HOW IT WORKS:
It was the biggest constraint in nearly all of his 25 locations: the paint line.
Ian McIntosh, CEO of Kirmac Automotive Collision Systems in Seattle (recently sold to Service King Collision Repair Centers) and Vancouver, says that no matter how well a job flowed before the vehicle got to the prep line, the repair process would suddenly snag thereafter.
“The cars go through the body side fairly efficiently, but once they’re ready for prep and paint, the whole thing slows down,” he says. “The problem is that the paint booth itself has high periods of usability and other periods where it’s waiting for cars to catch up again. It’s not very efficient. I was looking for a way to shorten up that time in between.”
That’s why, four years ago, he invested in a GFS REVO Speed semi-automatic infrared drying system for the paint booth of his Tacoma, Wash., location, and picked up a compact infrared drying system for that shop’s prep and body stalls.
The REVO Speed uses short-wave electric infrared technology to dry paint, primer and filler. The system moves on a track that can be installed to the roof of a paint booth or in body and prep bays, and the REVO is linked to a computer console that controls its settings. McIntosh says that a technician can manually select the type of material being cured and which lamp options should be on or off during the curing process. Once set in place, the system will pass over the desired areas of the vehicle according to the parameters selected.
McIntosh says that the body technicians use the compact version to dry and cure filler before passing it on to the prep station to dry primer on the floor. Then, the painters use the half-arch version to dry the basecoat and clearcoat.
“It speeds it up for everyone on the floor,” he says. “It’s unbelievably efficient. It’s removed the constraint in front of the pain booth.”
The lamps quickly reach high temperatures (up to 2,000 degrees), which McIntosh says allows the vehicle to bake more quickly. While it used to take 30–45 minutes to air bake, he says vehicle segments with a freshly applied basecoat are able to dry in seven minutes (clearcoat in eight minutes) when heated by the REVO.
He notes that the REVO is mainly used for three to four panel repair jobs, which comprise 80 percent of the jobs at his shops.
McIntosh was able to reduce cycle time inside the paint booth by 50 percent, he says, and the shop has nearly doubled its throughput.
“I’m just opening a new store with the product in it. It’s a 7,500-square-foot store, which will produce what I would have needed a 15,000-square-foot store for before,” he says.
McIntosh also plans to eventually add the system to all 13 of his remaining locations.
He says it took roughly one year to recoup the cost of the investment and has since purchased five more systems for other locations.
Although the REVO has helped increase throughput in the shop, McIntosh notes that it is also one piece of a larger pie.
“The REVO is one piece of a system that we’ve employed,” he says. “It starts with how we estimate, how we order parts, and so on. But the REVO was the key to it.”