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HD Repair Forum Announces Formation of Committees to Address Collision Industry Setbacks

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HD Repair Forum, the collision industry’s largest gathering of heavy-duty repair executives and leaders, is proud to announce the creation of four committees: Education, Technology, Parts, and OEM Repair Standards.

These committees have been established to address the macro-level issues found throughout the heavy-duty collision repair industry and are co-chaired by leaders from various segments of the market. Insight on the direction of each of these committees will be presented during the 2020 HD Repair Forum being held March 24th – 25th in Fort Worth, Texas.

“The purpose of these committees is to address challenges and solve problems throughout the year, not just during the HD Repair Forum. The key to the success of these committees is strong leaders who share a passion to drive change and a vision for a path that improves the industry for all stakeholders.” Brian Nessen, HD Repair Forum President and co-founder shares. “We are fortunate to have this diverse group of leaders pave the way for a brighter future.”

Education Committee Co-Chairs
Doug Schlueter – I-CAR
Brandon Eckenrode – CREF

OEM Repair Standards Committee Co-Chairs
Kevin Clary – Daimler Truck North America
Rohit Mathew – Carlisle & Co.

Parts Committee Co-Chairs
T.J. O’Hanlon – Navistar
Mark Polzin – Budget Truck & Auto

Technology Committee Co-Chairs
Chuck Olsen – AirPro Diagnostics
Aaron Polzin – Budget Truck & Auto

A complete list of committee members and mission statements are available on the committee pages of the HD Repair Forum’s website.

Collision repairers, shop owners and management, fleet repairers, OEM/manufacturers, insurance professionals and appraisers, equipment/service/technology companies, and any others serving the heavy-duty collision repair industry are encouraged to participate. If you are interested in learning more about the committees or contributing, you may send your inquiries to Jennie Lenk. As evidenced by the diverse cross section of companies and individuals currently serving on committees, all industry stakeholders are welcome to participate.

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.

Registration Opens for the 3rd Annual HD Repair Forum

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Registration for the HD Repair Forum is now open. Last year’s event experienced a forty percent increase in attendance and has quickly established itself as the can’t-miss event for the heavy-duty collision repair industry. 

The third annual conference is set to take place Tuesday and Wednesday, March 24th & 25th, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas, at the Worthington Renaissance Hotel. The program will follow a similar format as last year’s event, spanning two days with presentations from OEMs, insurers, and other industry leaders during each morning’s general sessions. 

Attendees will gain valuable insight into industry trends allowing them to make better business decisions today and in the future. Afternoon break-out sessions will provide attendees an opportunity to choose classes that best address their individual or business needs. These sessions are geared towards executives, shop owners, managers, and company leaders. 

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.

To register for early bird rates and gain unique access to equipment suppliers, break-out sessions, and networking opportunities dedicated to the commercial vehicle collision repair industry, follow this link: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/hdrf2020

For additional information, please visit www.hdrepairforum.com or contact us at: www.hdrepairforum.com/contact-us

Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are now available. Reach out to Brian Nessen or Jennie Lenk.

About HD Repair Group

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. 

Heavy-Duty Collision Repair Gaining Attention and Support

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Collision repair is a segment of the transportation industry that does not get a lot of attention. Historically, there has been a lack of training, information, and support. For many similar collision repair industries, including automotive, emergency, commercial, and recreational vehicles this has been the case. Why?

Collision repair is usually an afterthought. Energy and investment is placed on developing new vehicle technology. There is a never-ending race to make vehicles lighter, stronger, safer, and more fuel efficient. Recently the term ADAS was nothing more than some jumbled letters on a Scrabble game board. Today you can’t go to a trade show or read an article without being exposed to advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and electric vehicles. Another important trend in this industry; Autonomous vehicles.

While all of this technology is absolutely necessary and part of the evolution of the industry, at some point, these vehicles will need to be repaired. The industry has done a great job ensuring that technicians (mechanics) are prepared to service and maintain trucks. Keeping these vehicles on the road and operating is vital to our economy and to those that rely upon this industry to make a living. A truck sitting in a service bay is costing someone money.

Understanding that a vehicle out of service is lost revenue, more attention needs to be placed on the truck sitting in a collision repair facility awaiting parts. And what about the truck that has tens of thousands of dollars in collision damage awaiting repair from a technician that does not have any information on how to properly repair it?

