Mobile Toggle

Posts Tagged ‘Trucking industry’

Collision Avoidance Systems, Layered ADAS Technology, and Collision Repair Needs

Posted by

Due to the expected decrease in accidents, fully autonomous trucks often bring feelings of uncertainty to virtually anyone involved in the collision repair industry. However, as was discussed during the 3rd installment of the HD Repair Forum’s webinar series; there is a silver lining.

It’s true, collision avoidance systems aren’t new technology. The industry was exposed to early forms of these systems years ago with the implementation of anti-lock brake systems (ABS). However, truck manufacturers continue incorporating additional ADAS features into their vehicles at an accelerated rate. Understanding the technology and repairability of these technical features is extremely important for repairers to gain a foothold of, because accidents are still going to happen and your credibility and liability are on the line. 

A company heavily involved in vehicle technology and of increasing importance to the heavy-duty collision repair industry is component manufacturer, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems. Recently, administrators at the HD Repair Forum brought representative Jim Barber of Bendix, forward to speak directly with collision repairers in an one hour segment titled, “Evolve Your Business to Keep Up with ADAS Equipped Vehicles.” The newest OEM technical additions, the importance of proper repair and operation of the technological additions before returning affected vehicles to customers, as well as technological terms such as YAW, LAS, and SAS were just a few topics of importance that were discussed.

Although full autonomy seems to be the end goal of vehicle technology developments, it is not here yet and will not be incorporated exactly as some may perceive. Barber laid out clearly to those in attendance that the industry’s projected path in implementing all five levels of vehicle autonomy will take some time, “Today, we’re currently into level 1 systems and we’re crossing into Level 2 systems…The Level 5 systems (where a driverless vehicle will be implemented) probably won’t be a reality until the 2040, 2050 time frame.”  In fact, using the aviation industry as an example, he furthered this statement by adding, “We’ve had fly-by-wire aircraft for almost 30 years, where an aircraft can take off and land by itself… but yet the federal government still requires a pilot and a co-pilot.”

Still, the industry trend is to continue adding more sensors, gathering more information to achieve better performance, with driver lives and safety at the forefront. Thus, this educational episode was spent ensuring attendees understood the importance of getting acclimated with the latest additions in heavy- and medium-duty vehicle advance driver assistance systems) technology and that repair needs and processes are changing.

ADAS technology can be viewed as “building-block” technology, in which the newest ADAS technology is layered upon the pre-existing technology, or the ABS systems in this case. In other words, the ABS system serves as the foundation in which additional advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are built upon. An animated diagram provided during the webinar helped participants grasp the layering effect. 

Understanding the building blocks of ADAS is an important message, because it will help diagnose and repair vehicles when it enters the shop, especially when the vehicle involved has Bendix Wingman and Fusion technology. Barber further clarified that each layer of added technology provides another message for the ECU to read, thus an action to deliver.  

Essentially, the technology depends upon each other; ground-breaking comprehension in that each feature must be observed for complete functionality post-collision. The culmination of Wingman and Fusion components and technology brings the ABS, ECU (electronic controls unit), Radar and Camera together. “The camera may see something, but the radar does not, and it tells the system, no don’t worry about it, and vice versa…The system goes active when the two components agree.”

An underlying message for this webinar and even expressed as a question asked by a participant is, does a safe and proper repair begin with scanning the vehicle? Barber confirmed that every shop should have a document outlining the condition of that truck when it arrived at the shop, and more importantly the condition it was in upon delivery. The ACom Pro Diagnostics tooling and software referenced in the webinar is one such method to achieving that goal. It provides documented proof of active engine fault codes, battery voltage, and even provides technicians with needed information, such as the proper steps to recalibrate sensors. This is the documentation and proof that you need to show the fleet owner, insurance company or vehicle owner that you performed a safe and proper repair. It could mean the difference between a comeback, subsequent accident, fatality, or lawsuit. 

Additional important messages were shared during this month’s webinar and included pre-scans and post-scans, steering angle sensor recalibration needs, proper replacement of cameras on windshields, which is OEM specific, and more. 

For a complete review of the information shared in this webinar, sponsors of the HD Repair Forum Webinar Series have made this information available to the industry on demand. Simply register to watch this episode or previous episodes by following this link. 

Rally Cries Continue for OEM Collision Repair Procedures in Heavy-Duty Industry

Posted by

The “technical tsunami” that is approaching heavy-duty collision repair bays has been described as something to prepare for “in the future.” However, that future just drove up to many repairer’s doorsteps yesterday morning. 

The heavy-duty (HD) collision repair industry has been described as being as much as 20 years behind the automotive collision repair industry. Taking a look around the market, listening to repairer experiences, and gaining an understanding of the current tools and procedures available only confirms this perception. This is not a reflection of the repairers themselves; they are doing incredible work with what they have available to them. 

To say that the need for OEM repair procedures is critical to ensuring the safe and proper repair across the heavy-duty industry may seem extreme, but it is a fact. Vehicle materials are changing, new ADAS features keep showing up on all brands of vehicles, electric vehicles are entering the marketplace, and the absence of OEM collision repair procedures and documentation continues to be a challenge faced by all.

Facilities large and small, from both the independent and dealer side are dealing with the same challenges. This current state of the industry is not due to the lack of ability or desire from the shops; they want to perform safe, proper, and timely repairs for their customers. However, the urgency in providing them access to the proper repair information is still a serious problem. 

Many heads from within the industry have been asking for guidance on repair processes, procedures, training and equipment for quite some time. In fact, it was people who serve on the HD Repair Forum’s advisory board that helped get the ball rolling on the attention needed for heavy-duty collision repair professionals throughout North America. 

