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2020 HD Repair Forum Opens Sponsorship Positions

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Plans for the third annual HD Repair Forum have been confirmed. The 2020 event is scheduled for March 24-25 at The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel. Registration is now open and sponsorship opportunities are already being booked. Companies interested in having a presence at the HD Repair Forum are encouraged to book now as sponsorships are limited. More information can be found on the sponsorship page of the website.

“The HD Repair Forum brings together the stakeholders of the heavy-duty collision repair industry in an effort to provide attendees with a unique opportunity to discuss trends, address industry challenges, and evaluate key business strategies.” explains Brian Nessen, President of the HD Repair Forum. 

The 2019 event saw significant growth from its inaugural meeting. With the guidance of advisory board members and constituents, the HD Repair Forum is addressing the needs of the industry. A few highlights from the 2019 event include presentations from Daimler, Navistar, Peterbilt, Volvo, Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA) and I-CAR. Session topics focused on a myriad of industry issues such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), electric and hybrid vehicles, liquified and compressed natural gas vehicles, and a panel of insurance executives discussing claims handling and industry collaboration. 

Throughout the two days, there will be extensive networking opportunities allowing shop owners, insurers, appraisers, OEMs, paint manufacturers, information providers, and equipment and service companies to build relationships, conduct business, and solve problems.

Companies interested in sponsoring, getting more involved with this industry, or even hosting a co-located event can send inquiries to Brian Nessen BrianN@hdrepalrforum.com or Jennie Lenk JennieL@hdrepairforum.com 

Visit the website for more information or contact us at 281-819-2332.

NPO Dedicated to Increasing Women’s Presence in the Trucking Industry Hits Conference Attendance Record

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Companies and individuals from across the trucking industry gathered in Dallas, TX in early October for the Women in Trucking’s ever-growing Accelerate! conference. 

Over the course of three days, more than 1,000 women and men gathered in the downtown Dallas, Sheraton hotel to educate themselves on how to push the gender gap forward for females throughout the trucking industry. Topics related to leadership, professional development, HR/talent management, operations, sales and marketing, and even professional driver strategies were available to attendees. 

The purpose of the organization and its annual event is “to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the industry.” General sessions brought the audience motivational and insightful perspectives on the various paths one can walk along the path to success in this industry.

The focus of the event is teaching others how to increase the presence of women within the industry. General sessions and break out sessions alike focused in on understanding and overcoming gender bias, breaking down advancement ceilings facing women, and providing strategies for transitioning perceptions.

Taking the stage during the opening presentations were three women with decades of experience in the trucking industry. They highlighted the need for anyone who wants to be successful in their career to be flexible with new opportunities, be intentional and verbal with their goals and aspirations, and be bold enough to build relationships with those who can help them in achieving their goals.  

Ramona Hood, current Vice President of Operations, Planning & Strategy, FedEx Custom Critical shared her path to this position and strongly encouraged the audience to focus on three things when looking to take their career to the next level. “Be comfortable with the uncomfortable; share your goals and career aspirations with others, and find a mentor.” She noted how critical it was to have someone who knows your  work and is willing to cosign for you, when you are not in the room.

Recipient of the “Most Influential Woman in Trucking” in 2018, Angela Eliacostas, President & Founder of AGT Logistics addressed the audience following Hood. Her path in trucking began as a little girl and encompassed driving her dad’s truck around back and fueling it up for his weeks-long trips. A plight of a single mother of four boys didn’t keep her from being brave. She took a “leap of faith”, as she explained it, and started her own trucking company “All Girls Transportation (AGT),” highlighting the woman owned nature of the company. The Organization has since evolved to AGT Global Logistics, a 3rd party logistics firm.  

The event’s 3rd and final opening presenter was Ellen Voie. Ellen is the president and co-founder of Women in Trucking (WIT). Ellen briefed the audience on her dream to see more women grow and be active in the industry. WIT as an organization has been around for 12 years and has grown its membership numbers at both the corporate and individual levels. “This is only the 5th year we have held the Accelerate! Conference. I can’t believe I’m speaking to 1,000 people in the audience right now. I’m going to set a goal for the 2020 conference; Let’s get to 1500!” The audience erupted in show of their support. 

The remainder of the 3-day conference encompassed more than 60 sessions of motivational and mind-transformational discussions on topics like: gender diversity, leadership, professional development, HR/talent management, operations, sales and marketing, and professional drivers. Check back on the HD Repair Forum website for more stories detailing some of those sessions. 

