Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

The safe recalibration of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) was the hot topic of a webinar this week.

AW Repair Group’s Founder and CEO Andrew Walsh was delighted to be on the interview panel to share the company experiences.

With the company’s prestige manufacturer approved site in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, AW Repair Group has experienced a high level of assistance systems which are becoming more complex.

During the webinar, hosted by Thatcham Research Centre and titled ADAS – Challenge or Opportunity, Andrew joined chief technical advisors and was able to give an ‘on the ground’ point of view for recalibrating and recoding ADAS following an accident.

“Training and awareness is key,” said Andrew. “Some of the complex systems are not easily or obviously identifiable. A trained technician who has taken the vehicle apart and knows exactly what has been disturbed is absolutely the best placed person to know which recalibrations will be required.”

With customers purchasing their vehicles often due to driving aids such as lane assist, accident avoidance warning and autonomous braking it is essential that radars and camera sensors are recalibrated or recoded correctly to ensure the vehicle is returned to its pre-accident condition and in full working order to protect the integrity of the vehicle.

“Some bodyshops may choose to outsource recalibration to the dealer or mobile solutions but we feel it is our Social and Corporate Responsibility to ensure we have the technical skill and knowledge in house to deal with this ever-growing area of the modern vehicle,” said Andrew. “Our investment in equipment and training throughout the group is significant and we have seen real tangible benefits including efficiencies in production planning and accurate completion dates and not having to rely on the time frames of third parties.”

If you have Microsoft Teams, you can view the full debate at:
Repair and ADAS: challenge or opportunity?

 

AW Achieve Tesla Structural Approval

AW Repair Group are delighted to announce they have achieved the Structural Tesla Bodyshop Approval.

As a Structural Tesla Approved Bodyshop (TAB) AW have invested in specific Tesla tooling, clinical separate repair environments and training at Tesla’s training facility in The Netherlands.

It is paramount that Tesla vehicles are repaired at a TAB to ensure they are repaired correctly protecting the integrity of the vehicle.

Tesla’s own website reads: ‘Body repairs are not only about fixing a damaged aesthetic – they are also important to ensure the functionality, safety and longevity of your Tesla.
We’ve partnered with the world’s best body shops to form the ever-growing Tesla-Approved Bodyshop Network. We demand the highest standards from our Tesla-Approved Bodyshop Network’.

Steve Hoe, AW’s Technical Development & VM Manager commented, “It’s a great achievement for AW Group to hold the Tesla Approval. Electric vehicles are on the rise all over the world and we are prepared for future vehicle repairs.”

Andrew Walsh, AW’s Founder & CEO added, “Gaining this approval shows our commitment to repairing Electric vehicles and shows our investment for the future. Our ultimate aim is to be able to service all our customers requirements and being Tesla approved takes us to that goal.”

AW are proud to be a Tesla Approved Bodyshop, details can be found here:
https://www.tesla.com/en_GB/support/body-shop-support

Ford Edsel Repair

Ian Pearson has been reminiscing about this 1959 Ford Edsel which he and our Denaby team renovated at our back in 2014. Ian tells us how they were given a fully stripped bodyshell and tasked with bringing the bodywork of this vehicle back to its former glory.

This vehicle was released in 1957 and was named “Edsel” in honour of Henry Ford’s late son.

It was only produced for 2 years and was a massive flop for Ford which cost them $250 million. There were only 44,000 made and the few that remain are now very rare.

 

With the Edsel being such a rare vehicle parts were very hard to get hold of so the corrosion to the lower part of the near side front wing needed to be repaired The method for this repair would be to cut out the rusted area, make a new section and lead over. This type of repair using lead was only a myth to the new generation panel technicians due to the changing repair techniques and methods for modern motor vehicles.

However, when Ian was on the shop floor, he remembers this repair being a common method of repair. It had been over 15 years since Ian had picked up any of his tools but he set about challenging himself to repair this panel and pass on some of the skills he had gained during his time repairing cars to this new generation.

The first thing Ian needed to do was to clean the area to be repaired so he could see the full extent of the corrosion, it was important to make sure the repair was taken back to clean metal.

It was clear to see it had been repaired before, this section had already been replaced and brazed in, it all needed to be removed. Before Ian removed this part of the wing he needed to make a replacement section, he began with a cardboard template to get the right shape which he then cut out from a sheet of mild steel.

Because they didn’t have access to any of the old rollers and swaging machines, they had to make this in two sections, all Ian had to shape the metal was his hammers, dollies and a vice. He measured and cut the lower section and shaped this up, he could then tack the two pieces together and check the fit.

 

 

Once he’d welded the two pieces together and finished shaping, it was now ready for a final check and make the cut line. You can see in the below image the corroded section removed and the new section clamped in to place.

The section was then welded in place and ground down. It was now ready to lead the area for a metal finish repair.

 

The next stage is where the skill came in, the panel needed to be “tinned”. For this Ian needed to ensure the lead stuck to the panel, the paste needed to be applied with a brush, but before tinning, the area had to be clean and grease free, this part was really important, if not done correctly the lead would not adhere to the metal.

Once the paste had been applied it needed heating up using the oxyacetylene welding plant. As it heated up it became shiny, once heated all over any excess needed to be wiped off with a damp cloth.

Next was to apply the lead, this was done by melting a lead stick with the plant and pushing the semi-molten lead onto the panel with the back of the welding torch, once enough lead had been roughly applied it could be heated up and moved around the panel. Ian used his paddles to do this which were made from hardwood and were different shapes to enable him to move the lead around the panel. He made his own paddles and still has them today and used Tallow (Whale fat) on the paddles so the lead didn’t stick to them.

