New Age of Technology Technology and computers are increasing factors in the collision repair industry. With time being a concern for customers in many cases, the work we doha's become easier to manage and faster to produce because of technology. Over the past ten years, equipment technology has increased our productivity. Today, a computerized management system helps you to quickly process repair orders, job costing, and management reporting.

Some examples of this new technology are the Shark, Pro Spot PR-10, Magna Rack, and HVLP. The first example, the Shark, is a computer driven measuring system designed to be operated electronically. Shark is not a modified mechanical or laser system. This is a totally new measuring system designed to be computer driven using ultrasound technology. Unlike mechanical or laser systems, the beam does not need to be level or parallel when it is placed under the vehicle The intelligence of the system automatically calibrates its position in relation to the points being measured.

The system re-calibrates itself to the vehicle every time you measure. If you reposition the beam after the first measurement, or if the car moves, the beam will automatically re-calibrate from its new position, still producing the same measurement results. Before repairs, Shark provides you with the ability to prove existing damage. This information is good to the vehicle owner and insurance company because it not only explains the cost of repair, but eliminates unnecessary work and surprises.

During the straightening procedure, Shark will monitor selected underbody and upper body reference points. Shark then calculates deviations from the manufactures specifications. You can view the whole pulling process, as it happens, live on the colored monitor. When the job is complete, you may command Shark to store or print a report in a variety of formats that you can select, recording the condition of the vehicle as it leaves your shop. Another example is the revolutionary, Pro Spot PR-10 resistance spot welding system that can add increased profitability and flexibility to any collision repair shop. By pressing the trigger button, the PR-10 electronically provides precise control of the squeeze time, current sensing pre-heat, weld deviation, hold time, cool down and duty cycle.

Within seconds, this cycle is completed and you can begin another weld. There is no possibility of an operator rushing a weld because of the pre-timed programming. The operator must wait until the green light has turned on before doing the next weld. The PR-10 assures you of consistent, properly timed welds whether it is the first weld or the hundred and fiftieth weld. With the PR-10 there is no shielding gas or wire to replace and dark glasses and hoods are a thing of the past. Now you can have clear safety glasses and actually see the work as it is in process.

Next to be introduced is the Magna Rack. This is engineered to perform repairs on damaged light framed and uni bodied vehicles with the hydraulic tilt fixture. With the full-sized platform, everything from unitized vehicles to pickup trucks and vans fit nicely. Loading ramps can stay attached to the platform or be removed quickly for unproved vehicle access.

The system has two working heights to choose from. Magna Rack adds to your productivity with its full open oval design; you have complete access to the vehicle. The Magna Rack performs combination front, rear or side correction pulls easily. When you need to work on the underside of the vehicle, the long center opening allows easy access for anchoring, measuring and welding procedures. Magna Rack conveniently fits into a standard size working bay, while enabling you to perform controlled pulling techniques anywhere around the vehicle. You get maximum flexibility with the Magna Rack pulling towers.

Each tower assembly easily moves 360 degrees around the Magna Rack's oval platform. Next is the HVLP, or High Volume, Low Pressure gun. The HVLP gun has a design that features hogged-out passages which cause the pressure to drop. However, there is enough air volume to transfer paint to the surface of a car. While high solids and waterborne finishes are advancements and a reproduced in an effort to reduce damage to the environment from paint and solvents, there is no more effective VOC reduction tool than HVLP spray gun. The High volume, low pressure gun design puts a higher percentage of material on the car because the lower air pressure limits the scattered spray and bounce-back tendencies of standard equipment.

This reduces the waste which ends up on your exhaust filters and in the atmosphere. The lower pressures used by HVLPequipment does not develop the strength to create the small droplets the conventional guns do. Consequently, the finishes can appear 'peel y'. This condition can be helped with a combination of proper set-up, longer flash times, slower gun travel and slower reducers.

A slower reducer will allow the material to remain as a liquid for a longer period of time allowing the paint film to flow. However, the newest generation of HVLP spray guns outperform the early versions of the equipment with regard to atomization. So, one may find it unnecessary to slow the drying with reducers. Cost saving with use of HVLP equipment are as great as 30 percent, and less masking is required. A primer-surface application usually requires complete protection from the over spray. However, an application with HVLPequipment can be performed with as little as 18 inches of masking surrounding the repair, saving money.

Conventional equipment gives the glass-like finishes our customers have come to expect. The droplets are smaller and the pressure is enough to slam them into submission. However, more material gets bounced off the surface of the car than remains on its surface. Since the droplets in the paint film are larger with HVLP, the finish can appear 'peel y'. Lower air pressure can not shear the paint droplets as effectively.

The longer the paint is wet, the better it flows. However, the longer the paint is wet, the greater the chance of runs. Coordination of temperatures, flash times and reducers is a must. This new age of technology has increased so rapidly in the past few years. It has kept us up to date and has increased all productivity. The old body man's way of doing things along with the strain and sweat are a thing of the past.