration, this should be completed and confirmed prior to vehicle release

“ADAS supports the driver to prevent a crash in the first place,” said Billyeald. “This represents a huge step forwards for vehicle safety and the transition into more advanced assisted and automated driving will continue to raise the safety bar. However, whilst that benefit may be fully realised on a new car, maintaining it once a car has been repaired is vital.

“The whole industry needs to work together to make sure ADAS repairs are safe and vehicles are returned to the road quickly and efficiently. Equipment suppliers must ensure that verifiable evidence of a successful calibration is provided. Repairers must invest in training to ensure competent persons are reinstating ADAS safely, and vehicle manufacturers must provide ADAS fitment data and consistent advice around which repair scenarios will result in successful ADAS calibration.”

“Insurers are major supporters of systems which improve vehicle safety and reduce the frequency and severity of crashes,” said Laurenz Gerger, policy advisor for motor insurance at the Association of British Insurers. “With a number of assistance systems set to become mandatory from 2021, it will be even more important to have clear guidance on managing vehicle repairs involving them. Ensuring these high-tech systems are working effectively after a repair is an important part of putting a vehicle back onto the roads and we are committed to helping establish the standards and processes to make sure this happens.”

In addition to the information issued, Thatcham Research said it has created a guide for repairers on ADAS system calibration requirements and identifying component locations and functions. The organisation said it is also working with the industry to develop a code of practice and has commenced a round of consultation with vehicle manufacturers, insurers, windscreen repair and replacement companies, equipment providers and repairers. The full code of practice will then be released later this year.

BSI Appoints Dean Lander As Chair Of Automotive Standards Committee

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has appointed Dean Lander, Head of Repair Sector Services at Thatcham Research, as chair of its committee on automotive services (SVS/20).

The committee oversees the ongoing maintenance of BS 10125, the British standard which specifies the best approach to conducting consistently safe, high quality repairs on accident damaged vehicles.

On behalf of the UK National Standards Body (NSB), Lander will help lead the committee for the preparation of all British standards in the field of automotive services.

“I am excited to help steer the standard through a time when repair is being so affected by technological change, both on vehicles and in repair processes,” said Lander. “With ADAS, connectivity and electrification of the drivetrain becoming an ever presence on the latest volume cars, BS 10125 must keep pace with the impacts on safe repair processes.

“Having been engaged since the development of BSI’s PAS 125 and its evolution to BS10125, I am proud to have been nominated to chair the SVS/20 committee.

“The four cornerstones on which the standard was built – Man, Method, Machine and Material – are all being affected by technological changes. The committee and I will be working to ensure that the BS 10125 standard remains effective in assuring safe repair with an immediate focus on skills and proof of current competence of technicians.”

The SVS/20 committee develops standards for the services offered by providers in the automotive industry, including vehicle damage repair, garage services, and aftermarket engine and part supply. The committee says its aim is to give providers, business purchasers and consumers criteria for making informed decisions.

Fix Network World Announces Launch Of Fix Auto Masters Programme

Fix Network World has announced the launch of Fix Auto Masters, an all-new technical skills and knowledge competition programme aimed at “celebrating the skills of technicians” from across the global Fix Auto network. The first region to take part in the Fix Auto Masters programme is Fix Auto UK.

Fix Network World Operations Manager Nick Spiers says he believes a platform such as Fix Auto Masters is an important step in showcasing the talent of front-line technicians, while helping create a closer global community within the Fix Auto network.

“At Fix Network World, our people are the key to our success, and celebrating skills and performance is something we are most passionate about,” said Spiers. “Many of our technicians around the world have been instrumental in our growth and continue to have an important impact on our consistent performance. This is our way of recognising them and bringing together the best of the best.”

The programme is also supported by Thatcham Research in collaboration with 3M and AkzoNobel. Fix Network World says it is designed to measure performance in one of three categories: M.E.T., body repair and paint. Qualifying applicants will first undergo a written exam and those with the highest scores will move on to a practical assessment. The top performer in each category will be presented an award by Fix Network World at Fix Auto UK’s upcoming national conference, while automatically qualifying for the future global Fix Auto World Masters competition.

“It’s a great pleasure to support the Fix Auto Masters programme,” said Dean Lander, Head of Repair Sector Services at Thatcham Research. “We are delighted to be developing the tests and assessments to recognise the skills and dedication of body shop technicians.”

The programme is being rolled out nationally by Fix Auto UK, making the group the first region to launch a national search for top talent in its network.

“The Fix Auto Masters programme will provide us with the opportunity to show our colleagues from overseas who make up the global Fix Auto family just how skilled we are here in the UK,” said Fix Auto UK’s Ian Pugh.

More Fix Auto Masters regional launches will be announced in 2019. For more information on the Fix Auto Masters programme, visit fixauto.com.

Suncorp Becomes First Thatcham Research ‘Global Associate’

Thatcham Research has announced the renewal of its contract with Suncorp, extending the successful collaboration that has seen Suncorp distribute Thatcham Research repair data in Australia and New Zealand since 2013.

Under the renewed agreement, Suncorp will become the first ever Thatcham Research Global Associate, providing Suncorp with access to Thatcham Research’s large vehicle research, data and services.

“We are delighted to welcome Suncorp as our first ever Global Associate member, building on the successful partnership we have enjoyed over the last five years,” said Neale Phillips, Global Product Director, Thatcham Research. “We are committed to supporting its needs and those of its repair network – starting with an upgrade to escribe which will shortly see the inclusion of vehicle manufacturer methods, to further increase vehicle coverage.”

