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The Total Automotive Sanding System is improving efficiency, cleanliness in shops

Monday, May 14, 2018 - 07:00
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When 3M Automotive Aftermarket Divisionand Festool launched the Total Automotive Sanding System in July 2016, they knew it had the opportunity to revolutionize how collision repair shops handled dust. Since then, it has proven to be one of most impactful new product solutions for the repair industry.
The collaboration brings together 3M’s best-in-class abrasives, global sales and distribution capabilities with Festool-branded premium power tools, dust extraction technologies and exceptional customer service. The Total Automotive Sanding Systemis engineered to support the ongoing needs for cleaner, safer, more efficient and profitable collision repair shops. From ever-changing regulatory standards to increased pressures for efficiency and profitability, 3M offers a total solution to improve shop cleanliness and performance.
The Total Automotive Sanding System is designed and equipped for three specific areas of today’s collision shop – body repair, paint prep and paint finishing. There are five systems offered – the Body Repair System and the Paint Prep System are available with recommended Festool pneumatic and electric products, accessories and 3M consumables, as well as dust extraction equipment. The Paint Finishing System is available with Festool pneumatic products, accessories and 3M abrasives.
The Total Automotive Sanding System incorporates Festool’s premium power tools and dust extraction tools as well as the benefits of 3M high-performing products, such as:

  • 3M™ Cubitron™ II Abrasives that cut 30 percent faster and last up to twice as long as other premium abrasives
  • 3M™ Trizact™ Abrasives that leave a finer, more uniform finish
  • 3M™ Perfect-It™ Paint Finishing System, designed to provide a fast, swirl-free finish every time

Collision repair body shop owners and technicians have quickly embraced the new Total Automotive Sanding System, and finding that it delivers efficiency and improved cleanliness for the entire shop.
Cooks Collision Reduces Dust and Sandpaper Waste
In California, environmental standards contribute another layer of complexity to collision repair.  Dust and sandpaper waste is considered an environmental hazard, so anything that can be done to reduce both is a tremendous business benefit.
“Our whole reason for putting the Total Automotive Sanding System in was from an environmental standpoint. Slowing down the amount of dust and particles flying out the door was important to us,” said Ron Warren, regional manager for Cooks Collision, which operates 39 body shops across California. “It has allowed us to reduce our hazardous waste footprint by making the abrasives last longer and lowering the amount of sandpaper going into the hazardous waste stream.We didn’t realize the sandpaper savings at first and now we’re seeing the amount of sandpaper we use going down and the amount of hazardous material going down as well.”
Warren notes that the impact on employees has been very positive.
“Our employees really like the Total Automotive Sanding System and they like not having the dust all over them,” he adds.  “Everybody is really happy with the way it works. The Total Automotive Sanding System is a great product, it’s easy to use and people like using it.”
CARSTAR Kurt’s Says Sandpaper Savings Pay Off the Investment

When CARSTAR Kurt’s in Marysville, IL, purchased the Total Automotive Sanding System, it was a big investment for the shop.  But a series of hailstorms delivered a great deal of work, and the team at CARSTAR Kurt’s saw their investment pay off quickly.
“About a year ago, we started using the Total Automotive Sanding System from 3M and Festool, which makes the sandpaper last twice as long,” said owner Kurt Mueller. “I was a little hesitant to invest in it, but just in savings on sandpaper, we’ve already made the money back.”
Kurt notes the mobile sanding system is a “fantastic” addition to 3M’s product line and that it has made a huge improvement in their shop.
“If I told my guys we were taking it away from them, they’d tackle the guy trying to take it,” Kurt added.
At Maaco Burnsville, Dust Reduction Improves Employee Satisfaction

