By Tim Sramcik
Earlier this year, a decision was made to overhaul the once popular Live Action Demo Theatre at NACE 2006, making sure the program truly revolved around training and technology. The solution: turn a program aimed at training over to the training experts, I-CAR. Enter the 2006 I-CAR Technology Showcase.
For I-CAR, step one in revamping the program meant providing it with a new focus, one based on the organization's experience with the latest trends and technologies. Tyler Johnson, an assistant show manager for NACE 2006, explains, "In previous years the subject matter was all over the place, everything from glass installation to panel bonding. Exhibitors typically were asked for suggestions, and a panel decided what would be shown. This year we asked I-CAR to pick the subject matter."
Special emphasis has been placed on finding "hot" topics that will renew interest from NACE attendees. For these, I-CAR turned to its trainers and tech writers. "Our writers are particularly aware of what kind of training people in the industry want. They field questions from the industry regularly," says Brandon Eckenrode, a Senior Marketing Communications Specialist for I-CAR.
Beginning today, the Technology Showcase will feature the following six one-hour sessions:
New Construction Materials and Designs. How are current and future OEM automotive construction methods and materials affecting collision repair? Attendees will broach this issue and learn about the changing nature of production joining methods. Attendees also will learn how manufacturing engineers determine which vehicles areas are best suited for new, high and ultra-high strength steels. Program will place additional focus on repair issues, for example straightening versus replacing, created by new technologies.
Advanced Joining Technologies. Become familiar with the latest squeeze-type resistance spot welding (STRSW) technology, along with weld bonding techniques. Program will include an overview of laser welding applications along with the factors affecting MIG brazing applications. Also discussed: updates on rivets and rivet bonding procedures and adhesive bonding.
Advanced Aluminum Structural Repair. Learn how to identify aluminum structures and aluminum vehicle designs. Program will discuss aluminum forming processes, alloys, and the joining techniques used in vehicle construction. Recommended repair process will be included.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Overview. Program will look at types of alternative fuel vehicles with an overview of hybrid propulsion systems. Attendees will learn how to disable high voltage systems, with a special focus on life-saving procedures used to protect technicians. Other topics include repair procedures, equipment and tools.
Advanced Vehicle System Repairs. Program will cover advanced lighting systems and the application and repair of fiber optics. Other topics include the recalibration of various types of occupant classification systems, along with repair considerations for each. Attendees will explore the operation and repair of adaptive cruise control systems. Additionally, this program will cover the types of back-up and park assist systems and their operation. Also included is an introductory discussion of lane departure systems
Full-Frame Repair and Partial Replacement. Attendees will learn about frame materials, construction and the factors that determine whether a frame should be repaired or replaced. Discussions will cover the parts and procedures needed for a partial frame replacement, along with the latest equipment and tools necessary for full-frame repairs. Program will describe the recommended straightening and welding techniques for full frame repairs.
Eckenrode notes that although the showcase programs will feature more of a traditional classroom approach in place of hands-on interaction, that shouldn't dampen enthusiasm. "Our instructors will keep it interesting. Also, we're loading up a tractor-trailer with props and display materials," he says.
Props and displays include a Jaguar XK body color-coated to point out aluminum stampings and other features, a Volvo XG 90 color-coated to show steels such as boron-alloyed steel, fiber optic cables, a partial frame from a Ford F 150, 2006 Corvette rail props and carbon fiber fenders.
"You'll be able to actually walk up and touch the displays," says I-CAR Technical Development Manager Jason Bartanen, "You can show all the pictures you want. The displays are far more effective."
Making the sessions even more attractive, they're available free of charge to all NACE (although space is limited). No pre-registration is required. Eckenrode hopes the sessions will be popular enough to warrant consideration for space next year at NACE. "It's been a real please working with NACE," he says, "I think we all agree this is a good thing and will benefit everyone involved."
Three showcase programs will be held each day of the Exposition. Both the Advanced Aluminum Structural Repair and Advanced Joining Technologies will be repeated on Saturday, Nov. 4 to help accommodate interested NACE attendees. Both classes are new offerings from I-CAR.