Experts: 3-D Printing Poised to Impact Collision Repair
Fred Iantorno, an executive with VeriFacts, along with industry consultant James Spears, recently sat down with FenderBender to note which elements appear destined to soon alter the collision repair industry. Here's what they had to say:
While 3-D printing is already being used on the margins of the automotive industry, it hasn’t reached widespread use in collision repair due in large part to the fact that a 3-D printer used to make elements like bumper skins costs around $3,000.
According to Iantorno, VeriFacts’ vice president of the Internet of Things, 3-D printing “is an inflection point at this juncture. There are European companies that are building driver’s seats using 3-D printing—they literally prototype it, and then they create it in a couple days with 3-D printing. In the collision industry, I know there’s some MSOs that have dabbled into printing small clips and things of that nature.
“I tend to think we’re going to see a lot of this,” Iantorno adds, “in the future.”
First Notice of Loss changes
Longtime automotive industry consultant Spears feels that, in the future, OEMs will “own” the first notice of loss regarding vehicle accidents.
“They’ll be able to call the carrier and say ‘There’s an accident, it was on one of your vehicles, it’s at [this] store; you can send your resource there, or we can give a well-blueprinted appraisal,” predicts Spears, a member of the board of trustees for the Collision Repair Education Foundation. “That’s going to give them time to not just do a rudimentary, digital evaluation of the car. It would be like directly going to your physician as soon as you’re ill.
“I do see that this battle for first notice of loss, if the carriers embrace that the right way and work with shops, work with the OEs—work with the people that are closest to the customer at that time of loss—we’re going to see a much better experience if you’ve been involved in an accident.”