Fixed Ops Journal - May 2016 - (Page 50)

FIXED OPS JOURNAL MEGATRENDS " "From a material perspective, the repair process is getting much more complex. You cannot weld some of these materials using the same techniques you used last week or last year or five years ago." John Van Alstyne, I-CAR ■ Industry changes ripple through collision repairs JIM HENRY T he auto industry's emphasis on fuel efficiency, safety and hightech electronics is changing the collision-repair business. To meet fuel economy and safety requirements, for example, automakers are turning to materials such as aluminum and highstrength steel alloys. Those materials require new collision-repair methods, John Van Alstyne says. He is CEO of the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, a Hoffman Estates, Ill., not-for-profit organization that provides technical training. I-CAR was founded in 1979 through collaboration among automakers, insurers and suppliers. Here are some ways those drivers are changing how collision repairs are performed and how training is delivered. ● Aluminum. The redesigned 2015 Ford F-150, with an aluminum-alloy body, takes aluminum from limited-volume nameplates and luxury brands such as Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover and the Cadillac CT6 into the mass market. Since May 2014, I-CAR has certified almost 5,200 students in a Ford Motor Co. training program in a special welding technique, called GMA welding, needed for the F-150. Aluminum also calls for the use of rivet bonding, a technique that uses rivets and adhesives as an alternative to welding. ● High-strength steel alloys. Automakers are increasing the use of high-strength steel, especially in the so-called safety cage surrounding vehicle occupants, and increasingly require that technicians use MIG - or metal inert gas - brazing on high-strength steel components. That technique offers better corrosion resistance than conventional welding. Van Alstyne: Front-, back-end sensors are vulnerable in collisions. PAGE 50 M A Y 2 0 1 6 The body of the Cadillac CT6 combines steel, aluminum and magnesium, requiring new joining methods. "From a material perspective, the repair process is getting much more complex. You cannot weld some of these materials using the same techniques you used last week or last year or five years ago," Van Alstyne said. "Some of these materials you can't even weld at all." ● Electronics. "The move into accident avoidance brings a lot of sensors and cameras and radar, and they are all linked up through control systems," Van Alstyne said. "Installing those, positioning all of that precisely, is hypercritical to the ongoing performance of those safety systems." In addition, many of those components are in areas that are vulnerable to collision damage, he said. "The industry hasn't had to deal with a lot of electronics in the front end and back end of cars." ● Training and certification. With the demand for new collision-repair techniques, hands-on training is likely to make a comeback. "At the end of 2010, when I joined I-CAR, I would say we were at 97 percent live classroom settings," Van Alstyne said. "Today, it's more of a 50-50 mix" between online and inperson training, but that's likely to start swinging back. "Online works well for fundamentals," he said, "but you need to go to live for that next level of complexity and learner engagement." ■

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - May 2016

Fixed Ops Journal - May 2016
Editor’s Letter
Service Counter
Legal Lane
Profit Builder
‘Grease monkey’?
Photo story
Richard Truett
High light
Service satisfaction
90-second oil change
Financing fixes
Supreme Court
Tech trends
Top 50
5 Minutes With
Shop Talk
Fixed in Time

Fixed Ops Journal - May 2016