As vehicles become equipped with more safety features, such as ADAS, or newer substrates that are lighter and stronger, information and training has never been more critical. In today’s collision repair facility, it’s a daily struggle to find and order parts and identify proper repair procedures. An independent collision shop could wait several days just to obtain parts prices. If you talk to insurance companies, they will tell you that the single biggest concern they have for their insureds is cycle time. Cycle time is defined as the number of days it takes for the vehicle owner to get his/her truck back on the road. For those that have had their vehicles in a collision shop, it would not be uncommon for a truck to be down for weeks. In some extreme examples it could be months.

As an industry, we need to work together to address these issues. We should be seeking solutions to reduce cycle time and put vehicles safely back on the road. We should continually be looking for solutions that ensure technicians have the knowledge and equipment needed to properly repair vehicles.    

In the spring of 2017, a dedicated source of focused information for the heavy-duty collision repair industry, the HD Repair Forum, was established to address these challenges. The HD Repair Forum’s purpose is to improve the narrative for repairers, insurers, OEM’s, paint manufacturers, parts suppliers, dealers and other industry stakeholders via a website, newsletter, conference, and other information tools.

The first HD Repair conference was held in April 2018 and featured technical and management training from some of the most well-respected companies and presenters in the industry. Executives from Navistar and Peterbilt discussed their new vehicle technology and the challenges repairers will face in the future. Co-located meetings, such as AkzoNobel’s 20 Group, were held during the same week and brought in some of the best repairers from the United States and Canada. The vendor expo gave high visibility to organizations committed to serving and improving the industry.

“Our goal is simple,” states Brian Nessen, President of the HD Repair Forum. “Provide the heavy-duty collision repair industry with an avenue for obtaining information and encourage collaboration. We want to facilitate safe, proper, and efficient repairs of all vehicles, and help the industry prepare for the future.”

The HD Repair Forum provides individuals and companies an opportunity to meet others, share experiences and best practices, and gain knowledge from manufacturers, trainers, and educators. The 2019 conference was held last April and experienced a 40% attendance increase, and brought in increased support and participation from several OEM’s including Daimler Trucks North America, Volvo, Navistar, and Peterbilt.

The 2020 conference returns to Fort Worth on March 24th & 25th. Companies like Axalta Coating Systems and AkzoNobel will also be co-hosting their spring Business Council and 20-Group meetings that same week.

To stay up to date on participation opportunities as an attendee, vendor, or consultant, sign-up to receive the organization’s monthly e-newsletter here

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

Customer Satisfaction Measurements Should Be a Priority

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Does customer satisfaction exist? No. Not in the HD repair industry, anyway.

There are too many players, too many constituents, too many people that are not “customers” that influence the process and the outcome of an HD repair. We are not selling T-shirts online. Some days, we probably wish we were. This is a more complex business. There are nuances to be considered in every unique repair.

Still, we have an innate desire to do the right thing. To provide great service to the HD owners, fleet managers, insurance company representatives, TPA’s and OE’s; to work efficiently with paint companies, parts providers, and multiple other vendors.

To help keep ourselves on track and ensure we are doing things the right way, we rely heavily on measurements. We have financials that include P&L’s, balance sheets, income statements and breakouts of business units that tell us how much money is in the bank. We measure cycle time, and parts, and paint usage. We track how many hours our employees work and how much money we are spending on marketing as a percentage of sales. Measurements are everywhere.

But for many of us, measurements of customer satisfaction- commonly called CSAT- remain an afterthought. But-there are those words again– customer satisfaction. Although it is probably not an adequate descriptor, I may have to revert to using it in a very generic and holistic sense, since there is no word (that I can think of) that more accurately describes everyone and all the organizations that influence a repair in the HD industry.

The comparison of financial statements and customer satisfaction is an interesting exercise. And, if not an actual exercise, (likely due to inadequate CSAT data points), at least an interesting philosophical discussion. Where does CAST show up on the balance sheet? Well, it doesn’t. Assuming you are making money (let’s hope so!) how can you therefore determine if the numbers in financials represent good profit or bad profit? Is there such a thing as bad profit? Yes- but let’s just say not-so-good profit. What is not-so-good profit (NSGP)?

  • NSGP values policy over relationships, making it more likely that costs will be driven up in the future due to short-term gains in the present
  • NSGP allows customers to remain unsatisfied, causing future brand deterioration by negative word of mouth
  • NSGP allows customers to remain unsatisfied, driving up future service costs that you may not be able to get compensated for
  • NSGP measures cycle time, but not comeback percentage
  • NSGP gums up the works by tying up your resources with complaints or re-work, that as an additional side effect is also quite de-motivating, if prevalent enough

Interestingly, without customers, there would be no need for financial statements, paint, parts, or much of anything else for that matter. Yet, some owners and managers relay on the old “I know my customers”, “I know everything that is going on in my business” mantra. There are two major reason why, even if partially true, it is best practice to systematically verify your beliefs.

