Pro Spot Using NACE to Focus on Education
DETROIT, July 31, 2014—FenderBender stopped by the NACE display of Pro Spot International Quality Welding Systems to see how the company is drawing in attendees. Pro Spot, a leader in spot welding, had a variety of products on display and allowed visitors to receive hands-on product demonstrations.
We spoke with Nick Matteria, a Pro Spot salesman in the New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania markets, as well as Ashley Olsson, who handles communications for the Califiornia-based comapny. Both were pleased with initial show floor traffic on the first day of the expo, and discussed why educating shops on aluminum equipment and procedures is more important than ever as advanced materials go mainstream. Below is an excerpt from the Q&A.
What is Pro Spot showing NACE attendees this year?
Nick Mattera: It’s always our spot welders—the i4 and the i5. What we’re really showing a lot now is our aluminum products—pulls, MIG welders, the SP-1, the SP-2 and the SP-5, which will do aluminum as well as silicone bronze and steel. We’re showing our rivet gun for the Ford program, the aluminum F-150. We’re also showing our aluminum Dent Repair Weld Station, which is for removing dents on aluminum paneling.
Does the shift to aluminum present Pro Spot with a big opportunity?
I always tell guys that aluminum is nothing new. Yes, the F-150 is changing the focus and it’s going to be really on the repairability of these panels. Our Dent Repair Weld Station has been out for years, so we’ve had answers for a long time. The difference this industry is seeing is that aluminum panels have been throwaway parts up to this point. If you had damage to an aluminum hood, nobody’s asking to repair it, it’s replace. With the F-150, the entire body is going to be aluminum, so that’s going to change the focus. We’re going to have to be repairing. It’s not going to make sense to replace the entire bed because of a little dent on a panel. The focus on the industry is going to change on how do we repair this. As a company we’re gearing up for it, and it’s a massive opportunity for us.
How do you educate your customers on the latest products and techniques?
When I sell equipment, I share every bit of knowledge that I have. MIG welding aluminum, it’s new for pretty much everybody in this industry. As I pick up stuff from I-CAR classes and from other techs, I share that with everybody as I go along.
From a marketing standpoint, what's your focus at this year's NACE?
Ashley Olsson: We are always working on being ahead of the game—that’s our main goal. We’ve been working with Ford for the past five years. We want to have the equipment [released] ahead of time to be prepared for it. With the other changes going on in the industry, we are constantly innovating and our R&D department is constantly moving. We have a lot of stuff in the lineup, and we’re big fans of constantly improving. We build our machines for the technician. They’re very easy to use, ask anyone. There’s a lot of great things [coming] in the future, and we’re constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve.
Do you feel shops in general are up to speed in terms of equipment and training?
There is a large amount of shops that aren’t prepared for the aluminum, let alone what’s coming up in the other future vehicles. Most of our repair shops that repair the general public aren’t ready for the F-150 yet, and that is such a big truck. I don’t think that people are educated enough. We’re trying to go around and have meetings with people and constantly let them know. Ford has done a really good job with their [Ford National Body Shop Program] by trying to make sure that everyone is getting trained and set up with the right equipment. There’s a large effort going on to make everyone prepared.
What is your impression of the new NACE here in Detroit?
I’m surprised how many people are here. I didn’t really know what to expect. They really revamped the show and I’m very impressed by the way they’ve gone about it. Everything’s great. The people that come into our booth know they want to talk to Pro Spot. They learn so much when they’re here. We have every single product that’s live, so everyone gets to touch, practice, try and weld, so it’s a hands-on booth.
Are there any other benefits to being at a show like this?
Anytime you’re at a show, somebody might give the suggestion of, this thing’s really annoying to turn this way. We listen. We manufacture in Southern California, so we have the capability to go in on Monday after the show, sit down with engineering and say, "Hey, this isn’t working well, let’s revamp it." We have the capability to turn things around real quick, make changes that are positive and I think it’s a good benefit for our company. I’m very proud of this company.