How It Works: Infinity 3D Laser Measuring System
HOW IT WORKS:
Bob Pearson says he has always subscribed to the repair planning concept and was looking to take the blueprinting process in his shop, Pearson Auto Body in Shakopee, Minn., to the next level.
“There are just so many times where you can’t tell if there is structural or secondary inertial damage, and we want to get out of the gate by including structural damage in the original damage analysis. The insurance company wants to know, the customer deserves to know and we believe that the original work order should show this,” he says.
That’s why more than two years ago, Pearson decided to purchase the Infinity XMS laser measuring system. Although he initially purchased the system to use while pulling damage, Pearson says it has since become a pillar of his shop’s estimating process.
To use the system, Pearson’s staff first uses a two-post hoist to raise the car and hang 12 battery-powered targets in specified locations on the underside. A laser scanner that sits on a tripod sweeps the measurement area and shows the distortion for height, width and length, hence the term 3D measuring. Each measurement is color-coded back on the computer monitor to show the severity of the damage—red being the greatest, yellow being slight damage, and green staying within tolerance.
The Infinity computer monitor then displays the damage in a top view, side view or 3D view, which can be printed or emailed. The system also has built-in estimation software and uses Mitchell International as its data supplier.
Pearson says the whole process takes roughly 15 minutes and gives the staff the reassurance that all accident damage has been discovered up front.
“We refuse to employ speculation,” he says. “Having invested in measuring equipment, it helps our team maintain the constant effort to insist on the culture change that is necessary to really do repair planning.”
Not only has the machine cut down on supplements and increased the accuracy of the shop’s delivery time, Pearson also says that if the system shows that the vehicle does not have structural damage and a clear document printed by the Infinity has been provided, he has been able to charge insurance companies for the service.
Pearson says the Infinity system has helped improve his shop in a number of ways, some more subtle than others. First, he says it has helped the estimating staff write more complete estimates, which require little to no supplements and create more accurate delivery times.
“It cuts down on supplements, waiting for supplement approval, along with unpleasant calls to the customer telling them why their car is not going to be done on time,” he says.
In addition, Pearson says the shop has been able to capture jobs that other body shops have turned down.
“We have a $35,000 repair in process that was declined by another body shop because of numerous uncertain factors relating to the unusual inertia damage,” he says. “The Infiniti discovered the inertia damage right away.”
Thanks to the cost and time savings, as well as the ability to recoup more jobs, Pearson feels the Infiniti has paid for itself in the two years since he purchased the equipment.
“With new cars built to new rollover and side-impact standards, these new cars bend in very unusual ways,” he says. “Having the ability to measure these kinds of vehicles is becoming more crucial.”
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