If interested in taking part in the 2020 conference, save the dates for a trip to Dallas, Texas, September 23-25, 2020. 

About Women in Trucking
The Women In Trucking Association is a non-profit organization focused on the transportation and logistics industry. Our mission? To encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry.

About HD Repair Forum
HD Repair Group offers a dedicated source of focused information for those involved in collision repair work for heavy-duty/commercial vehicles, primarily in classes 5, 6, 7, and 8. This community is where shop owners, executives, managers, technicians, estimators, and other industry stakeholders will find the latest news, tips, tactics, trends and best practices in the heavy-duty collision repair industry. The HD Repair Group offers numerous ways of delivering this information including an annual conference, a monthly e-newsletter, webinars, videos, and social channels for networking.

Examining Infrared Drying Solutions For Your Prep Area

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When examining solutions to increase production in the paint shop, all the emphasis is placed on the paint booth. The paint booth is the most noticeable piece of equipment in the shop, the most expensive, and the one that can make or break production. The right paint booth solution and paint shop layout can increase your throughput and keep your productivity goals on track. But there is still another area where productivity gains are easily found, and that is in the prep area.

No matter what your shop layout is, you have to have some area to prime and prep cars for paint. Some shops have several of these grouped among the paint booth. Since 99% of your repairs are only going to involve a few panels, your prep deck is the area where you spot prime and sand panels before final paint. 

In a pinch, you may even paint a panel in the prep area during high volume periods. Even in a pinch, you may also paint the occasional panel during high volume periods. Your prep deck allows you to push more work through the shop, by acting like the paint booth’s helper. What if there was a way to turn one prep deck into two perhaps even three or more prep decks without adding any additional filters, fans, ductwork, curtains or square footage? Well, the good news is that you can with a catalytic drying robot for your prep deck.

You are probably familiar with infrared drying in a prep deck. Shops have been using infrared drying lights for some years now, but they have been slow to catch on. This situation is because they are bulky, heavy, and get dirty pretty quickly reducing their utility. Electric IR dryers are also very analog. They require a lot of user experience do dial in the temperatures and make sure you are not melting bumpers or boiling paint. For as sophisticated as Infrared drying can be in a shop, the electric IR dryers are nothing more than glorified toasters.

Learning From The Europeans

In Europe, cars get repaired differently. Everything in Europe is about maximizing space. Streets are narrower, and vehicles are smaller and so are the body shops. As a result of this, European body shops have had to figure out how to move more vehicles through small shops using innovative technologies such as infrared drying.

The Italians have developed an infrared drying system that operates on LP or natural gas and is rail mounted, and robotic. This factor eliminates the need to drag around bulky electric IR arrays, move 220 Amp cords around, and keep the reflectors and bulbs clear of overspray.

How Gas Catalytic Dryers Help

While you don’t need an Infrared dryer to cure paint, catalytic dryers cure materials like primers in minutes. Gas catalytic dryers come mounted on a rail system, and one unit can service multiple bays. When you can cut dry times by half or more, you can get more vehicles through prep and into the paint booth. Gas catalytic dryers also eliminate the user error of electric IR dryers because the gas systems use temperature sensors to set and maintain surface temps. They can also switch panels on and off to achieve the desired results automatically. As shops seek new ways to squeeze more productivity out of an existing footprint, Gas Catalytic drying has proven time after time to cut production times without sacrificing quality.

 

For more information, please contact Gascat

HD Repair Forum Secures Plans for 2020 Event

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Plans for the third annual HD Repair Forum have been confirmed. The 2020 event is scheduled for March 24-25 at The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel. Registration will open in the fall of 2019. To keep up to date with the HD Repair Forum’s agenda, speakers, and current news in the commercial vehicle collision repair industry, sign up for the monthly HD Repair Forum newsletter.

“The HD Repair Forum brings together all stakeholders from the heavy-duty collision repair industry. The event provides attendees an opportunity to discuss trends, address industry challenges, and evaluate key business strategies.” explains Jennie Lenk, Communications Manager for the HD Repair Forum.

The 2019 event saw significant growth from its inaugural meeting, proving the HD Repair Forum, with the guidance of its advisory board members, is addressing the needs of the industry.

A few of the highlights from the 2019 event included presentations from Daimler, Navistar, Peterbilt, Volvo, Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA) and I-CAR. Session topics focused on a myriad of industry issues such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), electric and hybrid vehicles, liquified and compressed natural gas vehicles, and a panel of insurance executives discussing claims handling and industry collaboration.

