• Servicing and ADAS

    - by Mark Czvitkovits, I-car Australia

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    With each new vehicle release, we are seeing more of them equipped with ADAS and this is now the standard and not the exception. ADAS uses multiple systems to gather data to assist and notify drivers of impeding hazards.

    These sources include imaging from front, side and rear cameras, ultra-sonic sensors, LiDAR, radar and all of these network with steering angle sensors, adaptive cruise control systems, collision avoidance systems, lane departure warning systems and blind spot detection to name a few.

    This network of information requires that all components that are supplying information to the computer system are correctly calibrated. If one sensor is out, then the complete system will not work as accurately as designed.

    ADAS sensors are precisely aimed from manufacture and require calibration if their positions are disturbed in any way. If a sensor is out of alignment by one mm or even one degree on the vehicle will be aimed at an area significantly off axis 50 or more metres down the road. Misaimed sensors often result from collisions – even a minor dent can knock ADAS sensors out of alignment. However, calibration can also be required as a result of common vehicle repairs such as windshield replacement, suspension repair, wheel alignment or the removal of rear vison mirrors.

    Failure to calibrate a sensor when necessary can result in faulty information that will cause the ADAS to operate incorrectly or not at all. Also, sensor calibration is necessary when there is a related Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) in the car’s computer memory.

    ADAS is here to stay, as a repairer it is part of repairing vehicles today and it is important that this forms part of the repair where required.


    Understanding Process

    - by Mark Czvitkovits, I-car Australia

    Even when you are benchmarking your business against others, there will be differences in the way you process your work, compared to others. This is very much dependant upon the type of work, the materials utilised, staff knowledge and numbers.

    The most important thing in delivering a consistent product is process, and sticking to it. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) ensure a consistency at every stage of the repair process. From the initial way work is estimated right through to the after-delivery contact with the vehicle owner should be a standardised process to ensure consistency.

    Process will ensure that you are streamlining your day to day activities in every area of a business. The estimate should be written with procedures researched, providing as much information as possible. This should include examining the critical safety systems of today’s vehicles as it may lead to additional sublet work allowing the business to develop a repair plan covering all potential issues that may need addressing when the repair process begins. With today’s vehicles this is becoming a standard process that must be performed to ensure the vehicle works as it was designed after the repair has been completed and this will become an essential step in collision repair.

    From here the processes should fulfil the requirements that are needed in authorising the vehicle repairs and this can differ from business to business depending on the where the work is sourced. Often a business may have multiple work providers with different internal processes, so the best practice is to ensure your systems are streamlined for each. This in turn can cost additional time if these processes are not followed.

    Businesses usually begin by booking the car in for repairs, disassembling begins and the repair process starts. At the disassembly stage, the blueprinting process of the repair should begin. It may slow the process initially but once all the damage is discovered during blueprinting, then no hidden surprises will be found in the middle of the repair. A complete blueprint will identify all damage through measuring, diagnostics and issues with potential parts supplies before the repair starts.

    If damage is found that will cause a delay, it is far more efficient to discover this in the beginning than during a repair. Having all the damage documented before the repair begins will save time and produce efficiencies with every repair, large or small. This simple but effective process will allow time for all the parts to arrive and saving that issue of missed parts that are only discovered at the end of the job as it is due for delivery.

    During repairs where welding is required the SOP of performing test welds and destructively testing is an invaluable process in ensuring quality and safety. When a test weld is performed and the machine and user settings are in tune, the end result is a clean, strong weld with minimal clean up. This means minimal filler, minimal primer and materials that all save time at every stage that follows.

    Trail fitting of all parts in a repair where required should form part of any repair process because if it fits before it is painted it will fit afterwards too!

    All of these processes ensure that repairs will be performed cleaner and therefore providing the refinishers with a better foundation to apply their trade. Standardised feathering of edges, with specific grades of sand paper deliver a consistent product to the refinisher thus reducing potential sink back and other paint deformities.

    A finely finished vehicle relies on the preparation being sound and the refinish process being consistent and not rushed. If time delays have occurred during the repair through a lack of process, it is often the refinish that is hastily completed to meet a deadline. Paint process should never be pushed faster than your equipment or product allows, as this is generally the first thing a customer sees.

    On delivery when the vehicle is completed, electronics calibrated where needed, fault codes removed and the vehicle is cleaned for delivery, it should be the last time the vehicle needs to be seen for that particular repair.

    One of the most important processes many businesses ignore is the after service call. The value this brings to your business and to the customer cannot be underestimated as the feedback you receive can help improve your processes even further.

    Training staff within their roles will provide a learning culture that will help every business improve their processes. If there is a continuing problem in any area, the staff involved will be able to assist in solving the issues as they understand why a problem occurs.

    As one area of a business is improved, it leads to other areas being ready for improvements as well. A Process Centred Environment will deliver improvements and also highlight where operations can be further improved.

    * The contents of and any opinions contained in these articles may not necessarily reflect the opinions of Capricorn Society Ltd.