New Bodyshop Investment

Almost £300,000 has been invested in state-of-the-art, high-efficiency, energy-saving bodywork repair technology by Bruntingthorpe Integrated Automotive Solutions (BIAS) which has recently won major new vehicle de-fleet business, including a five-year contract from BMW.  In addition to the investment in buildings and new equipment, more jobs have been created.

 Ian Strong, operations manager for technical services for BIAS, part of Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground and Aerodrome, said the investment would enable the company to accommodate increased through-put resulting from the latest contracts as well as future increases in business.  “At the same time the new equipment and technology will dramatically improve efficiency and make significant energy savings, something that all commerce should strive to achieve while constantly enhancing quality.”

 The de-fleet process involves returning vehicles that have been used under a manufacturer’s contract-hire agreement by fleet operators to an industry standard before they are sold in the market place.  Almost two years ago BIAS installed a new ‘eco-booth’ to create what is known as a smart repair shop (SM1) using robotic arch paint drying systems that focus on just the repaired area rather than heating a large paint booth.

 The latest investment has created a second smart repair shop (SM2) with a Symach robot drying system.  Like SM1, the new facility will dramatically increase the company’s capability while achieving top-quality results.  “When we installed SM1, we set a target of repairing 100 panels in a 40-hour week – 70 more than we’d typically achieved with the previous system,” explains Strong.  “SM2 is also capable of undertaking 100 individual panel repairs in a 40-hour week on cars and normal-height light commercial vehicles.  Both eco-booths are extremely energy-efficient, using 70% less gas as well as having a lower electricity requirement.”

 To create SM2, an existing building has been extended to facilitate a flow-line with the vehicle continuously moving forward to the next stage of the repair process.  Previously, vehicles were driven into, and reversed out of, the different operation areas.

 In a further development within the £300,000 investment, BIAS has taken over part of a former workshop to create an eight-bay repair facility served by two Symach Flydry robots that move from bay to bay on an overhead gantry.  Capable of working on areas ranging in size from a sheet of A4 paper to an entire roof panel, Flydry robots can move through 360o to accommodate all types of repairs, although BIAS normally removes bumpers to repair them.  Provision has been made in the newly-created facility to accommodate Sprinter-sized high-roof LCVs.  It can also be used to prime sides of vehicles and up to nine bumpers on specially-designed stands.

 Booths in BIAS’s main workshop are being fitted with the latest Robotica ‘arches’, explains Strong: “The arch heats just the freshly painted areas – rather than the booth chamber heating the whole vehicle.  As a result, it now takes only nine minutes to complete the drying cycle.  The changes mean that we can now achieve a through-put of 200 vehicles in a 40-hour week in this facility.

 “The investment has brought us many benefits.  We have increased our capacity and increased efficiency as a result of the smooth flow of vehicles from the moment they enter the repair shop right through the final polish and quality-control inspection.  From an environmental and ecological perspective, we have reduced our energy consumption.  And, not least, the creation of much-needed new jobs is clearly a welcome indicator of a business that is growing in an improving economy.”