“When I started this in ‘92, there were no resistance spot welders out there,” Naslund said. “Since that time there are more and more body shops that own resistance welders.”
In the past Naslund said the market was focused on the sale of new equipment. Today his business has shifted towards refurbishing equipment and training new employees on how to use the machines. He does this through his company Data Welder in Gilroy, Calif.
A native of Sweden, Naslund moved to the United States in 1984. His career in the auto body industry began with a job at Dataliner in 1986. He then became part owner and in 1990 bought the entire company and changed the name to Data Welder.
He said about 15 years ago, the repair and accessory and spare parts accounted for 10 percent of his business, but today the repair and service to body shops is closer to half. He has both an electronic and a hydraulic repair shop equipped with rams and pumps.
When a company buys a resistance spot welder, Naslund will travel anywhere across the country to offer training on the machine. Although a small, mom and pop shop may decide on a mig welder for $2,000 rather than the absorb the cost of a resistance welder at closer to $20,000, the quality and output will differ, Naslund stressed.
“The body shop can handle a repair with a mig welder but the resistance spot welder makes it possible for the body shop to restore the car to factory, pre-accident condition. The other thing is the body shop that invests in the spot welder will also see a big difference in productivity. It is about 5 times faster with a resistance spot welder than a mig welder,” Naslund said.
With the exorbitant cost of purchasing all the equipment necessary for a body shop, an existing shop may be hesitant to open an additional location. Naslund said those shops are the ones who would benefit the most from the purchase of used equipment.
“They may be people who build a second or third store, they see that they can buy used equipment and the investment won’t be as high,” Naslund said. “The bottom line is it costs so much money to build a new shop it’s outrageous.”
Through his experience with the welders, Naslund has invented ways to improve upon them. He fabricated a cover for the welding arm to protect against sparks or a short in the panel. This is done through a Teflon coating that enforces the welding arm and allows it to withstand higher temperatures. Naslund chose Teflon because it is one of the best flexible insulators.
He also invented Tungcore welding tips, the name derived from its combination of copper and tungsten. The metal combination is inserted as a hard core to the welding tip which allows it to last longer. A welder who uses electrodes can benefit from Tungcore tips.
In the United States today there are few who can repair resistance spot welders, Naslund said. He has done business with many body shops nationwide that send their machines to him for repairs. Many of these resistance spot welders are manufactured overseas and it is difficult to find replacement parts for repairs. Naslund has the contacts of many manufacturers and he is able to repair many foreign brands including Damien Technologie of France.
Naslund has up to 3,000 parts on hand to service welders or frame equipment. With 3-phase electricity and up to 100 average breaker in the shop, Naslund can run all the resistance spot welders on the market at his Gilroy location. He will test the equipment to find out what repairs are needed and then provide an estimate to the customer.
Data Welder Inc.
9200 Marcella Avenue, Gilroy, CA