Thatcham’s online portal escribe provides insurance assessors and repairers with instant access to the latest multi-franchised Thatcham Research crash repair methods, times and technical newsletters.

“Thatcham repair data helps to ensure that our customer’s vehicles are repaired in the most safe and efficient manner, so the decision to extend and strengthen our relationship with such a respected industry body was an easy one and aligns 100 per cent with Suncorp’s overarching repair strategy,” said Brett Wallace, EM Assessing & Repair Performance, Suncorp.

Jonathan Hewett Appointed Chief Executive At Thatcham Research

Thatcham Research has announced the appointment of Jonathan Hewett as its new Chief Executive beginning from early next year. Hewett brings a wealth of senior management, international and strategic leadership skills from across the insurance, automotive, and financial sectors at a significant time for the company as it approaches its 50th anniversary.

Thatcham Research says Hewett’s expertise will lead and evolve its strategy and help guide its insurer members through vehicle safety, repair and security in a period of exponential technological advancements in connectivity, future automated driving capabilities as well as complex vehicle materials and structures.

Hewett joins from Octo Telematics where he was Global Chief Marketing Officer and drove business growth, working closely with insurers, vehicle manufacturers, fleet and rental organisations as well as government bodies, also understanding and providing digital solutions in the age of the Internet of Things.

Prior to this, he has held various senior leadership and international roles across the automotive, insurance and finance sectors, including AIG, Dealflo Ltd, Dixons PLC, Post Office Direct, Sainsbury’s Bank and Barclays Bank.

Graham Gibson, Chairman at Thatcham Research said: “In a period when cars will change out of all recognition as we know them today, I am delighted that Jonathan has been appointed as Chief Executive. He brings considerable knowledge and experience, combined with great leadership skills.”

Hewett said: “We are amid once-in-a-lifetime changes to our relationship with cars and mobility in general. The consequent impact on insurers and the automotive sector presents enormous opportunities to improve consumer experience and efficiency for businesses. Over the last 50 years, Thatcham Research has provided crucial insight and data driven analysis for insurers and the automotive industry as a whole, and I am very much looking forward to working with the team in pursuit of our vision – safer cars and fewer crashes.”

Allianz’s Graham Gibson Appointed As Chairman Of Thatcham Research

Thatcham Research, the independent voice of automotive safety and repair, has appointed Allianz’s Graham Gibson as the new Chairman of its Board.

As chief claims officer at Allianz Insurance Gibson is an industry advocate with extensive experience in a range of market initiatives across claims and personal injury. He also serves on a variety of insurer related groups, including Board Member for the Insurance Fraud Bureau.

“I am excited to have been given this opportunity to work closely with Thatcham Research. Their passion and commitment to improving automotive safety and security demonstrates a dedication to both the insurance industry and vehicle manufacturers”. Said Gibson.

“I have seen first-hand the hard work and innovative research carried out by Thatcham Research having been an active member of its board since 2012. I look forward to working with members of the team and producing some exciting research.”

Gibson replaces current Chairman Ian Currie, who is retiring from his role as UK Motor and Injury Claims Director at RSA, after two-and-a-half years at the helm.

The Thatcham Research Board is drawn from its 24-member insurers, who fund the essential research on vehicle safety, security, personal injury and accident damage repair. As well as crash and track research, Thatcham Research tests and accredits crash repair parts, vehicle repair technicians, and a number of other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

A founder member of the international Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR), Thatcham Research has also been a member of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) since 2004.

Thatcham Research Passes Parts Certification To TUV Rheinland AG

Following an in-depth review and assessment of the certification of after-market car parts, and consultation with its Insurance Members, Thatcham Research has decided to hand over all after-market parts certification activities to its current partner TÜV Rheinland AG.

The Thatcham Research/TÜV Rheinland partnership will officially end on 31st March 2018, with Thatcham Research not providing any new after-market parts certification services as of 1 January 2018.

The move allows Thatcham Research to invest more resources into the priority areas of active safety systems and vehicle structures/materials, that are increasingly contributing to repair costs. In parallel, the company is also gearing-up its investment in countering the growing risk of cyber theft of vehicles.

Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research comments: “A healthy after-market parts supply is vitally important for the UK repair industry. However, we need to make key strategic decisions to ensure that we are addressing current and evolving challenges for the repair and insurance industries. This move will allow us to achieve this, while at the same time handing over the certification of aftermarket parts to a trusted and qualified partner to ensure consistency now and in the future.”

Massimo Bianchi, Business Stream Manager Mobility TÜV Rheinland Italy, comments: “We believe that certification of equivalent parts is very important to answer the need of the market of high quality spare replacement parts. Voluntary independent certification of products is one of TÜV Rheinland’s core businesses and increases the trust in customers.”

The transition steps will be:

  • TÜV Rheinland will take over all new parts certification operations from 1st January 2018.
  • There will be a gradual removal of the Thatcham Research brand from certified parts.
  • Newly certified parts will carry the sole TÜV Rheinland brand from 1st April 2018.
  • As parts certification remain valid for two years, joint Thatcham Research / TÜV Rheinland branding will remain on certificates issued or renewed before 1 April 2018, until the date they expire

Together Thatcham Research and TÜV Rheinland have provided aftermarket certification services for the past nine years, and there are more than 1800 parts certified under the scheme.