-->

 

Share This Page:
     

Chief's facility measures OEM's work

Chief Automotive is using its new research facility in Irvine, Calif., to increase its emphasis on getting OEM data for its measuring systems.

“Data is the most important part to make sure you can restore a vehicle to its pre-accident condition, said Mike Cranfill, vice president of collision for Vehicle Services Group, the parent company of the Chief and Rotary brands.

Chief disassembles OEM vehicles at its new facility, takes measurements and does blueprinting, and incorporates that information into the data package that it sells with its measuring systems.

“We have relationships with all the OEMs,” Cranfill said. “We access their vehicles, bring them to our facility, remove vehicle components and measure them.”

That creates the electronic data that the company sells to repairers and insurance companies.  He said it takes about four hours to disassemble, measure and reassemble the vehicle.

Such precise data is needed due to tiny tolerances on modern vehicles.

“Manufacturing tolerances today are 3 mm or less, which you can’t see, but can have a huge effect on the structural damage of the vehicle and its wheel alignment,” said Ken Boylan, Chief’s measuring and specifications manager.

Chief also gets as much information as possible from the OEMs, including computer-aided design (CAD) models, which the company will develop data from.

“But we still need to do measurements and provide anchoring information and other details that you can’t get off a CAD model,” said Brent Johnson, technical manager of collision. Chief has OEM measuring facilities in Malaysia, China and the Netherlands.

Chief is now more aggressive in developing relationships with OEMs to get all the data and CAD models it can, instead of relying strictly on measuring system data.

“We are the only measuring system that can measure multiple locations all at the same time during the repair process,” Boylan said. “We can monitor the entire structure and he changes during the pulling process and do screen updates every three seconds.”

That helps guide the technician about which direction to pull, as well as providing information about changing the hookup to fix the vehicle’s damage more effectively.

The company offers a host of training programs nationwide through Chief University, to ensure users get the most out of their systems. It also provides full-time professional tech support staff and electronic support called E-Access. This allows the shop to dial up tech support, which can see the same details on the computer screen that the shop sees.

Despite the fact that only about 30 percent of the shops in the United States have electronic measuring systems, Cranfill is encouraged about prospects for industry growth worldwide.

He cited a University of Michigan Ross School of Business study indicating that the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) will increase from $14 trillion in 2007 to $42 trillion in 2015, and China’s GDP will grow from $4 trillion to $70 trillion during the same time period.

“The U.S. market will grow because the design of the vehicle is changing and you will have to retool,” Cranfill said. “More sophisticated shops are expanding. We are positive about the future.”

Click here to see photos from the Chief research facility. Learn about Chief's exclusive marketing and distribution rights to Elektron products in North, Central and South America in this video from Collision Hub, or in our coverage from the company.

8 of 8
More from Chief Research

Comments




  • Be the first to comment.

Inappropriate Flag

Flagging notifies the AutoPro Workshop webmaster of inappropriate content. Please flag any messages that violate the Terms of Service. Please include a short explanation why you're flagging this message. Thank you!

If you believe this content violates the Terms of Service, please write a short description why. Thank you.

Inappropriate Comment Flag

Flagging notifies the AutoPro Workshop webmaster of inappropriate content. Please flag any messages that violate the Terms of Service. Please include a short explanation why you're flagging this message. Thank you!

Email Friends

Your First Name (optional)

Email Addresses (comma separated)

Import friends

Message to Friends (optional)

Are you human?

Or, you can forward this blog with your own email application.

Terms of Service