How It Works: Malco Products’ QHT1A Air-Hemming TurboX Tool for Quarter Panels
HOW IT WORKS:
Replacing quarter panels is a weekly occurrence for the technicians at Peters Body Shop in St. Cloud, Minn. And according to Ryan Schultz, one of the shop’s technicians, the process is no easy feat.
“You take the tire off, you take a hammer and dolly and, usually standing on your head because it’s an odd angle, you hammer the flange over by hand,” he says.
In total, the process used to take Schultz roughly 30 minutes, he says.
That’s why the shop invested in Malco Products’ air-hemming tool, which won “Best New Product” in the collision repair and refinish category at the 2014 SEMA Show.
Schultz says the product comes in two models—an air-operated tool or an attachment that fits on the end of a cordless drill—both of which function the same way. The rounded hammer face is used on the initial pass of the quarter hem flange. Schultz says you simply pull the trigger and the tool replicates a hammer and dolly motion at a greater speed. After the initial pass, Schultz switches the face to the flat face side of the hammerhead to close and seal the flange.
He says bending and closing wheel arc flanges of replacement quarter panels now takes only two to three minutes with the new tool.
“It’s a huge time savings,” he says.
Schultz notes that there is an adjustment period to using the tool.
“You learn how to hold it,” he says. “If you hold it the wrong way, you could damage the quarter. As soon as you do that, you know exactly what you did wrong. You can basically stop and adjust what you’re doing. Overall, it’s very simple.”
Although there is a risk of damage if used improperly, Schultz says the rubber-cushioned anvil generally protects the quarter panel, and he notes there is also a chance of damage using the standard hammer and dolly.
That nearly 30-minute time savings is the biggest benefit of the tool, Schultz says, and allows for a relatively easy recouping of the cost.
“It all depends on how many quarters you are doing,” he says. “In our shop, we could easily recoup the cost in half a year.”