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  • What IS coming in Collision Repair

     - by I-CAR Australia

    The reality is that the constant evolution in collision repair is influenced by new business models, developments in vehicle technology, equipment and processes and of course social media. Everything is recorded today in some way shape or form and has the ability to work for or against your business. How you address this is one of the challenges that lay ahead.

    In the next 18 months we will see an explosion of electric/hybrid vehicles being introduced with many coming direct from an unexpected new vehicle manufacturing giant, China. Volvo is owned by a Chinese company and has stated recently that they will not only introduce 5 new electric vehicle variants to their model range but the long term vison will be to phase out the internal combustion engine in the future!

    Tesla has recently begun production of the Model 3, which by all accounts will deliver affordable electric motoring from an estimated $A45,000 price tag. The major OEMs internationally are looking very seriously at electrification for their future vehicle models as they adapt to international emission standards being introduced. We will also see 48-volt systems being utilised to provide a more robust system for air conditioning, power steering and even superchargers on motors.

    So what does this mean for the collision repair industry? The obvious need will be to understand how work is performed with high voltage vehicles within the work place. What training, OH&S needs are required and who will be qualified to do this?

    One of the other main problems with electric vehicles is the weight of the battery packs currently being used. To offset this, OEMs utilise advanced lightweight materials in their construction. These include UHSS, HSS, Aluminium, Carbon Fibre, Composites and Magnesium to name a few. The big issue here is that these materials require advanced techniques to join them successfully and retain the design attributes they have been engineered for.

    We are seeing more and more rivet and bonding technology being introduced into manufacture and Collison repair, higher specification welders that can deal with the high tensile strength and grain structure of advanced steels.  

    Just because these advancements are not current place in most repair shops today, that doesn’t mean that the necessity to understand this new technology should be ignored. Unfortunately the culture of our industry is to wait until I need to do it, which is quite often the most expensive way to do it.

    Learning new about technology also helps understand the affects it may have on other areas in your business and provide a potential opportunity to address it. If small steps are taken in adapting to or introducing a new process, it is much easier to manage than introducing wholesale change that can be expensive and may result in pushback from the people affected by the change. Change is the hardest thing to manage but if you can manage the change successfully with the buy in of your staff, the results will be ongoing.

    This industry is full of knowledgeable people with a passion to succeed and do the right thing and networking with them can introduce you to other individuals who are experiencing the same issues.

    This is the time to analyse your business, your future plans and make the initial step to ensure its continuation in the years to come and understand what the technology tsunami will mean for your business.

    As always speak with your refinish company, your work providers, your associations and have positive and constructive dialogue about the future. I-CAR also provides a unique collision repair focus unequalled anywhere in the world and you can check what is available at www.i-car.com.au and remember all of your training can be paid through your Capricorn account.

    2017 should be a stepping stone to creating a viable future for your business.

    Mark Czvitkovits

    CEO I-CAR Australia