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Saturday, 31 August 2019 18:48

18 USI Italia Booths and Still Counting at No. 1 Collision

Written by Autobody News Staff

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Refinish Technician Ben Yi paints primarily high-end vehicles in a USI Chronotech spray booth at No. 1 Collision.
 

NOTE: This October SPS was originally published online in September 2019.
 

Milford Cumberland, facilities and equipment manager at No. 1 Collision, often answers questions regarding any piece(s) of equipment.

 

 

No. 1 Collision Centres
Location: Canada & Washington State
(604) 231-9614
 
Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 160
In Business Since: 1972
Number of Locations: Five
Combined Production Space:
150,600 square feet

 

Cumberland, 66, has insight on many of the tools and equipment that the facility obtains.
 
One aspect of Cumberland’s job at No. 1 includes overseeing the acquisition, installation and ongoing maintenance for 18 USI Italia booths. It’s an enormous investment that keeps paying for itself over and over again, and as a result, Cumberland is likely North America’s number one expert about these Italian-made, high-end spray booths.
 
The No. 1 Collision Centre in Richmond, British Columbia, invested $19 million in an impressive 70,000 square feet state-of-the-art location on two acres.
 
“We call our facilities the superstars of the industry and our largest one definitely has that ‘wow’ factor,” Cumberland said. “Other shops and many of the OEMs request tours of this shop. When they see a dozen USI Chronotechs here set up side-by-side and a range of high-end luxury vehicles, they are impressed—no doubt.”
 
If you walked into any of the No. 1 Collision locations, you’d find Teslas, Land Rovers, Jaguars, Porsches, Mercedes-Benzes, Audis, Volkswagens, MINIs, Ferraris, Maseratis and even a few Rolls Royces being repaired. Certified to work on this impressive assemblage of ten OE certifications, No. 1 Collision works hard to stay current with the training and equipment required to make this list.


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Refinish Technician Anman Sanju (left) and Facilities Manager Milford Cumberland at No. 1 Collision use USI’s EPS system to find the best way to paint every car.
 
CEO Rob Walker and his brother and COO, Scott, purchased a shop in 1993 and today No. 1 Collision repairs more than 1,000 cars every month. Walker Group Inc. has built an impressive business that includes four collision centers in Canada and one in the U.S.
 
This MSO has invested approximately $1 million in its USI booths after acquiring their first one in 2009. When it comes to acquiring any tools, equipment or training, Walker isn’t afraid to pay for something of good value.

 

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No. 1 Collision has one of the largest facilities in North America, with a 70,0000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art shop in Richmond, British Columbia.

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“We learned rather quickly that trying to cut costs isn’t the best way to go,” Rob Walker said. “When we started looking at paint booths, we realized that the European ones were superior and that USI was the best. Our Chronotechs are like BMWs, while some of the others are more like KIAs. We will never buy another type of paint booth, because these have proven to be superior across the board. The technology is unmatched with incredible lighting, better air movement and sturdy construction.”
 
Cumberland agrees with Walker and is more than willing to expound on the capabilities and advantages of using USI booths, he said. “We are impressed with the USI direct drive system and its powerful motors. Some paint booths contain cheap components and in the end they’re nothing more than cargo boxes with lights. A great booth is one you can install and then not worry about it for 20 years. That’s what we have with USI.”
 
Whenever he purchases anything, Cumberland makes sure the support is both accessible and accountable. “We made sure that the support from USI was going to be strong before we acquired the booths,” he said. “At the very beginning, all of the USI people gave me their phone numbers, which was a blessing. They’re responsive and you can tell they love what they’re doing. Every employee is willing to answer our questions. We can’t afford to be down at any time if we want to maintain our reputation.”
 
“I always tell people that to succeed in this industry, you should never skimp on things such as air compressors and paint booths,” Cumberland said. “We’ve been very fortunate with USI and now they’re an integral part of everything we do here.”
 
When it comes to maintenance and upkeep, Cumberland has a huge calendar that tells him what to replace and when with every USI booth.
 
“With 18 of these babies, we have to stay on top of it, so that they will perform at a high level all the time. With USI, we don’t have to replace the filters or the intake and exhaust cubes as frequently as we would with another brand, which gives us another advantage over the competition.”

 

To download a PDF of this article, click here.

 

USI of North America
Company Contact: Stefano Moretto
(201) 405-7760

 

To read more auto body shop profiles from the October 2019 Shop & Product Showcase, click here.

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