Recently I had the opportunity to give a presentation to a group of shop owners and managers. The presentation highlighted several areas of change in vehicle technology: advanced high-strength steels, laser welding, MIG brazing, hybrid disabling procedures, structural sectioning, and panel attachment methods, such as bonding and riveting. During the presentation, I spoke not only about the technology, but also how the technology was impacting the collision repair industry in areas such as: technician safety; required tools, equipment and materials; technician efficiency; estimate accuracy and other areas that affect the business.
Over the past several years we have seen changes in vehicle design and construction. Many of these changes provide increased protection for vehicle occupants, increase fuel economy, reduce emissions, or meet the market demands of potential new vehicle buyers.
How many times have you heard over the last several years? “I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, and I know how to create a damage report, repair plan, and perform the repairs.”
The first thing I would like to start this month’s column with is an update on the shops that have started to implement the lean process.
In a recent article I discussed the lean process and how we can eliminate waste. I recently taught I-CAR’s Cycle time class in Downey and San Jose. Greg Gunter, owner of Greg’s Autobody in Whittier, CA, asked me for help in starting the lean process in his shop. I spent about 4 hours with his staff prior to the 4th of July holiday discussing the lean process and what we were going to accomplish, but before we got started, we did a walk-through of the shop as a group and identified all of the items of waste.
Toby Chess, well-known I-CAR instructor and consultant, was the featured speaker at the California Autobody Association’s (CAA) East Bay chapter meeting, held at Scott’s Seafood restaurant in Walnut Creek, CA, on May 19th.
Hey Toby—I read your articles on lean production and I would like to set up my shop as a lean facility. I know I-CAR has a class on cycle time improvements. I checked with a consultant on helping me but the cost was prohibitive. What do I need to do first?
—Thanks, Old Time Shop Owner, Los Angeles
Hey Toby—I thought that all high voltage wires on hybrids are orange, but an adjuster told me that there are other colors. Are there more that one color for high voltage wires?
—Dan from Fresno
With summer only a few months away, I’ve been receiving a number of questions dealing with automobile air conditioning. It’s a good time to answer them. To read this article in PDF format with photos, click here .
Hey Toby—My repair center recently repaired a vehicle that was involved in a front end collision. The vehicle was not running and towed in. After the repairs were completed, I took the car for a test drive and turned on the air conditioning system to check it out. I was blasted by a foul smell coming from the air conditioning vent. Did we do something wrong?
—Jose from Scottsdale.
Hey Toby – I am a technician in Los Angeles and I need some information on repairing an aluminum hood. Can you help me?
— Miguel from Los Angeles
Hey Toby---I recently attended I-CAR’s Advanced Metals class and found the class interesting, but too scientific. I have also read a couple of articles in Autobody News on the same subject, but again, it’s complicated. Could you possibly shed a different light on this subject and make it a little easier to understand?
---Not Albert Einstein from Los Angeles
Hey Toby—Thank you for the resistance spot welding class you conducted at our Chatsworth location the other night. The class was very helpful in several ways:
The in-class technical information portion was helpful in understanding the increasing usage by auto manufacturers of advanced high strength steels and the importance of proper welding techniques needed to retain metal strength.
The actual hands-on portion of the class was powerful in that we could utilize the latest state-of-the-art equipment you provided for the class and actually test the strength of the welds we performed.
Overall, the class was beneficial for a better understanding of the importance of proper squeeze type resistance spot welding related to advanced high strength steels. Thank you for conducting the class!