Body repair using glued bonds is an interesting technology for many applications.
The concept is not new and for some years now body shop suppliers have been introducing it in the workshops. However, due to a lack of training and follow-up, the technique has often been neglected.
“It’s not new, but it’s much more accessible,” confirms Yves Robichaud, Regional Director for Quebec at CARSTAR Canada.
“Dent removal using glue saves time by reducing the surface preparation stage. We are currently working with a Laval firm to promote it in our workshops. Those who have tested it immediately saw the benefits.”
Speed of execution
The same is true of the Fix Network, where this technology is a trend that is generating a certain amount of interest.
“It’s a very interesting approach because it preserves the integrity of the parts and allows for faster execution,” says Yves Roy, Fix Network’s Regional Vice President for Quebec.
“But the technique has to be well mastered. We are in discussions with suppliers who could partner with our training center to show technicians the right method of use.”
The firm Robichaud was talking about is Camauto Pro, from Boisbriand. Charles Aoun, the owner of this company, confirms that the technology has been around for several years, but that more recently the solution has been made more interesting by the multiplication of accessories, which makes dent removal by glue much more versatile.
As he explains, the dent removal work is done in a few simple steps.
- You have to clean the surface with a 95% alcohol solution and then activate the glue gun, which will take five minutes to reach the right temperature.
- A flashlight blast will remove dust and moisture before applying the glue on which reusable blocks are positioned where the dent is located. In fact, it’s just like using welded wrenches without having to remove the part or bare the surface.
- The paint and finish are preserved and since the part is only slightly heated during cleaning, the anti-rust coating on the back is not affected.
Same as with keys
When the glue has dried sufficiently, a matter of a few minutes at the most, it is then just a matter of pulling with the same type of bar used with the welded keys.
Once the surface has been restored to the desired condition, the glue can be dissolved with the same alcohol solution used for cleaning. The blocks can be reused once well cleaned.
“There are several advantages to this technique,” says Aoun. “Mainly the fact that it doesn’t touch the surface of the workpiece. Usually, it doesn’t have to be disassembled. With the variety of blocks available, the technician can repair much more than just hail impacts. Since the original siding is left untouched, it is also much easier to detect and correct dents.”
Like the representatives of the major body shop networks, Aoun insists on the importance of training and technical support. A demonstration is given by a Camauto Pro representative to interested workshops, and a one-hour training session is enough to master the technique.
“The important thing is to integrate this way of dent removal in the daily operations,” insists Charles Aoun. “The more technicians use it and apply it to different situations, the more efficient they will become.”
He points out that the supplier ProSpot also offers a very similar glue dent removal solution. As the company states, this approach is all the more interesting since it can be used on all surfaces, whether steel or aluminum. It also offers a high level of precision.
For structural parts
The supplier Spanesi of Americas goes further.
Its PULL UP! system, launched just over two years ago, not only repairs surface dents but also provides enough force to pull structural parts. The principle remains the same: glue is applied to the cleaned surface, accessories are affixed and once the glue dries, it’s just a matter of pulling.
“Our PULL UP! system is designed to be the least intrusive approach to repairing cosmetic and structural damage on vehicles,” explains Karl Kirschenman, Director of Corporate Communications and Technology at Spanesi.
“The adhesive is flexible enough to remove even the smallest areas of damage, but can also support five tons of traction for structural straightening.”
This system eliminates the need to use heat during the repair and especially the need to weld keys to the surface. With this approach, there is no need to remove the coating from the surface. “This means the surface remains intact after the majority of repairs,” says Kirschenman.
Not heating the part or welding keys on doesn’t compromise the strength of the metal in the part or the back of the panel, which is often covered with corrosion protection. The part can often be repaired without disassembly, another factor that speeds up the operation.
In addition, the PULL UP! system stands out for its ability to perform repairs on structural parts “even though the manufacturer may recommend replacement instead of repair on some of these parts”. Of course, says Kirschenman, if the manufacturer asks for the structural part to be replaced, it should be replaced. But if the part can be repaired, the PULL UP! system allows the repair to be completed.
According to Kirschenman, training is key to mastering this technique. It only takes a few hours to learn the concepts, but the full benefits are realized when it is integrated into the regular repair process.