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Riverdale Body Shop

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Photo by Mike Whealan

SHOP: Riverdale Body Shop  LOCATION: Orland Park, Ill.  OWNER: Jerry Seida SIZE: 17,000 square feet

 STAFF: 9  AVERAGE REPAIR ORDER: $2,100 MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 65 ANNUAL REVENUE: $1.6 million

1) When Riverdale Body Shop opened its ninth location, at the top of area manager Jim Wensel’s wish list was an extra-long paint booth. The Global Finishing Solutions booth is 30 feet long by 14 feet wide, which eliminated edging parts on cars. Now everything gets painted off the car, which Wensel says has increased efficiency and saved costs.

2) Another advantage to the extra-long booth is that it allows for more than one job at a time. Wensel says that another Riverdale location stopped edging parts, but the booths were too small to handle a whole car. “We found we were having one job in two booths, so we were using twice the amount of heat and gas,” he says. Now the booth has a larger spray zone, which means it’s able to accommodate more than one job without picking up dirt.

3) The shop also has a GFS prep area where every job is sanded and primed. Wensel says lean processing is an integral part of the shop, which includes the paint process. He says that not only is the color verified for every car, but the paint is mixed before the car is even primed. “Before the car is even [primed], we want to know the color is going to match,” he says. Upon blueprinting the car, the paint department is notified of the car’s arrival and given the color code so they can begin mixing the colors and doing the spray-out panels.

4) The booth’s smart-tier cycle allows the painter to set the temperature to his specifications. If the manufacturer sets the panel temperature at 140 degrees for 30 minutes, “in a typical spray booth, the heat climbs up slowly and so does the panel temperature,” Wensel says. “You’re about 15 minutes into your bake cycle by the time your panel actually hits 140 degrees.” Now Wensel says he can set the first five minutes of the bake cycle to a higher degree, so the panel temperature reaches the preferred bake time immediately, and then the temperature periodically drops throughout the 30 minutes. “The panel stays warm and I get the full 30 minutes, but I’m using half the gas,” he says.


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