First, customers won’t tell you everything they will tell a computer screen or a live agent with whom they have no history or personal investment. And, with your best source of future work being a recommendation, it is vital to harvest this feedback. Even customers that are completely satisfied can provide valuable information for future operational improvements and future products and services.

In a study of thousands of customer satisfaction surveys, TenPoint Complete found that even those customers that rated the overall experience a 9 or a 10 on a ten-point scale, approximately 25% of them had some aspect of the experience they thought could have been improved.

That brings up a second point, which is that expectation levels are constantly changing. You are not only compared to your peers in the industry, but to other service providers, some of which are doing a very good job. Many, however, are still not exceeding expectations, or creating raving fans. This is actually good news, as you have the opportunity to step-up and position yourself in the mind of the customer (insurance company, fleet manager, OE, TPA etc.) as an exceptional provider.

A recent personal example of a service failure occurred when I ordered checks from my bank (yes, still need the paper kind on occasion). Long story short, it took over three weeks and several frustrating phone calls to accomplish this task. My feedback was straightforward: Providing check re-orders should be a core service competency. The expectation level today is not two or three weeks on a request of this nature- it is two or three days.

There are certainly many additional advantages to CSAT measurement. If this has at least provided some food for thought, I’ll wrap up with some best practices or characteristics of CSAT measurement.

The Six C’s of CSAT Measurement

Commitment From the top. The owners, executives, and managers that sponsor or initiate the programs must be fully invested in their implementation, or it will be very difficult to achieve the goals.

Customer Focused Strategy Sounds obvious, but the measurements need to create action. For example, customers need to be followed up with upon receipt of negative feedback. How many times have you given negative feedback and not been acknowledged? Not good!

Consistent Many companies produce an annual CSAT measurement. While this is better than nothing, it leaves a lot on the table, like the opportunity to impact corporate culture and the ability to use results as part of an overall management tool and philosophy.

Complex Not! Complex measurements and formulas are interesting to statisticians and people who work in the industry, but not many others! Survey questions, reports, and other tools should be straightforward, intuitive, and easily understood.

Comprehensive From a methodology standpoint, you may want to consider a company that utilizes omni-channel communication. For example, the ability to survey via SMS (text), E-mail, and live agent. Also, having the option of an invitation to social media may be of interest.

Credible Measurements need to be credible to influence your important stakeholders and constituents. Producing the measurements yourself or relying on a company that does not have a core focus in CSAT measurement may dilute your efforts.

In future installments, we will explore more specific uses for the measurements in the HD environment and some of the most widely used tools for this type of strategic initiative.

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

Heavy-Duty Collision Repair Industry Conference Nearly Doubles in Year Two

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Earlier this month, heavyduty collision repairers, insurers, OEM’s and vendors from across North America made their way to the Historic Hilton in downtown Fort Worth, Texas to participate at the 2nd Annual HD Repair Forum. This unique event assembles the leadership and brightest minds in the collision repair industry representing each of the various stakeholders. Brian Nessen, co-founder of the event, reported a 40% growth in attendance over last year’s event. This type of growth sends a strong message that the industry needs, and wants, to have a place to bring everyone together to network and professionally discuss the most pressing and sensitive industry issues.

Show organizers were quick to point out that the success of the HD Repair Forum is directly attributed to the contributions and commitment of its’ 15member advisory board. The advisory board is comprised of collision repair shop owners and managers who have been engaged from the onset of the program. Their leadership and knowledge was on full display during the twoday event.

 

The forum’s 250+ attendees were treated to two days filled with managerial and technical training classes, as well as industry-related programs. Every session provided steps to prepare for the future, which is critical as this industry evolves at an expedited pace.

A growing number of executives representing OEM truck manufacturers and insurance companies further highlighted the goal of the Forum: to bring together people and companies with the power to facilitate change. These individuals not only were in attendance and engaged with the industry, but several of them gave formal presentations or shared their knowledge and experience by participating on a panel. The energy derived from their participation confirmed that the industry has an opportunity to impact change by working together to the benefit of the vehicle or fleet owner.

Dates and location have not yet been announced for the 2020 HD Repair Forum but show organizers did state the event would be expanding and larger venues in Fort Worth were being studied to accommodate the growth.

To stay up to date, please subscribe to our email communication list.

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.