Frame equipment is a building block of a successful body shop. It’s a great way to improve efficiency in shop processes and can also play a big part in reducing workplace injuries, which increases technician productivity and will keep them happy in the long run. Doug Bortz, director of marketing and advertising at Car-O-Liner, knows that, too often, shop owners make the decision to purchase frame equipment without understanding the end on mind. Bortz shares the essential questions that shop owners should ask themselves before they make the investment.
How Many OEMs Will This Frame Equipment Cover?
OEMs have requirements for frame equipment and before making any purchases, shop owners should evaluate the OEMs that they want to cover and make the best purchase decision based on that. These are the questions that Bortz suggests asking:
What are the OEM specifications to meet certification or approval?
How many OEMs recognize the unit in a similar configuration?
Will the unit conform to multiple OEM requirements with minimal or no reconfiguration?
Bortz says that often, measuring and frame equipment will go hand in hand when it comes to OEM approval. For example, an OEM that requires a Car-O-Liner measuring will also approve the frame equipment. That’s not always the case, but it’s a good place to start if a shop owner is overwhelmed looking at the different options.
Should I Purchase Dedicated Fixtures or Universal Anchoring?
Bortz says that when owners decide on what type of anchoring system to purchase, they should consider if they’re better off with a universal system or a dedicated jig fixtures. Dedicated jig fixtures may sound ideal, but depending on other repairs not requiring such a system, may not be as efficient as a universal fixture system for all work and because of that, could result in purchasing multiple systems. A vehicle-specific system will be approved by a particular OEM, but OEMs have different requirements, which would also mean purchasing multiple systems.
Another consideration is whether your shop needs an anchoring system for a truck, SUV or full frame. If your shop does repair many full frame vehicles, you will need to ensure a solid vise like solution to perform these repairs in a safe and efficient manner.
Finally, purchasing dedicated jig fixtures may require fixture rentals. Bortz advises shop owners to investigate and see whether or not they are available for rental and if so, how quickly they can be made available. If the delay is too long, it can cause bottlenecks.
Car-O-Liner offers a universal EVO system in three main configurations: basic, extended, and holding and fixturing. Each configuration is approved by multiple OEMs and features a universal fit, reducing the upfront investment with maximum capabilities.
Do the Frame Bench and Anchoring Act as the Measuring System?
At Car-O-Liner, the measuring system provides the total solution along with the frame bench. The measuring system guides users through the repair process and performs automatic centering, measuring and documentation. By offering it as part of the total solution when used with the frame bench, the repair process will speed up and quality will increase. If documentation and improving quality of repairs is important to shop owners, they should make sure that a measuring system is offered.
Will the Equipment Meet My Space Requirements and the Needs of my Staff?
When purchasing frame equipment, Bortz reminds shop owners to keep in mind the layout of their shop. For example, Car-O-Liner frame equipment will take up a bay, but others will take up a bay and a half. In addition, consider whether or not a bay can be dedicated to a bench or if that space is needed to serve multiple purposes. Car-O-Liner offers a flush mount system that allows the equipment to be lowered down into a pit. That way, the bay can be used for multiple purposes and shop owners can make the most of their shop’s space, Bortz says.
Height variation in a bench is another important factor for shop owners to keep in mind. Bortz says it’s important to keep your technician's needs top of mind. You will want a bench that will raise and lower to multiple work heights, reducing stress while increasing efficiencies. Do your homework, include the input and ideas from your team and make this investment once, and you will reap the financial rewards with happier employees.
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