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Thursday, 30 May 2019 17:24

IABA NW Indiana Chapter Meeting Focused on Welding

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On May 9, the Northwest Indiana Chapter of the Indiana Auto Body Association (IABA) hosted a meeting featuring guest speaker Kyle Gradeless of Sullivan Equipment who shared information on the need for destructive weld tests and how to do them.

The meeting was held at Buddy and Pals in Crown Point, IN.


“This was the first meeting in our new venue and it worked out great,” said Andy Tylka, vice president of IABA. “We have a growing organization, and as a result, we grew out of the previous space we were using for our Thursday evening meetings as we were standing room only at 35 people. We have now grown to between 40 and 50 attendees, and our new venue can fit 70 people comfortably to allow for further growth.”


The meeting presentation focused on welding, the need to set up and adjust the welder, and the necessity of testing the welds. Gradeless discussed the non-included operations associated with welding, including any consumable material, set up and adjust the welder, destructive weld testing, protect the vehicle from spark damage, removing electronics from weld area per OEM guidelines, and fabrication needed, including sleeves.


“We find that the crowd participation grows every meeting as we treat it as a round table discussion with myself as the facilitator,” Tylka said. “It is great to be getting Illinois shops now participating in our meetings.


Tylka said the spike in participation could be due to attendees realizing the importance of these meetings: to discuss relevant issues, bring everyone together and gather knowledge on news and events. He is pleased with the growth happening among shops and vendors.


“We have opened our meetings to all guests in the collision industry including shop owners, employees, vendors, insurance companies and adjusters in both Indiana and Illinois,” Tylka said. “Anyone is welcome to participate as a guest.”


For more information about IABA and its events, visit


Anyone interested in getting on the mailing list can email Tylka at