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Thursday, 23 June 2011 16:05

Inspector Gadget—Making a Custom Light Inspection Tunnel to Find Paint Defects

What happens when two brainiacs spend time together? At Autocraft Bodywerks in Austin, Texas it happens to be a Light Inspection Tunnel, used to find defects in the painting process and perfect the standard of their work in this high end collision repair facility. Owner John Borek and his IT guy, Dan McLaughlin, of  Next Technologies, designed and built this Light Inspection Tunnel.

The Light Inspection Tunnel came about through John Borek’s continual quest for improvement in his business. He believes that if OEM’s are manufacturing automobiles, and collision repairers are in the business of remanufacturing automobiles then certain technology should apply. Borek realized it was becoming more difficult to find imperfections in refinish. He also recognized the challenges for paint buffers to reach the lower half of refinished panels to properly cut and polish cars. He thought through the process; how do the manufacturers build, refinish and examine the cars?

A Light Inspection Tunnel, similar to the OEM’s would work well in this high end collision repair center, helping deliver customer perfection.

The information Borek was looking for was not available from the manufacturers, (tunnel lighting technology is not revealed to the public), so he developed a plan. He went to iTunes and downloaded all National Geographic Channel’s ‘Ultimate Factories’ and studied the auto manufacturer segments. He joined SAE, the Society of Automotive Engineers, and   extensively researched and found several articles on automotive paint defects and paint inspection lighting. Information from various sources were gleaned to perfect the project.  Borek found many articles on the subject, one written by Charles Lloyd, “An Objective Measure of Severity for Small Topographical Defects in Automotive Paint ,” who worked with Ford Motor Company. He found Ford has done extensive research on paint inspection lighting and has implemented by managing and measuring through baseline tests.

After a careful and long discovery process, The Light Inspection Tunnel at Autocraft Bodywerks started to come together, taking over a year to design and build.

Everything was custom designed and built to order. Nova Verta USA  built the frame of the  inspection tunnel. LDPI Lighting Solutions designed and built the lights, which include mirrors in the lights, delivering the technology for defect free refinish.

The Tunnel is controlled by a computerized low voltage touch-screen panel designed by Next Electronics. It also has a 3 foot lift built into the floor to bring the cars to a better position for inspection, buffing and polishing.

The finished product is working well in this shop and is also a handsome piece of engineering and does what it was designed to do – deliver the best product to Autocraft Bodywerks customers.

Autocraft Bodywerks is a well established Austin, Texas collision repair center. They specialize in Lexus and Honda, however, work on all models. The quality of repair and customer service at John Borek’s shop is First Class and the distinctive offering of the Light Inspection Tunnel is a tool used to deliver the best repair to his valued customers.

The Light Inspection Tunnel is just one of John Borek’s innovative creations. If you drive by his house during the Halloween season you will see a life size flying saucer that looks like it ‘just landed’ and Klatu from ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ will be stepping out to join the Trick or Treaters.

Borek, who has been in the business since high school in 1984, is an innovator and ongoing student of collision repair, “Everyday I learn something, when you think you know it all is when you need to get out.”

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