Industry Vet Introduces Groundbreaking Methodology

Industry Vet Introduces Groundbreaking Methodology

Industry veteran Greg Marion said he has found the missing link to solve an age-old industry challenge: how to efficiently evaluate and realign damaged vehicle body and frame structures.

After receiving an issued patent on the methodology in 2012, Marion is now introducing a new automotive collision repair application he calls Multiple Automotive Realignment Process (MARP).

“The automotive collision repair industry has not evolved beyond ‘pull to fit’ structural realignment practices. These ad hoc methods often cause as much damage as they remove,” said Marion. “Many vehicles are not efficiently evaluated; they are realigned inefficiently or incorrectly, often at considerable extra expense to the owners and to the insurance industry.”

He said with the introduction of the MARP application, it will help establish industry-wide standards that could result in billions of dollars in savings to the collision repair and insurance industries.

Autobody News recently spoke to Marion about this groundbreaking development and how he thinks it will change the collision repair industry.

Can you tell us about MARP?

MARP’s patented process provides a consistent even base in the collision repair industry, which will allow collision centers and insurance companies to access the same precise structural analysis for vehicles. It can then provide specific procedures for proper realignment.

The process is derived from the application and measuring order of OEM-approved bench jig and fixtures. It is comparable to Google’s informational search engine. The unique process provides web-based automotive structural evaluations with complete realignment order/structural component replacement or repair assessments, virtual reality training, and validated certification levels for industry professionals.

Why did you see a need to implement this in the industry?

Since the invention of the Model A, vehicle frame straightening has been a mastered ‘lost art’ performed by a small majority of body repairmen also referred to as frame men. They acquired a unique understanding with how the vehicle structure reacted during a collision. They also developed a rare feel for the transfer of metal within the crumple zone areas of a misaligned vehicle frame. These craftsmen were able to envision and recreate the collision impact by utilizing hydraulic components, chains, clamps and primitive measuring devices, guided by vague vehicle data illustration charts.

Through the early years of the collision repair industry, frame men played a very significant role in saving body parts, time and money for the repair technician, consumer and insurance industry. However, if you were to ask 50 of these experienced frame technicians their process or approach in reference to structural evaluation assessments, vehicle anchoring methods and structural realignment order techniques, you would receive 50 different interpretations.

Without a proven methodology, the lost art of frame straightening was unable to be passed on to educate and direct future generations of inexperienced body technicians.

I believe the only technical certification available was usually a three-to-seven day training course offered by the frame rack or bench fixture manufacturing companies. The majority of the basic training was in reference to the proper operating procedures of the repair equipment. Any additional structural realignment training certifications were offered by I-CAR programs, technical colleges and vocational school institutions. These certifications and training methods were merely based on theoretical principles. The primary source of training was hands-on job performance ‘pull to fit,’ trial and error methods. These age-old industry practices are still used today in the 21st century.

Can you tell us about the introduction of electronic measuring systems and how they have been used for structural vehicle evaluations?

With the electronic age and the introduction of the computerized electronic measuring system (EMS) in the late 1980s, many in the collision repair industry thought that EMS offered the solution and would provide answers for structural vehicle evaluations and frame realignment protocols.

EMS is an effective and efficient means to relay the same three-dimensional vehicle data readings that a 3D measuring system or fixture bench system offer. EMS also provides the benefit of having a print out sheet of the vehicle data readings for documented reassurance. In addition, it features the convenience of viewing the 3D data illustration on a color flat screen monitor and the benefit of a few vague arrows on the data illustration that provides little systematical order for directional assistance for the realignment process. I believe today’s EMS has very little to virtually no definitive information in reference to complete vehicle structural evaluation assessment, structural component replacement determination, the necessity of required tools, precise realignment order of directions, 3D image modeling or technical performance training assistance. The EMS diagnostics capability is subject to the interpretation of the end user.

How are you able to address this with MARP and your issued patent?