“Attendees also witnessed a historic announcement and well earned recognition, as I-CAR acknowledged Penske Truck Collision of Norcross, Georgia, as the first-ever commercial vehicle collision repair facility with an I-CAR Gold Class certification,” states Lenk.

In addition to presentations, attendees gathered valuable knowledge for business sustainability and growth in a series of breakout sessions designed around process improvement and profitability.

Companies interested in participating can do so through sponsorship and advertising opportunities that are now available. Call 281-819-2332 or visit the website for more information.

Interested in getting more involved, or even hosting a co-located event? Send your inquiries to Brian Nessen BrianN@hdrepalrforum.com or Jennie Lenk JennieL@hdrepairforum.com

HD Collision Repair Task Forces Established at 2019 TMC Meeting in Atlanta

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HD Collision Repair Task Forces Established at 2019 TMC Meeting in Atlanta

During the 2019 TMC Spring Exhibition held in Atlanta March 18-21, 2019, “collision repair” continued its growth, as a topic for task force meetings. Fleets, suppliers, OEMs, and repairers gathered at the first-ever hosted task force meeting dedicated to this segment of the transportation industry. This meeting’s two Collision Task Forces were chaired by Joey Fasset of PennFleet Corporation and Chris Sterwerf of Fairfield Auto & Truck Service, Inc. Both meetings generated conversation about the opportunities participants have to create industry-vetted documents, which would benefit fleets by helping them to understand the steps and processes that go into repairing their valuable assets post-collision.

Joey Fasset’s Task Force, “Heavy-Duty Collision Repair Roadmap,” reviewed a document that will provide a bird’s-eye view of the navigation process before and after a collision. This document will aid fleets before and during the repair process. It starts before the accident and notes that fleets should identify key repair partners and their capabilities along commonly used routes. Following, it moves on to the moment after a collision. It lays out the need to document the scene, highlights evidence- preservation considerations, and assists in the decision making steps for: drivability or towing options and choosing a collision repairer with the knowledge, capability, equipment, and processes, that will return the vehicle back to its pre-accident state of safety.  It also includes how to review and compare estimates, while noting items that some repairers overlook. Emphasis is placed on encouraging Fleets to make sure they are asking right questions and minimizing the liability concerns of a secondary accident, which may have been caused by a previously-made improper repair.

Chris Sterwerf’s Task Force, formerly titled, “Heavy-Duty Collision Repair Guidelines,” will be changing its title to “Refinishing To Maximize Adhesion,” and will be co-chaired by Marcelino “Marcy” Fernandez of Axalta Coatings Systems. This Task Force will focus on the steps and procedures required to refinish the various substrates that HD Collision Repairers face. It may touch on non-included items like the set-up of scaffolding, conversion coatings, feather, prime and block, removal of release agents, removal of unstable coatings, subsequent masking, and much more.

Sterwerf’s Task Force is looking to continue to spin off recommendations for other Task Force’s that involve HD Collision Repair Guidelines.  In fact during the Spring meeting, a new Task Force was voted on to be launched for “Frame Correction Guidelines.”  Upon final approval from TMC Leadership, the Task Force will be chaired by TARA (Truck-Frame & Axle Repair Association) President, William Hinchcliffe. It will likely be co-chaired by a frame equipment provider representative. Items likely to be tackled by this Task Force are acceptable frame tolerances, defining conditions and terminology, identifying items that should be removed prior to corrections, and more.  Additional Task Force possibilities, which were brought up during the meeting included: pre- and post-repair diagnostic scans, fastener usage, foams and adhesives, trailer repair, suspension and steering repairs, mobile column lifts for collision repair, among others.

According to Homer Hogg, TMC Chairman of the S.16 Service Provider Study Group, it might be possible for HD Collision Repair to grow into its own Study Group if this positive momentum continues.

Chris Sterwerf, a strong voice for the heavy-duty collision repair industry has asked for help from the industry to support the development of these newest Task Forces. “We need volunteers from industry experts, equipment and service providers, and insurance companies to join in on the cause, so its success can come to fruition”  Chris believes that TMC is the voice of the customer and the fleets. “These documents will go a long way for the education of customers and fleets, and help them know what to look for to minimize their liability and speed-up the repairs to their assets. It will also reduce friction between shops and insurers, by creating documents with objective facts, thus eliminating the wide spectrum of subjective opinions and their potentially dangerous outcomes.”

