One of the many questions coming out of the Detroit Auto Show involved the repair process of aluminum-body cars. More specifically, pundits were concerned with the new type of repair and manufacturing needed to enact repairs on an entirely new material, and there was even word that Ford would subsidize F-150 repair costs.
On the other side of this, companies that make aluminum repair tools must have seen dollar signs when all of these concerns were voiced. For example, VSG member Elektron polished off a brand new press release just the other day. From PR Newswire:
Elektron’s new MultiTool Aluminum Dent Repair Station is a complete mobile workstation equipped with the tools technicians need to properly repair dents in aluminum sheet metal body panels and hoods.
Because ferrous metal can contaminate aluminum and cause corrosion (leading to adhesion issues and paint failure), best practices for aluminum repair call for dedicated aluminum repair areas and equipment. Elektron’s MultiTool Aluminum Dent Repair Station includes a work area as well as space for storing the tools used exclusively on aluminum components.
“The new MultiTool Aluminum Dent Repair Station is self-contained and mobile, making it easy to use in shops with dedicated aluminum repair bays as well as those that only work on aluminum occasionally and need something that can be pulled out as necessary,” explains Mike Cranfill, vice president of collision for Vehicle Service Group (VSG), Elektron’s parent company. “Many vehicle hoods are already made out of aluminum and the use of aluminum in vehicles in North America will continue to increase. The Elektron MultiTool Aluminum Dent Repair Station represents an affordable investment in a shop’s future by providing equipment necessary to work on the next generation of cars and trucks.”
MotorTrend also took a look at this from a more objective perspective:
There are multiple new requirements for dealerships and repair facilities that work on aluminum bodies. However, Ford is making some concessions to dealerships by waiving a the requirement for a completely separate “clean room” and just requiring a curtained-off work area for the aluminum body. It’s important to keep aluminum and steel separated to prevent possible galvanic corrosion.
Eurovac, a small manufacturer of specialized vacuum and air extractors based in Concord, Ontario, which currently has 25 employees, expects that number to grow substantially in the years ahead. Rob Retter of Eurovac calls the new F-150 “the biggest thing in the history of our company.” Ford is requiring the purchase of a specialized vacuum to remove aluminum dust from shop floors. The Eurovac II vacuum model costs $10,125.
Not only is the aluminum manufacturing industry benefitting from the recent trend, it’s now clear that the business tangential to the industry will reach new highs as well.