For longtime Maaco shop owner Chuck Liesenfeld, who is based in Burnsville, MN, the Total Automotive Sanding System has made a tremendous difference in his shop, which handles some 50 cars a week.
“Productivity and efficiency are key for the volume we handle,” says Liesenfeld. “The system has cut down on our clean-up tremendously and allows us to produce more work.  We’ve been able to increase the number of cars through our shop by working more efficiently and faster.  We’ve also been able to use less sandpaper, as it lasts a lot longer than before.”
Liesenfeld notes that in a shop with minimum floor space, the system’s portability allows technicians to move the units where they need to be versus moving cars, and can fit easily between two vehicles, allowing two technicians to work at the same time.
“There was some resistance to changing initially, but there always is,” he adds.  “Once the technicians used the system and found out how much cleaner they were at the end of the day, they were sold.  It makes the workplace healthier, and removes some of the stigma associated with the job, which helps us attract new talent.  It’s definitely worth the investment.”
Cleaner Cars Mean Happier Customers
“We’ve always been very conscious of the dust that gets inside cars, so it’s been a real big issue for a long time for us,” said Dale Francis, General Manager of Red Noland Collision Center in Colorado Springs, CO.  “Not only is it the cleanliness of the shop, but the customer’s vehicle. We’ve never really been able to figure out a solution to it. And when the Total Automotive Sanding System came out, we were really excited because it was a tool that did a number of things that we did not expect. The thing that we were really after was the fact that we spend so much time and money in detail trying to keep the cars clean. Because we are a high-end shop, that got expensive. And when this tool came out we were very excited about it. The fact that it solved the problem that we were initially trying to solve, but we got so much more with it.”
Francis noted that right off the bat they saw true evidence that it was saving them money and helping with employee retention.
“I do all of the invoices for the shop and I saw an instant drop in the use of our sandpaper and about a 10 percent to 15 percent savings,” he said.  “Also, it’s had a huge impact, just from the dust not floating around the shop.  It’s the message that we send to the employees is ‘hey we care about your health’. The longevity of employees costs money and if they don’t feel that you’re looking out for their best interest they’ll move to another job.  Employee retention is very important to any business.”
As a business decision, Francis recommended that any shop owner or manager should absolutely consider the Total Automotive Sanding System.
“You are going to save on sandpaper. I mean that’s what every GM and owner is asking -- how do I save money?” he added. “And this will save them money. And I think it will in the long run, too.”
Mobile Sanding Stations Minimizes Vehicle Movement for Body Shop Express

At Body Shop Express in San Diego, owner Patrick O’Neil said his Total Automotive Sanding System has been a tremendous asset for body prep and paint prep.
“The system has been helpful for what we are trying to accomplish as a shop,” O’Neil said.  “We do things differently than most shops.  We have one technician per car, so they work on the car from body prep and body work, to paint prep and primer. We keep the car in one place instead of moving the car to different departments. Having a sanding system that comes with a cart and moves helps us eliminate the need to move the cars, and that is critical to our process.  We also have two technicians sharing one cart and sanding system in their workspaces."
“The added benefit of cutting down on the dust is also important, not only for the benefit of our technicians,” he added.  “It cuts down on the overall dust in the shop.  We have a lot of specialty equipment in our shop and the sanding system helps keep everything cleaner.”
3M Automotive Aftermarket Division Keeps the World Moving
3M automotive products keep the world on the move, with innovative solutions for building, repairing and maintaining vehicles.  From the collision repair professional to the individual vehicle enthusiast, people around the world trust 3M products to protect, repair and keep their vehicles looking showroom new.  And our commitment to this industry extends beyond product performance to a careful stewardship of the world’s resources and environment. Serving the needs of our customers has made 3M a trusted leader in vehicle care and repair, and we are dedicated to earning that trust each and every day.
For more information, contact 1-877-MMM-CARS, contact your local 3M Distributor or 3M Sales Representative or visit the website at  Follow 3M AAD on Facebookat and on twitter@3M_Collision and Instagram@3MCollision.
About 3M

At 3M, we apply science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. With $32 billion in sales, our 91,000 employees connect with customers all around the world. Learn more about 3M’s creative solutions to the world’s problems at or on Twitter @3M or @3MNews.
3M, Cubitron II, Trizact and Perfect-It™ Paint Finishing System are trademarks of 3M Company.
About Festool
Festool develops superior quality electric and pneumatic tools for professionals as well as users with tough demands. Since the founding of the family business in 1925, the commitment to quality and innovation has earned over 350 patents and more than 90 awards. More than 90% of Festool customers remain loyal to the brand. To learn more about Festool visit

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