To access documents that are already in place, which provide direction in collision repair, visit here. Here you also have the capability to add comments to these documents. We encourage repairers and other industry parties to do so.  For more information on how to get involved, you can fill out this form.

Four OEMs to Speak at HD Repair Forum

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Houston, Texas, March 21, 2019 – Four commercial vehicle manufacturers have signed-on to present at the second annual HD Repair Forum. Volvo Group North America, Daimler Trucks North America, PACCAR, maker of Peterbilt, and Navistar, manufacturer of International and IC Buses understand the value in providing the heavy-duty collision repair industry with increased communication.

Each of the leaders’ presentations during the two-day event will deliver key insight on new vehicle technology, which will have a profound impact on both the collision repair and transportation markets.

Until recently, the heavy-duty collision repair industry did not have an event dedicated to businesses needs, education, and interests of the market. The HD Repair Forum now provides industry leaders a place to gather, communicate, collaborate, and network with peers, stakeholders, and key influencers

Beyond new vehicle technology, the OEMs will also discuss solutions to parts identification, availability, and pricing. All of which are areas of concern for repairers today.

The HD Repair Forum aims to foster growth and progress in the heavy-duty collision repair industry through the exchange of knowledge, experience, and feedback from all industry stakeholders. Repair facility owners and managers, insurance representatives and appraisal companies, OEMs of commercial vehicles, and those who manufacture parts, equipment, or services for those vehicles will gather April 2nd- 3rd in Fort Worth, Texas at the Hilton Fort Worth.

To take part in this year’s industry changing event register at hdrepairforum.com/register2019

A complete agenda for the HD Repair Forum can be found at:
www.hdrepairforum.com/agenda

Speakers from participating OEs are below. A complete list of conference speakers can be found at hdrepairforum.com/speakers

Replacing Foams, NVH Materials and Other Products in the Heavy-Duty Truck Collision Shop

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There are several functions that foams and NVH materials perform in the Heavy-Duty Trucks and Commercial Vehicles of today.  Reducing noise, vibration, and harshness(NVH) are the most obvious.  The performance of these products has a significant impact on the driving experience for the vehicle operator and occupants.  Vehicle foams stiffen the body structure and help control twisting and flexing of the vehicle. Additionally, foams have an influence on the design and affect the performance of energy management in the event of a collision.  So, ultimately, these materials impact the crash protection and safety of the occupants of the vehicle. It is important in the collision repair process to inspect and replace these Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) materials as needed to ensure the quality and performance of the vehicle following the repair.  Replacing the foam is a process that can be easily overlooked or skipped. Failure to restore the form and function of the foams can have a significant impact on the trucks daily operation (noise and comfort) and crash worthiness (occupant safety).

When we talk about foams and NVH material, what exactly are we talking about?  Structural foams typically come in or on the replacement part, as these foams are not available in an aftermarket product format.  The replacement foams fall into two categories; Rigid Foams and Flexible Foams.

  • Rigid foams, like 3M™ Pillar Foam PN 08458, are designed to provide reinforcement and stiffness to vehicle structures such as posts, pillars, cab corner extensions, and other cavities. These foams provide stiffness which reduces twisting and flexing of the vehicle structure, panel flutter, and metal fatigue. Rigid foams should be used on repairs wherever OEM rigid foams were originally utilized.  
  • Flexible foams, such as 3M™ Flexible Foam PN 08463, are designed and used to absorb and control sound, block air movement, and fill large cavities. Typical locations for this type of foam are floor pans, rockers, cab corner extensions, and other body cavities. Flexible foams should be used on repairs wherever OEM flexible foams were used.  
  • Structural foams are very dense foams utilized for collision energy management.  They are typically found in rails and pillars.

 

 

 

 

 

Examples of common foam applications
Images courtesy of John Spoto

Another product used in these applications is NVH material, such as 3M™ NVH Dampening Material PN 04274.

                                            

 

 

 

Example of NVH Dampening Material
Image courtesy of John Spoto

This material is designed to be used for replacing or re-installing factory NVH sealants and foams. They can eliminate vibration and reduce noise between panels, braces, and intrusion beams.  The NVH Dampening Material performs well in attaching existing foam to panels, filling small gaps where foam cannot be used or easily replaced, and for sealing edges of cut, open, or damaged foam (see picture below).
                                 

