We have all heard of Wikipedia and all seem to use and quote it, but in case you didn’t know it, the site can be edited by anyone and in some cases this can be a good thing and in other cases a very bad thing. A Google search (CNN, CNET, etc…) of Wikipedia shows that the information on the site is generally as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica. With that said, we have decided to create a new catch phrase for the collision repair field “Collisionpedia™”, which will become a Wikipedia for Collision Repair Professionals. This month’s article will define terms utilized in the collision repair industry and may clear up some of the misunderstandings. Hopefully the Collisionpedia™ will become a monthly blurb column, until we get the website up and running (www.Collisionpedia.org). Although there is a vast amount of terms that need to be defined, we will start with the most popular terms and add more in upcoming articles.
Structural Realignment Apparatus (formerly “Frame Machine”): A SRA is a heavy steel apparatus that has a flat leveled machined top surface. The vehicle affixes to the SRA by clamps and or fixtures, depending on the OEM requirements. SRA’s are utilized to structurally realign vehicle components. SRA’s are used in conjunction with a measuring system, either electronic or fixture type. Pulling towers can be affixed to the SRA at multiple points on the SRA and positioned around the vehicle. Generally 5 ton towers are utilized for light damage and 10 ton towers for more severe damage. In some cases the OEM prohibits any realignment and the SRA is utilized for replacement procedures only. Many OEM’s have specific requirements as to what type of SRA to use to repair their vehicles.
Measuring System: Measuring systems come in two basic types, electronic unit and fixture systems. Electronic units utilize lasers, sonar and radio signals to obtain vehicle dimensions and a computer software program compares the readings to the stored specifications. A Fixture system can come in two designs, dedicated fixtures and universal jigs. Fixture/Jigs utilize specific brackets and towers that affix to specific locations to the SRA and to vehicle. Dedicated fixtures are for specific vehicles and universal Jigs can be assembled to fit multiple different makes and models of vehicles. Many OEM’s have specific requirements as to what type of measuring to use on their vehicles.
Structural Set Up (formally “Set Up”): A process performed by a structural repair technician where a collision damaged vehicle is affixed to an OEM required SRA, following the equipment manufacture’s specific procedures. In the estimating database systems this is a non-included frame or structural labor procedure. Structural Set Up should include retrieving the vehicle, obtaining the proper anchoring clamps, removing all vehicle tires, affixing the vehicle to the SRA, attaching the pulling towers, removing the anchoring clamps, removing the vehicle from the SRA, cleaning the anchoring clamps, pulling towers and SRA and storing the anchoring clamps and pulling towers. Non-included procedures should be affixing additional anchoring clamps, measuring the vehicle, affixing additional towers and removal of damaged components and components preventing access.
Measure and diagnose: A process performed by a structural repair technician where a collision damaged vehicle is measured, affixed to a SRA, to determine the amount of sustained damage and to form an opinion of the repair plan and process to utilize. In the estimating database systems this is a non-included frame or structural labor procedure. Included procedures should be placing a vehicle on a SRA, retrieving the measuring equipment, measuring the vehicle, removing the measuring equipment, removing the vehicle and storing the measuring equipment.
Pre-Measure and diagnose: A process performed by a damage assessor where collision damaged vehicle is measured, affixed to a two post lift or positioned on a SRA, to determine the amount of, if any, misalignment is present, form an opinion of the actual sustained damage and to calculate the amount of repair time required to realign the vehicle. In the estimating database systems this is a non-included frame or structural labor procedure. Included procedures should be affixing the vehicle on a two post lift, retrieving the measuring equipment, measuring the vehicle, removing the measuring equipment, removing the vehicle and storing the measuring equipment.
Damage Assessor (formally “Estimator”): A person who inspects and evaluates collision damaged vehicles and determines an exact cost of the repairs. A person who understands collision energy management, the science of applied forces, vehicle substrates, OEM repair protocols and the three major estimating database procedural pages. A person who forms their repair opinions based on dimensional measurements of the vehicle(s), OEM repair procedures and protocols, industry training and experience.
