Several months ago, ABRN published an article of mine on new technology and equipment your shop could use. Now that NACE is upon us, it's a great time to revisit that article and reconsider equipment innovations that could both improve your shop's performance and make your operation more profitable.
One new piece of technology I'm becoming a big fan of is called photogrammetry. It has to do with the use of digital images to measure objects. In the body shop, equipment with this technology can measure vehicle structures and determine damage, even damage that may be hidden.
The Matrix Wand can help reveal hidden damage during the estimating process. (IMAGE / MATRIX ELECTRONIC MEASURING)
Sound too good to be true? That's what I thought, too. Then I spent some time testing equipment that uses photogrammetry. Here's what I found and what you might want to consider as you invest in the next generation of shop tools.
Note: My interest here – as usual – is only to help shops. I receive no financial compensation for suggesting any products.
Technology and product background
Photogrammetry can provide shops with numerous measuring capabilities. Using photogrammetry equipment, a shop can measure a vehicle or specific areas of it. An image of the vehicle or vehicle areas is then produced and downloaded into a computer running a special damage analysis software program that examines the image and the measurements therein, and points to damage. And as for uncovering hidden damage, the technology can see through solid objects.
The product I tested is called the Matrix Wand, which is manufactured by Matrix Electronic Measuring Inc. Among the technological advantages the company touts are:
- Ease of use. Their literature says the Wand is as easy to use as a digital camera.
- More accurate estimates with fewer supplements.
- Precise digital and electronic measurements.
- Ability to verify repair quality.
- Ability to supply verifiable damage information to customers and insurers.