I was invited to a presentation at the April CIC meeting in Oklahoma City by Jan Srack on the Matrix Wand. It was an interesting presentation, but being the skeptical person that I am, I really questioned this technology. Gary Wano, Jr., owner of GW & Son Collision in Oklahoma City, arranged for a hands on demo. He had a 2009 BMW 3 Series BMW that took a high hit. Both grilles, headlamps, upper portion of the front bumper and hood were damaged. The vehicle nose-dived under a bumper at less than 10 miles per hour. We inspected the bumper absorber and reinforcement for damage and there wasn’t any. We all concluded that the damage was isolated to the upper structure and there was no lower structural damage. Rob Bailey (from Matrix) took a picture and imported it into his computer and 10 minutes later his results showed that the left lower rail had a sway out 5 mm and sag down of 6 mm. Yeah, that’s what the picture stated, but did the rail move? Gary placed the vehicle on a Celette Bench the next day, and sure enough the rail had moved. Pretty impressive, but I still was not convinced, so I asked if they were doing any other presentations and I was invited to their office in Kansas.
I spent two days with Rob Bailey, Tom Srack and Ron Chiles (national sales manager) measuring a number of cars. One of the vehicles was a 2010 Ford Escape. We found that the core support was asymmetrical. In other words, the driver’s side of the upper tie bar is 10 mm forward of the passenger’s side. Mitchell data says that length of the upper tie bar is the same. Who was right? I check with Chief and their measurement data also had 10 mm difference on the upper tie bar. I think that Mitchell better re-measure the vehicle and change their date. I told Jan that I would write an article on the equipment, but I would have to use it by myself to validate their claims of ease and accuracy. She loaned me a unit and I took it to Hawaii last month (I conducted a welding workshop and spoke to the Hawaiian Autobody Association) to check it out. What follows is what happened.
Monday, the first vehicle I measured was a 2011 Honda Accord with damage to the left rail and left upper reinforcement area. The vehicle was on Global Bench System with the jigs in place.
The left rail was 8 mm back (circle).
The left rail had a sway over 25 mm and sag of 6 mm.
More damage noted by the measuring system. I took a picture with the matrix system and this is what I found (see next page).
I am going to use points 5/6, 9/10, and 13/14 on the distance table. Point 6-13 is 1237 mm and point 5-14 is 1212 mm. Point 5-10 is 1076 mm and Point 6-9 is 1080 mm.
You can go to Mitchell data and verify any point-to-point measurements and compare with the vehicle being photographed. When I went into the XYZ comparison, I found that the length was 8mm short, height was 5 mm down and width had moved 25mm and this was done with a picture. Dale Matsumoto, the owner of Autobody Hawaii, timed me and it took me 20 minutes from the time I took the picture until I gave him a print out.
The vehicle was pulled and here are the pictures:
As you can see, the vehicle has been returned to its correct width, length and height. I proceeded to take another ‘after picture’ and measure.
I am going to use points 13-14, 5-6 and 7-8. Points 13-8 is 1225 mm and points 14-7 is 1224 mm. Point 13-6 is 1077 and points 14-5 are 1076 mm. To verify that these measurements are accurate, I measured points 13-14 with a tram gauge and found the distance to be 1026 mm. I went into Mitchell and their measurement was 1026 mm. Looking at the distance table in the picture, it read 1026 mm. All I can say is pretty remarkable.
The only way that you can appreciate this revolutionary piece of equipment is to see it in operation at your shop. Either call me at 310-995-7909 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will set up a demo for you, either personally or through the company. You will be amazed!