                                                       

 

 

Image Courtesy of I-CAR

The repair and replacement process should begin by identifying the OEM location of the foams for that specific vehicle make and model.  This information should be identified through the OEM website, technical bulletins, and recommended repair procedures. Identify the location and type of foams on the repair vehicle.  Inspect the condition of the foam for damaged material that will need to be removed and replaced. Determine the best replacement material based on foam type, cell structure, compression, density, and texture. Foam Flow Rate and Foam Time should also be considered based on the access point and location where the foam is needed.  The volume of foam needed can be calculated using the expansion rate of the foam and the volume of the area being filled. Remove any damaged foam, undamaged foam can be left in place. Abrasives, chisels, knives, scrappers, and rolling the foam off by hand are all methods used to remove foams. Heat can be useful to remove undamaged foam for reuse.   If welding will be performed in the area, remove all foam, regardless of condition, to reduce the risk of a fire and toxic fumes. Clean and dry the surfaces that will be receiving foam with a water-based and solvent -based cleaner being careful to avoid getting liquid on any existing foam. Prime all bare metal with an epoxy or other approved 2K direct-to-metal primer; never use 1K aerosol primer. Once the primer has dried according to the product data sheet, install the foam.  The use of an extension tube may be necessary to access the cavity. A dam may also be needed to hold the foam into a specific area.
                                  

                 

 

 


Example of a Dam (Left) and Extension tube being used to increase access (Right)

Images Courtesy of I-CAR       

As with any repair process, proper PPE should always be worn.  A respirator, chemical resistant gloves, eye and face protection, and a paint suit are all safety equipment that should be used when working with foams and NVH materials.  Expandable foams are flammable, caution should be taken, and a fire extinguisher should be available when a heat source is being used near foams.

High quality foams that are designed for the collision repair industry are typically 2-part urethane closed-cell foams.  This type of foam is needed to meet OEM performance requirements such as temperature and moisture resistance. Consumer foams that are found at home improvement stores should not be used for vehicle collision repair applications.  These foams are typically one-part, open-cell urethane foams that require moisture to cure. If this material is applied to a part or inside a body panel where moisture isn’t present, the foam may never cure and can result in voids or hollow spots.

                                             

 

 

 

Open cell, consumer foam, Image Courtesy of I-CAR

Being an open-cell foam, this material can absorb and hold moisture which may cause corrosion issues.  Another limitation of the consumer foams is vibration resistance, these foams can break down from the excessive vibration found in today’s heavy-duty trucks and commercial vehicles.   

Sound deadening pads are another product commonly found on heavy trucks and commercial vehicles.  These pads, such as 3M™ Sound Deadening Pads PN 08840, are placed on a variety of interior panels to block and reduce road noise, engine sounds, panel vibration, and other noises.                        

 

 

 

 

 

Sound Deadening Pad use in a Truck Cab Roof, Image courtesy of John Spoto

These pads are easy to install (cut to size, peel liner, apply to the surface) and should be replaced as necessary on any collision repair.   

Heavy-duty truck and commercial vehicle OEM’s also apply other materials in strategic locations to reduce noise, vibration, and harshness.  One example of this would be the “doghouse” area on the cab floor above the transmission (see picture below).

                                                

               

 

 


“Doghouse” cab floor area with OEM applied sound deadening materials, Image courtesy of John Spoto

These materials will have a pattern or texture from the OEM application method. The appearance of these materials may be matched during the repair process using products discussed above, or another product such as 3M™ Heavy-Bodied Seam Sealer PN 08308.  This product is a two-part epoxy that has NVH properties as well as excellent tooling properties. A variety of tools and materials can be used to manipulate this seam sealer to replicate an OEM appearance.  These include:

  • Placing notches in an adhesive spreader and running it over the seam sealer to match a linear pattern. A comb could also be used  
  • Dabbing the surface of the seam sealer with a 3M™ScotchBrite pad is another method that can be used to match an OEM texture.  
  • Utilizing the seam sealer gun in a push/pull or side-to-side method can produce a specific pattern as well.  

Using these products and a little creativity, many of these OEM textured surfaces can be matched very effectively.

 

 

 

 

 

Samples of textures reproduced using seam sealer
Image courtesy of Todd Matthes

Conclusion

The products and processes to inspect, repair, and replace foams, NVH material, and sound deadening pads are an important part of performing a quality repair.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  There are of course many factors and variables that can affect an individual repair, so the technician and repair facility should evaluate each specific application and repair process, including relevant vehicle, part and OEM guidelines, and determine what is appropriate for the repair.  For more Heavy-Duty Truck and Commercial Vehicle Collision Repair product information, Standard Operating Procedures, and Videos, please visit our website at 3M.com/truck.