Reusable OEM Used Parts (formerly “LKQ”, “Recycled”, “Salvaged”, “Junk” or “Used” Parts): According to news reports and smartplanet.com the top items that are recycled are Computers, Batteries, Televisions, Paint, Aluminum Cans, Used Motor Oil, CFL’s, Glass, Fluorescent Lamps, Christmas Trees, Motor Vehicle Tires and Plastics. Motor vehicle parts are not on any list we could find. This would support the general public’s understanding of what recycled means and this is why the use of recycled parts is debatable. “Salvaged” and “Used” although more accurate descriptions, can give the wrong impression and may be associated with “Junk” parts to people outside the collision repair industry. “Like, Kind and Quality (LKQ) is the name of a major, multiple location group of salvage parts suppliers. LKQ is also a term only used by the collision repair and insurance industries, and is a term not familiar to the general public. A Reusable OEM Used Part basically explains what the component is and where it came from. “Reusable” by definition is something that is capable of being used again or repeatedly and this term is easily identifiable to the general public. Reusable OEM Used Part should be a component(s) that is manufactured by the OEM, unrepaired, whole, with all attached components and undamaged (except for minor surface imperfections) that is obtained from an identical vehicle. To avoid any appearance of deception, the purchaser should disclose to the vehicle owner, clearly and conspicuously, the fact that a part is an acceptable used component from an identical vehicle.
Color Mix, Match and Spray Out Card (formerly “Color Tint”): Basically tinting is the process of changing the hue, tint, shade and tone of a color to a desirable color. Automotive paint manufactures provide collision repair professionals with specific formulas for each vehicle and variances of the standard color mix, additionally they have also developed “color card decks” that include the standard color and the variances for comparison to the vehicle. For this reason color tinting of a color is not recommended as this will create another color variance. The recommend procedure is to use the color card deck to find the closest color match, to mix the color, spray the color on to a spray out card until hiding is achieved and compare the “spray out” to the vehicle, to achieve a blendable color match. Generally, in the procedural pages of the estimating database providers a color tint includes the labor refinish time for standard tint, with standard tint defined as the initial mix, check, one tint cycle and check. Some studies show instances where additional time is required for the tinting process. This time commonly ranges between 0.1 and 1.0 hours, with an average of 0.5 hours per estimate per color and at least one provider included the initial color tint. The only change to the above verbiage should be to replace the use the word “color tint” with “color mix”.
OEM Position Statements: Is basically a document that sets forth the official stance taken by a person, group, organization, or entity on a particular issue that communicate information about that position on a topic to a particular audience. Generally the document will contain a statement or definition of the entities opinion of a particular issue and or legal issue involved, the specific facts pertinent to the issue and a conclusion, or declaration of position and some documents will include an explanation of the applicable law. Position statements are used by any individual, entity, group or government. Position statements can be important sources of information about issues important to society. They can be used to clarify, inform, persuade and in some cases as official documentation in a court of law. Many OEM’s have published position statements on, but not limited to, the use of used/salvaged airbag components, used/salvaged and aftermarket parts, refurbished wheels, required replacement of a component(s), the use of specific repair equipment and full body sectioning. OEM position statements should be adhered to at all times.
OEM Repair Procedures: Are documents that outline an act or a manner of proceeding in any action or process to conduct a procedure, a fixed, step-by-step sequence of activities or course of action (with definite start and end points) that must be followed in the same order to correctly perform a task. Repetitive procedures are called routines, which in turn may become a standard. A standard is an acknowledged measure of comparison for quantitative or qualitative value or a criterion. OEM Repair Procedures are developed to help ensure collision damaged vehicles are returned to their pre-loss condition and that the vehicle reacts in the manner in which it was design to in a subsequent collision event. Deviation from the OEM procedures may expose the repair to negligence and/or other liability.
We hope this article has helped the industry to better understand some definitions and terms within our industry and introduce some recommendations regarding lesser used variations. Additionally we hope the announcement of www.Collisionpedia.com will entice your participation and suggestions to make Collisionpedia™ one of the most informative, helpful and completely free sites for collision repair professionals.
Feel free to contact us at anytime if you have any questions that we could help with.
Larry Montanez, CDA is Co-Owner of P&L Consultants with Peter Pratti Jr. P&L Consultants work with collision repair shops on estimating, production, and proper repair procedures. P&L conducts repair workshops on MIG & Resistance Welding, Measuring for Estimating, Advanced Estimating Skills. P&L also conducts investigations for insurers and repair shops for improper repairs, collision reparability, and estimating issues. P&L can be reached by contacting Larry at Office (718) 891 – 4018; Cell (917) 860 – 3588; Fax (718) 646 – 2733; E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Lange, PE, is president of Lange Technical Services, Ltd. of Deer Park, New York. www.LangeTech.net Jeff is a Licensed New York State Professional Engineer who specializes in investigating vehicle and component failures. Lange Technical Services, Ltd. is an investigative engineering firm performing forensic vehicle examinations and analysis for accident reconstruction, products liability and insurance issues. Jeff can be reached at 631-667-6128 or by e-mail at Jeff.Lange@LangeTech.net.