Our mission is to implement informational MARP applications of technology into all existing 3D vehicle data illustration and EMS software. We have the following goals:

1. Introduce new standard practices for systematical structural realignment order.

2. Create innovative EMS diagnostic practices for complete and precise vehicle structure evaluation assessments.

3. Provide 3D real-time image modeling for EMS.

4. Provide robotic bench fixture capabilities.

5. Develop our patented process into a virtual reality simulation application to transform vehicle structural repair industry practices and establish industry-wide innovation with performance training.

6. Develop valid certification levels for technical advancement.

7. Distribute educational information worldwide to collision repair facilities, OEM certification programs, technical colleges and vocational institutes.

What is your background in the industry?

I’ve worked in this industry for 43 years, specializing in structural automotive realignment. When I was in high school, I attended an auto body course for two years at DCAVTLI. After I graduated, I went on to attend a 22-month course. I was fortunate to have the same instructor for all four years---Ray Sweden. Ray recognized my talent for welding and working with metal. I was able to graduate a month early with Ray’s help and he placed me in an automotive frame shop in the mid-1970s called MPLS Bee-line. I’ve been mastering this lost art ever since. Ray has been a great friend, inspiration and mentor throughout my 43-year career.

After working in the private sector for several years, I became self-employed in the mid-1980s. I operated a frame repair facility for a few years in my home state of Minnesota and then migrated to Phoenix, Arizona. There I met John Rang, a Celette distributor, who introduced me to the dedicated bench fixture repair system.

I was offered the opportunity to become a Continental frame equipment distributor-sales representative. This is when I gained a tremendous knowledge of using various frame machines, measuring devices, vehicle anchoring methods and bench repair systems. I took in dozens of used systems on trade, refurbished the machines, then utilized the various equipment in my repair facility, MFS, before reselling to the market.

How was well-known inventor Lavell Chisum instrumental in the development of MARP?

Once Chief acquired Continental’s universal measuring system (UMS) and data center in the early 1990s, I was offered a frame equipment distributorship from Prodigy ART (Advanced Repair Technology). This is where I met the renowned inventor of the EZ-Liner frame machine---Lavell Chisum. If it wasn’t for his innovative EZ-Liner 196 multiple hole bed design, I would never have gained a diverse understanding of ‘multiple simultaneous, realignment vectors.’ It allowed me to discover the math behind the age-old mystery of frame straightening. Lavell’s innovative mechanical measuring process gave me insight to a new dimension and paved the way to my issued patent. I give credit to Lavell’s design in equipment for being awarded an issued patent for ‘system and method for repairing and re-aligning damaged vehicle body and frame structures’ in 2012. Thank you Lavell!

Lavell is now 90 years young and this year marks the 50th anniversary of Lavell taking the legendary frame machine to market in 1967. Chief acquired the patent for the EZ-Liner in 1972 and the rest is history.

How do you envision MARP being implemented in the collision repair industry?

The process can be implementing into existing EMS and 3D vehicle data software programs, which provides continuous on-the-job diagnostic performance training with every repair.

MARP can be adopted throughout the collision repair industry as well as by vehicle manufacturers, insurance companies, and training facilities including technical colleges and vocational institutes. In addition, realignment equipment manufacturers, vehicle data companies, OEM re-certification programs and virtual reality simulation centers might also see advantages integrating with MARP.

We envision that users will subscribe or lease the process for each vehicle through a web-based port, which will provide access to EMS-enhanced vehicle data.

How it is going to make a difference in the industry?

The repair industry needs accurate diagnostic structural realignment evaluation assessments on the complete repair. MARP will allow collision repair center and insurance company personnel to obtain accurate evaluation assessments on structural repair. They will have remote viewing of customized step-by-step diagnostic realignment directions for efficiently repairing all types of vehicle structural damage.

For more information, contact Greg Marion at 651-583-4984, Details are also available on YouTube.

Stacey Phillips Ronak

Stacey Phillips Ronak is an award-winning writer for the automotive industry and a regular columnist for Autobody News based in Southern California.

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