The complexity of modern vehicles means shops need to take a strategic view when it comes to cycle times.
For modern vehicles using mixed material construction, it’s important to note that the process for repairing different substrates, from carbon fibre to aluminum sheet metal to ultra-high strength steel, is completely different.
For those shops that are not certified with OEMs, it is also difficult to get access to the right repair information. Not only that, but if a vehicle using mixed materials comes in to your shop, you need to be very careful about how the repair is done.
On many vehicles that currently use mixed material structures, such as Jaguars, Land Rovers and some BMWs, nine times out of 10, the OEM repair procedure will ask to replace rather than repair a panel or section.
The right consumables
When you are working on a mixed material vehicle, such as bonding aluminum panels to ultra-high strength steel, a key factor is making sure you have the right consumables available before you start the repair.
The majority of time goes into the prep and when you bond the panel, you need to pay attention to the specific time frame required. When you begin the process, you only have a few minutes before the bonding agent sets, so it is imperative you’ve done the prep and followed the procedure exactly.
A big issue concerning bonded panel repairs is the time required for curing. Especially when it comes to working with aluminum and carbon fibre, if you don’t take the right amount of time to cure the bond, the panel will shift and you will have to start the process all over again.
When putting on a quarter panel, OEMs often recommend a minimum of 24 hours for curing on a dedicated frame.
So, when you’re repairing luxury and high-end vehicles that use mixed materials, allocating time for repairs becomes very strategic. And it becomes important for every stakeholder involved in the process to understand that.
Understanding what’s required
If you are working with an insurer that is putting pressure to minimize cycle time, the insurer needs to understand what is required for the repair.
Vehicle complexity is rapidly changing the way we fix vehicles and in many cases, doing the repair properly takes longer than it did 10 or 15 years ago.
Today, you simply can’t afford to rush these complex repairs and, because quality has become such an important aspect of the repair, it needs to come first. If quality standards aren’t met and the repair is rushed or not done properly, then the vehicle’s safety functions will be compromised and the results can be disastrous.
If the vehicle gets involved in another collision after you repaired it and doesn’t perform properly, it can be the difference between somebody walking away or being hospitalized with serious injuries, perhaps even worse.
Yes, cycle and touch time is important but no respectable collision shop is going to rush the process and cut a few days off the Length of Rental any more.
In today’s environment, they and other industry stakeholders simply can’t afford to.