Read Me Before You Buy Expensive Re-Calibration Equipment

Hello again,

The days of using whatever is on hand to get the job done are gone in the modern era of auto glass replacement. With current vehicle safety chages and added ADAS features, installing a glass part correctly the first time is more critical than it’s ever been.

Over the last 20 plus years, we’ve all walked the razor’s edge when it comes to chemical applications and cure/flash times. Large or small, corporate or independent, owners, technicians, CSR’s, managers, insurance providers, and customers … none are immune. When’s the last time you checked your shop and mobile installation vehicle(s) for expiration dates and the documented opened dates on your installation products? Hopefully, the answer is “often,” but the reality is, many shops can’t honestly say this.

In the last few years I’ve seen glass shops that have paid a handsome price for the latest and greatest calibration equipment while simultaneously using expired installation chemicals, or ignoring flash and cure times for their adhesive systems. This common mistake happens on a regular basis.

If the goal for ADAS calibration is to return a safe vehicle to the customer, safety must start with proper bonding, and proper bonding starts with using adhesive components properly and safely.

Here’s what to look for:

Regardless of what installation products and chemicals you use, you should put a clearly visible expiration date on them. A good rule to follow is: It’s the requirement of the individual who opens the product to clearly mark the date it was opened. That gives a manager or owner something easy to look for when checking.

Please note: Each adhesive manufacturer has different time frames for the opened life of each product. If you’re not sure what the opened life of your products are, reach-out to your designated company representative.

NEVER guess what it is.

Using expired products can cause costly and dangerous issues with even the most perfect of installations. Owners, technicians, CSR’s, managers, insurance providers, and customers did you know each product auto glass professionals use on every vehicle they work has a cure/flash time?

Take the challenge:

Ask the technician working on a vehicle what the cure/flash time is for each of the products they use. I think you might be shocked by the answers. After you receive your answer ask to see the expiration date and opened life of the products they are using.

Please note: Each adhesive manufacturer has different time frames for each product. If you’re not sure for your products, reach-out to your designated company representative.

Did you also know each product has different application procedures for each bonding surface? Do you know them?

Does your team know what procedure to follow for each vehicle or replacement part they’re installing? Hint: they aren’t all the same.

Did you know mixing different adhesive brands can have costly and dangerous results?

Safe replacements require complete product knowledge now more than ever. Our customer’s safety is literally in our hands. Protect your business and more importantly protect your customer’s safety. For as long as I can remember, technicians have joked about cure/flash times and proper application of products …. today’s technicians can’t afford to make those mistakes.

So, before you purchase expensive re-calibration equipment take a walk through the shop and check those installation products.

We will dive deeper into all things calibration in future blogs – but remember:
All of the small stuff matters!

Jacques

2 thoughts on “Read Me Before You Buy Expensive Re-Calibration Equipment

  1. Jacques,

    Thank you for the absolute vagary of your blog. First of all “chemical application?” Can we please stick with the industry standard nomenclature of “adhesive system”? Installers are under no obligation to understand the chemical makeup of the adhesive systems they use any more than painters need to understand the chemical composition of paint. Yes, understand the products you are using, yes understand, and train, for the adhesives you choose including cure time of the specific urethane you are using and how long to wait after you apply the primer, flash time. Instead of taking your challenge I would place some responsibility on owners and managers to make 1-2 products available across their installer base. I prefer it be only 1. Maybe Sika Mach 30 or Dow Express 30. Both are high modules and non conductive. The primers/activator are easy to understand and your clients will thank you for the sooner release times. Both companies also have an OEM pedigree and you be able to use them in a body shop, on a windshield, or even in a rubber gasket should you choose. I know, I know, its expensive! Well we should also address that in a blog post.

    I read your article to help with the idea of buying expensive re calibration equipment not to be told how to look at expiration dates. Please for future use make your title relevant to the article, give us specific information for our businesses, and make your content helpful.

    I look forward to your future posts

    Tom

    1. Tom,

      I appreciate your feedback. Regardless of nomenclature, the simple fact is, many of the businesses in our industry fail to properly understand the elements necessary to ensure a safe installation. At its root, every adhesive system is based on a “chemical” process to perform. The point to this blog is that prior to engaging in a new business (calibration), with new equipment, and dramatic safety risks, it is a good idea to make sure the underlying processes and controls are correct. The assumption will usually be ‘yes’, but the truth is often different. The title of the blog was 100% designed to support the point. If it was titled “check your expiration dates”, people who thought they didn’t need to would likely cruise on by… some of them would be right, others wrong.

      Here is one example of a recent post in the Glassbytes Forum that illustrates the point: “I’ve always used the primerless but got a few free tubes of conventional since they are nearly expired. How important is it to use primer with the conventional? The primer I have is a different brand from the urethane and you’re not supposed to mix them according to the lit. How much is that truth and how much is that the manufacturer wanting to sell more product?”. While there is certainly a wider understanding regarding adhesive systems than ever, there are still subtle (and sometimes gaping) holes in our understanding.

      The information in this entry may not have helped your business – but it very well could prompt someone elses business to make a change that could end up saving someones life. Good luck and thanks for the feedback.

      Jacques

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