SEMA Show 2018

The 2018 SEMA just happened last week in Las Vegas, USA. The show provides a venue to promote and demonstrate the leading material and supplier industry technologies needed for industry to be successful. It showcases the latest performance parts and hottest industry trends. Attendees had access to educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, and networking opportunities.

David Ribeiro our Advisor for Collision and Mechanical Divisions was present at the 2018 SEMA. He took advantage of his visit to stay up to date with industry’s latest trends and attend educational seminars.

His first conference was on Shop Liability with a panel representing legal and aftermarket. Discussion reinforced that shops are now in the diagnostics business. The panel included representatives from Honda, I-CAR, Mitchell, AirPro Diagnostics, Assured Performance and Todd Tracy Law. The key takeaway was that Industry as a whole needs to start working together as it’s been forced to assume liability while the insurance industry has dictated how you repair vehicles.

An important factor for that liability potential is the increasing amount of technology and automation on new vehicles, such as Advanced driver-assistance systems or ADAS, commonly referred to as the Circle of Safety. Todd Tracy from Todd Tracy Law stated it quite directly during the discussion saying that if you fail to conduct post-repair calibration and someone is seriously injured or killed in an accident, someone will own your shop, and it may not be you! So, the question remains, If you are performing ADAS calibration, How are you documenting? What are your qualifications? Was the calibration tested? You are vehicle safety professionals, you are on the front line of vehicle safety. You are responsible for our safety in terms of restoring our vehicle back to pre-accident safety.
Although the discussion is from a United States law perspective, it raises the question of liability and the shops responsibility if sending out a vehicle with incomplete repairs. Consumers may not have the understanding around the seriousness of the system function (or lack there of) when not calibrated.

On the show floor David had the chance to meet Jay Horak, Auto Enginuity and the man behind the scenes and responsible for much of the ingenuity behind the ALLDATA scan tool. A lot of changes have been made to the tool since the ARA’s diagnostic test and comparison last June. ALLDATA has completed many updates, and Jay confirmed they will have most of the 2019 models out by mid November. Jay also provided some insight towards the move by OEMs to Dynamic tests which will eliminate the need for many target based calibrations. Regardless of what tool you have you should be scanning vehicles, and you need to ensure you’re trained to understand and respond appropriately to the results you obtain. Training and certification for collision shops is key to be able to act correctly on the scan results .

On the final day David attended the “Rules and Challenges of Structural Repair on Modern Vehicle Architecture”. Members of the panel were from various OEMs such as Fiat/Chrysler, Audi, and Porsche.
Also present was a representatives of the auto steel partnership who discussed the partnership scope; to provide test data regarding current service joint repair processes to OEMs. The group looked at Resistant Spot Welding (RSW), MIG Welding (pulse), MIG Brazing (pulse), and Mechanical Fastening. They determined that the best performers were the RSW and structural blind rivet both with adhesive, both methods were equal to or stronger than the OEM resistance spot weld. Problematic was the structural blind rivet with no adhesive. The group also discussed collision repairability is the design process and how engineers factor in the repairability of vehicle damage. OEMs work from an overriding priority which is safety, and the use of high strength steel is paramount in this. From their perspective it’s about ensuring the vehicle performs as it was designed after the repair. When asked why there is an increase in one-time use parts the OEMs identified it’s about, “once and done” so it doesn’t come apart. When it comes to manufacturing, production beats out service. Also, in some cases there’s a thread sealant that cannot be replicated so it also drives a one-time usage or coatings that protect dissimilar materials and if re-used could result in galvanic corrosion.

The second OEM conference David attended dealt with the evolution of the OEM Network and Expectations, which had representatives from Nissan, GM, Volvo, and Mercedes Benz. Although each OEM’s program is different they were unified when it comes to measuring industries compliance with accessing repair procedures. Some programs track this access automatically and will also make this a score to maintain program participation. Most of the OEM’s represented also provide specific training for participating shops to ensure technicians have access and understanding of the repair expectations. They confirmed there is a gap but that OEM programs desire to conduct proper safe repairs. Representative were, however, unanimous in stating that their repair procedures are no longer “recommended” but “Required”.

The final OEM conference attended dealt with “The future of telematics, technology and transportation and the collision industry”. The driving factor is 40,000 lives lost last year in the USA on roadways, this is why OEMs look to make vehicles safer. By 2022 ALL cars will be equipped with modems, and that communication that takes place over the modem is “telematics”. This is still in the initial phase with questions yet to be answered around who owns the data and the rights they have around its use. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was recently approved in the European Union, it provides a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area. GDPR basically ensures data is made available to all necessary parties.

At the ARA, David continues to keep abreast of new technologies and the direction of industry with its related challenges.