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Be Ready for Lighter Vehicles

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Across the industry, there will be growth and expanded use of high- and ultra-high-strength steels, aluminum, and composites including carbon fiber. There will also be expansion of magnesium, says Jason Bartanen, I-CAR's director of industry technical relations.

He says shops should take courses on damage analysis of advanced materials, carbon fiber, and aluminum exterior panels and structures. Here, he shares what shop owners need to know to be ready for an auto industry that is lightweighting vehicles.

 

What combination of materials would be best in the lightweight car market?

Material engineers are going to choose materials based on design requirements, collision energy management and other factors. Gone will be the days of steel vehicles or aluminum-intensive vehicles. We're going to see a variety of materials used in most vehicle structures and closures. This will require repair professionals to be increasingly aware of the materials used for construction and the repairability guidelines and replacement requirements for each part of the vehicles.

 

What tools and equipment will shop owners need to make the proper repairs on these vehicles?

Riveting tools, including self-piercing rivet removal and installation tools like blind rivet installation tools are going to be important for future mixed-material vehicles. Aluminum MIG welding equipment is also something that repair facilities  will want to look more closely at. Because of the new tool requirements, it's also important that technicians are trained on how to properly use the tools and understand the processes required for collision repairs. 

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