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Top 2015 body shop resolutions include improving profitability, productivity, training

Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 09:00
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Many New Year’s resolutions involve your health, like getting in shape, eating healthier or reducing the stress in your life.  But are you making New Year’s resolutions that improve the health of your body SHOP?

Changes in the tools, solutions and systems that you are using in your body shop can have a significant impact on your shop’s performance in the year ahead – from productivity to margin improvement, KPI performance and the ability to repair the advanced materials found on today’s new vehicles.

Here are the top five resolutions you might want to consider as you plan for 2015, courtesy of 3M Automotive Aftermarket, which works with thousands of body shops across the country to help improve performance and profitability.

Resolution #1 – Make more money in the paint booth!
The paint booth is frequently the leading culprit when it comes to waste in the body shop.  From solvent waste, paint waste and wasted time for cleaning and maintenance, it adds up quickly.  But one simple change in the paint booth can contribute nearly $25,000 to the bottom line annually.  The family of 3M™ Accuspray™ System HVLP spray guns with replaceable atomizing heads and 3M™ PPS™ technology delivers premium performance at a fraction of the cost and effort, with improved productivity, reduced solvent use and minimized clean-up time. The system can provide excellent atomization, resulting in high transfer efficiency and a large, usable spray pattern with low overspray. 

The 3M PPS technology with disposable lids, cups and liners deliver solvent reductions of up to 70 percent, which at $400 per 55 gallon barrel per week, translates to $14,560 in savings annually.  And, by using the system to mix and filter internally, it reduces paint waste by one ounce per mix, adding thousands more to the bottom line.  The system offers full diameter filters for improved fluid flow and, with five sizes to choose from, the right size cup for every application.

The 3M Accuspray spray guns, including HG18 for primer and HG14 for sealer and paint applications, provides painters premium performance on demand and reduces cleaning and maintenance needs. 

Resolution #2 – Finally….A Solution for Texture Matching
For automotive professionals, matching textures on rocker panels has always been a challenge.  And the current technology for applying these textured coatings and undercoatings means painters not only struggle with coating thickness and overspray, but also product waste and cleanup. 

The 3M Body Protection System is reinventing how repair technicians spray textured finishes found on today’s vehicles for rock protection and sound deadening.  It leverages the 3M Accuspray spray gun to give painters the accuracy and control to match OEM textured finishes with fine, medium, coarse or splattered patterns.

The 3M Body Protection System gives automotive professionals a powerful tool for productivity, including:

  • Ability to adjust pressures and spray pattern, allowing for a better match to OEM textures.
  • Ability to cut in half the application time of textured finishes to rocker panels, wheel wells and undercarriages in many cases.
  • The pressurized version of the 3M Accuspray spray gun allows the product to be sprayed at any angle, making it easier to reach lower rocker sections and inside wheel wheels.
  • The painter can easily adjust the spray pattern to reduce overspray and masking.
  • Painters can easily achieve a perfect texture match, enabling improved repair quality and higher CSI scores.

Resolution #3 – Make tough jobs more efficient with the right tools.
The right tools from 3M can make tough jobs faster and more efficient.  Designed for ergonomic comfort, durability and performance, 3M has the right tool for the job from start to finish, including the:

  • 3M™ File Belt tool is designed for heavy metalworking in tight areas and is ideal for aluminum repair. 
  • 3M™ Random Orbital Sander with self-generated vacuum is designed for cleaner workspaces at a lower investment.
  • 3M™ Cut-Off Wheel tool for panel cutting and sectioning.
  • 3M™ Disc Sander for weld grinding and paint removal.

The right tool needs the right abrasive, and for the best performance that means the 3M™ Cubitron™ II line of abrasive products for heavy metalworking. These cutting and grinding products deliver outstanding performance, speed, consistency and disc life for automotive body technicians.  Compared to traditional abrasives, the 3M Cubitron II products cut through paint, welds and metals twice as fast, with double the life span.  The offering includes:

  • 3M™ Cubitron™ II Fibre Roloc™ Discs designed for weld grinding and paint removal
  • 3M™ Cubitron™ II Abrasive Fibre Discs for door skin removal, paint stripping and weld grinding
  • 3M™ Cubitron™ II Cut-Off Wheel for panel cutting and sectioning jobs
  • 3M™ Cubitron™ II File Belt for spot weld removal and MIG weld finishing
  • 3M™ Cubitron™ II Clean Sanding Hookit™ Discs designed for faster cutting for paint removal, the early sanding stage in small or large area body repairs, body filler rough shaping and feather edging

Resolution #4 – Cut the leading reason for comebacks – swirl marks in paint finishes.

When it comes to paint refinishing, compounding is the most debated step in the process. For paint professionals, 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division offers two excellent systems – one with a compounding step and one without.  Are you using the right process for your paint finishing jobs to deliver the best finish and eliminate swirl marks?  It all depends on the size of the job.

For small to medium-sized areas like a door panel or fender, 3M recommends using the 3M™ Trizact™ 5000 and 3M™ Perfect-It™ 1 solution.  This allows the paint professional to spend more time sanding with a DA and less time buffing with a heavy buffer.  This system doesn’t have a compounding step, so it eliminates the time and cleanup for compounding and allows the painter to complete the job more quickly.

But for large areas or dark-colored vehicles, 3M recommends its 3M Perfect-It Large Area Paint Finishing System and a traditional refinishing method. Technicians can achieve a perfect finish with the 3M Perfect-It large area paint finishing system featuring the 3M Perfect-It EX rubbing compound, which provides faster cutting, longer working time with less sling, ease of handling and easy clean-up.

3M offers standard operating procedures for both processes online at

Resolution #5 – Get Ready to Repair Advanced Materials.
Preparing for aluminum and advanced materials is a big challenge. 3M has been working with OEMs for several years to validate the tools, products and processes for aluminum repair.  Now, shops can implement 3M’s proven portfolio of products, tools, SOPS and materials to expertly repair aluminum-body vehicles.

Key to aluminum repair is a dedicated clean room with separate tools for welding, bonding, riveting, sanding, grinding and structural procedures on aluminum components.  Separate safety equipment is also important, as technicians will need dedicated respirators, eye protection and gloves for aluminum repairs. 

3M makes many products that can be used on both aluminum and steel. Premium 3M AAD body fillers and glazes contain high-quality adhesion promoters and are approved for use on aluminum.  For sanding, 3M AAD recommends its line of 3M Cubitron II abrasives that cut faster, run cooler and minimize substrate damage. In addition, 3M Panel Bonding Adhesive is compatible, OEM-approved for aluminum and is specifically recommended by Ford for the repairs to the 2015 Aluminum F-150.

3M Automotive Aftermarket Division now offers Standard Operating Procedures for aluminum repair. Visit for more information.

To make these innovative solutions part of your shop’s process in 2015, contact your local 3M representative or distributor.  For more information on these solutions, visit and follow us at

About 3M
3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $31 billion in sales, 3M employs 89,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit or follow @3MNews on Twitter.

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