These shop owners’ commitment to finding solutions for collision repair procedures and documentation, access to parts pricing and availability, and proper education and training needs for their technicians has been going on behind the scenes for many years and was a driving force behind the initiation of the HD Repair Forum. 

The HD Repair Forum started providing the industry with news, information, and increased access to networking opportunities and resources in the fall of 2017. It held its first annual conference in the spring of 2018. The growth of the program and recognizable industry collaboration that has developed these past two years is a product of those individuals who spoke up and came together with others making the need for assistance known. 

Its latest offering, a six episode webinar series was developed in place of the in-person 2020 event; a way to bring the most pertinent educational sessions to the market. The latest installment aired earlier this month, brought further awareness of the lack of available repair procedures but also provided insight into some of the available solutions out there. 

John Spoto, National Heavy Duty/Commercial Manager of 3M provided perspective on how automotive collision repair best practices are available and applicable to the HD world. The webinar covered several topics, such as the repairability of high strength steel, welding best practices, use and necessity of torque specifications, and corrosion protection. While all of these topics likely warrant their own webinar, the highlight of this episode was the guidance given in deciding when to section and when to replace the entire panel. 

Also noted to those not interested in investing the time to learn more was to please remember one thing: If the truck manufacturer doesn’t provide sectioning procedures, the best course of action is to replace the entire panel at the factory seams. The example provided in the webinar explained that sectioning structural components, that are part of a monocoque cab design, could be the difference between a proper repair and one that fails in a subsequent accident. 

In addition to the bit of relief given, that there is some guidance out there, it is important to note that there is an increased awareness amongst OEMs for this growing need. In fact, John shared several examples of OEM repair information available from Daimler. 

The trucking industry is moving forward with the implementation of ADAS, and at the same time there is the growth of electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles. The list of tools and additional training needed to repair vehicles with these features is within itself a tall order and an expensive task.   

Those most involved and working tirelessly to drive the needed change are hopeful this represents the continuation of engagement from all of the OEM’s as they look to companies like Daimler. 

For more information on the HD Repair Forum, its committee work, or its 2020 webinar series please visit us at www.hdrepairforum.com or contact us at 281-819-2332.

State of HD Collision Repair Industry & Automated Trucking Information Shared on Episode One of HDRF Webinar Series

Posted by

The HD Repair Forum (HDRF) kicked off the first of six webinars scheduled for 2020. These webinars are free of charge and made possible by these industry sponsors, www.hdrepairforum.com/sponsors.

Richard Bishop, President of Richard Bishop Consulting, kicked off the event with a presentation on automation in heavy-duty trucking appropriately titled, Robots on the Road: Outlook for Automated Trucking. The information shared provided attendees with a look at the evolving technology on today’s truck. Truck manufacturers are incorporating advanced driver assistance systems at an accelerated pace, and partnerships like Navistar and TuSimple’s recent announcement are another confirmation of that fact. Semi-autonomous vehicles will be in your bay sooner than later and repairers need to be prepared.  

Richard’s subtle and indirect message to attendees was very clear – your business needs to continue to evolve and embrace change. Preparing for the future starts with understanding trends and building a foundation within your business to adapt to the change. Investing in tooling, training, and equipment will ensure your business will be able to insure, estimate, repair, and service the most modern vehicles.

Following Bishop’s presentation, John Webb, President of TenPoint Complete shared a subset of the results from the HD Repair Forum’s inaugural collision industry survey. Additional results are set to be provided in a future webinar. 

“The goal of the survey is to provide benchmark data on the HD collision repair industry with the intent of expanding its content annually. The results included some surprising information on the current state of HD collision repairers,” explained Brian Nessen, HD Repair Forum’s CEO. 

87% of repairers surveyed stated that despite the pandemic, they felt positive about their business and prospect for the future. Conversely, 13% of respondents said their business was severely impacted by the pandemic. Although not shared on the call, this is in stark contrast to the automotive collision repair industry that has been severely impacted by the pandemic.

Another enlightening statistic pulled from the survey includes what can only be characterized as “great news” for progress in the industry. Less than 60% of the shops surveyed repair frame damage within their facility.

This presents a promising opportunity to educate the industry on the added value on-site frame repair can provide. As it relates to cycle time, it also highlights a problem and potential smoking gun within the industry. Could part of the reason for elongated cycle times be a by-product of sublet repairs, since so many collision shops do not have the ability to repair frame damage in house?

Another surprising statistic coming from the survey is the number of HD collision shops that do not use an electronic estimating system.

It’s alarming because most developed and mature industries have already come to wide-spread adoption of this type of  technology. These statistics could be an indication that the industry is lagging with a lot of opportunity for growth and improvement.

Much of the data found within the survey is “industry first” and uncovering this data will support businesses across the industry in their decision making process.

The HD Repair Forum continues to grow its reach and identify shops that offer heavy-duty collision repair. However, the following chart depicts the challenge it and many others have faced in answering, “How many HD collision repair facilities are there?” 17% of the shops surveyed don’t know who or where their competition is. The positive news seen below is that there may be more shops within the industry than has been suggested.

“We are committed to providing relevant and timely information to the heavy-duty collision repair industry. Our webinars are a natural extension of the annual event held in Fort Worth, Texas.” Nessen continued.

Additional insight and other results from the study presented during this one hour webinar can be found by registering for the webinar on-demand at www.hdrepairforum.com

Episode two of this six-part series is scheduled for  August 18th, 11 AM CDT. Complimentary registration, made possible by the organization’s 2020 sponsors, can be found at this link.

If you have questions about the HD Repair Forum, its webinar series, or further involvement please visit our website or contact the company’s Communications Director, Jennie Lenk at JennieL@hdrepairforum.com