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A small motor oil spill incident at the I-CAR Tech Centre in Appleton, Wisconsin in the spring of 2011 has raised our awareness of the many considerations involved with a material spill into the environment. What started as an accidental collision between a snowplow and a 55-gallon drum of waste oil on an adjoining property resulted in an experience we would never want to repeat.

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There were several steps and decisions that had to be made to assure proper cleanup. What was more stressful than what we knew about the incident was what was unknown. How far had the spill traveled? Was the groundwater contaminated? What public agencies might have to be involved? How much was this all going to cost?

We thought we’d share our experience to perhaps benefit another facility that might encounter a similar incident.

Environmental legislation and increasing restrictions on VOC emissions continue to transform the coatings industry and collision repair business. Waterborne paint systems have become more prevalent as the best way to radically reduce greenhouse gasses. At BASF, this environmental breakthrough has also become an opportunity for product and service innovation to add superior value, helping increase shop safety, productivity, quality and, ultimately, customer satisfaction.

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Innovative BASF Products Leads
As a world leader in automotive refinishing products, BASF introduced one of the first waterborne systems with the launch of the Glasurit® 90-Line™ in 1992. Ahead of its time, the high-performing 90-Line began a revolution that has not only made many collision repair shops more environmentally friendly, but has improved quality and throughput — through ease-of-use, low material consumption, fast-drying formulas, better hiding and easier blending.

Moreover, the fact that approximately 70 percent of all new cars are finished with waterborne paint make 90-Line an ideal system for repair. And when it comes to quality, it’s reassuring to know that the world’s finest automobiles—including Mercedes-Benz and BMW—have waterborne paint. In addition, ultra-luxury cars such as Maybach and Rolls Royce are hand sprayed at the plant with 90-Line.

For collision repair centers that demand high productivity, superior quality and cost efficiency, BASF’s R-M® automotive finishes continue to be the right choice. R-M’s low-VOC waterborne basecoat—Onyx HD™ — has been used by many independent collision repair centers and car dealerships for almost two decades. The system brings next-generation processes into the shop, while offering excellent versatility, durability and cost effectiveness along with superb color matching with BASF’s proprietary COLOR-MAX® system. And, Onyx HD does all this while meeting today’s most stringent VOC regulations at local, regional and national levels.

The combination of R-M’s fast drying primers, high gloss “no-bake” clears and Onyx HD low-VOC waterborne basecoat reduce cycle time and energy consumption while helping preserve the environment. Being green with Onyx HD can actually save you some green, helping make the business case to switch to the waterborne system.

It’s like water and oil; church and state—the Democrats and the Republicans. For many decades, there have always been two disparate sources for collision and mechanical parts.

When it opened its doors more than eight decades ago, Pacific Coast Lacquer (PCL) Automotive was providing products for body shops painting automotives such as Ford Model A’s, Hudson Roadsters and Austin 7’s. Today, the brands and names have changed, but PCL still markets a wide range of paint-related products to the collision industry, including surface cleaners, pre-treatment coatings, primer surfacers, primer sealers, single stage topcoats, aerosols and solvents.

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The body shop business has changed in a big way since 1929, back in the days before DRPs or labor rate surveys. But according to Ruben Laguna, PCL’s Director of Sales and Marketing, quality products backed by solid customer service is still a formula for success and longevity. Since being hired by the company in 1988, Laguna has seen PCL grow and change with the times and is proud of the company’s role by providing solutions for body shops that are 100% compliant and make financial sense as well.

“I tell my customers that our products offer all three things: Performance, quality and price,” Laguna stated. “That’s why they represent a great value across the board. You can save money, but are you sacrificing quality or performance as a result? And just because you pay more, does that necessarily mean you’re getting real value?”

Manufacturers of automotive refinishing products have come and gone over the years and PCL is proud to be the only manufacturer of its type still doing business in California. By developing new products through its extensive R&D efforts at its headquarters and factory in Los Angeles, PCL has developed a wide range of innovative products, including several that can be used with both solvent and waterborne paint systems,” Laguna explained.

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. and Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes have announced the 2012 schedule for the annual Toyota Certified Collision Center estimating program, with Sherwin-Williams continuing as one of the facilitators for the program’s training workshops. Conducted through the University of Toyota, the workshops will be held in two locations across the United States, including:
•    Boston, MA on May 16
•    Houston, TX on August 8
"We are very pleased that Sherwin-Williams continues to support Toyota Training and our Certified Collision Centers,” says Brad Brahe, Toyota Body Shop Development Manager.

The workshop, “B005 Collision Repair Estimating,” comprises real-world estimating scenarios and industry-specific issues pertaining to body shop operations and insurance company relations. Attendees who participate in this estimating program will get hands-on experience with the techniques, skills and information necessary to write more accurate estimates.

“This is our 10th year providing the collision repair estimating workshop and they have proven to enhance estimators’ and shop managers’ skills in all areas of writing accurate and profitable repair estimates,” said Steve Feltovich, Manager of Business Consulting Services for Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes.

There is no workshop enrollment charge for Toyota Certified Collision Centers’ personnel. Non-Toyota Certified Collision Centers’ attendees will be charged an enrollment cost of $295. For information on Sherwin Williams training courses, visit
http://www.sherwin-automotive.com/en/Training/TrainingCourses.aspx

Infiniti has launched a new nationwide Infiniti Certified Collision Repair Network, a comprehensive program designed to recognize and distinguish body shops that meet or exceed standards for repair work, training, equipment and delivery of Infiniti customer service. 
The new certification program is open to both Infiniti retailer-owned and independent collision shops.

“The purpose of the certification program is to provide the resources to help ensure consistency of the repair of Infiniti vehicles on a national basis,” said Carnie Colliver, senior manager, Parts and Service, Infiniti Americas.

“Each Infiniti owner that comes into these certified facilities presents additional face-to-face opportunities to reinforce the Infiniti Total Ownership Experience.”

The certification program will be conducted in conjunction with DuPont Performance Coatings (DPC), which will assist in the implementation of the program’s certification process, and I-CAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, which will conduct technician training.