 

Next, Ian used a body file to shape the lead into a metal finish. You can see the finished repair ready for the paint-shop to be stoppered, primed and painted, and with the wing fully painted it was ready to be refitted to the vehicle.

A modern repair would have been completed using minimal body filler, however Ian wanted to maintain the traditional method of repair and pass this knowledge on to the younger generation of technicians at our Denaby site who repaired the rest of the vehicle.

 

Here are just a few images of this excellent and historic car finished. Both inside and out was fully renovated and assembled. The car now has a new lease of life and is regularly used as a wedding car.

VE Memorial

To Celebrate VE Day and remember some incredible people, join us to read in full the amazing stories from some of AW staff’s relatives and friends.

Diary

The following diary entries were written by the relative of a Lincolnshire AW employee. While they do not wish to disclose his identity this brave Soldier, was stationed near Naples, Italy and kept the diary against the advice of his superiors. The diaries are unique and we are proud to share this verbatim record of what the soldier wrote in his diary every day in the last few days before VE Day.

1945

Sat 21 April he wrote: War has been on exactly 2057 days today

Mon 30 AprNews is very good and should have good result in the near future.

Tue 1 MayNews still good and everyone very excited.

Wed 2 MayNews today that this Italian front has finished and great news from Germany.

Thu 3 MayIn cookhouse carrying away empty tins. Officers say war has ended but not officially announced.

Fri 4 MayStill waiting for the BBC to announce the end of the war which should be today.

RAF Officers inspecting the camp.

Sat 5 MayStill waiting for the wireless to broadcast end of war.

Sun 6 MayNews not come through yet but plenty of rumours.

Mon 7 MayHeard the 3 o’clock news and the Germans have accepted unconditional surrendour.

Tue 8 May:  War ended today after so many rumours Churchill and King speak tonight.

Mon 9 MaySport and football match. Got drunk with Bert and Henry. Day off.

 

Gerry Perry

Hazel from our accounts department remembers her late Grandfather, Gerry Perry who was in the parachute regiment during World War Two, his mission was Arnhem, he left Barkston Heath (local to our Lincolnshire HQ) in September 1944 and after landing in Arnhem they reached the bridge but came under heavy fire, so they took shelter in a house that was facing the bridge, they took turns at keeping watch, it was Gerry’s turn when the Germans came and opened up with mortars, part of the building collapsed and had trapped some of his friends upstairs, Gerry went out in the street to get help but was shot in the leg & thigh. He managed to crawl back into the building and found a cellar door which he never realised was there and found some infantry soldiers hiding out in there. When he heard a lull in the shooting he decided he was going to go back out and try and find his Regiment as he heard his colonel was further up the street. He finally made it to them but because they were all injured they had no choice but to surrender, they were taken by the Germans to Belsen P.O.W hospital. Hazel remembers that Gerry said at the time they never knew the atrocities that was going on at the other end of the camp, but even where they were there was hardly any food, no toilets just a shed that was high in excrement and cockroaches, and all their heads were covered in Lice. He was a prisoner there for seven months, and weighed only seven stone and seven pounds when he returned home. After returning home four weeks later he married Hazel’s (now) grandma Peggy and went on to have 14 children!

 

Rosina Ainetter

AW Repair Group director Emma Walsh is searching for information regarding her paternal step-grandmother. “Rosina married my grandfather in the 1950s. She was Austrian, I think from Kleblach in the state of Carinthia. Although my grandfather never allowed her to speak of her experiences we believe she worked for the British and fled Austria in a hurry. She only ever spoke of carrying a capsule of cyanide in case she was ‘caught’. She had severe arthritis in her latter years and often said she wished she still had it as the pain was so bad.”

Emma found these photographs among the possessions of her step-grandmother, Rosina Ainetter, when she passed away. Rosina is believed to have fled her Austrian birthplace while working for the British. The gravestone is believed to be Rosina’s siblings Michael, Josef, Adelheid and Mathilde in Austria, the house in the mountains is possibly her childhood home in Kleblach and Rosina is the middle child in this photograph with her parents either side. Emma would love to make contact with any surviving relatives of Rosina’s Austrian family.

 

Joseph Patrick Walsh 1894-1941

On this special VE Day AW would like to remember Joseph Patrick Walsh (our founders paternal grandfather). Joseph joined the Royal Artillary in 1912 and became a Battery Sergeant Major within bomb disposal. From 1919-23 he was posted to India and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and twice mentioned in dispatches.

Following the outbreak of WW2 Joseph re-enlisted in the Army in his rank of Sgt Major and was seconded to the Royal Engineers in bomb disposal. Sgt Major Joseph Patrick Walsh was killed while diffusing a bomb in August 1941 at the South Metropolitan Gasworks in London. There is no known photograph of him.

 

Wells Brothers

In 1945 the local newspaper published an article about a family in Billinghay, Lincolnshire: Mr and Mrs George Wells, who had 4 sons and 2 sons-in-law away at war who all, miraculously, returned home safe and well.

Joseph Wells, Jack Wells and Alec Wells and Jack Spencer in the Army, Richard Wells Royal Navy and Charles H Green, AW Repair Group’s founder’s maternal grandfather, in the Army.

 

Watch AW’s ninth site come alive

The super-quick transformation from oil-covered shell to high tech bodyshop has been captured in a time lapse video released by AW Repair Group.

Little more than 90 seconds shows how in nine weeks the 9,000sq ft former engineering workshop turned into AW’s ninth site at Sherburn, near Leeds.

Committing to the company’s environmental & sustainability policy, the site boasts motion sensor LED lighting throughout the workshop and open plan corporate blue, orange and glass reception and offices.

The group’s preferred design of skate and rail vehicle transfer system with Junair 10m drive through booth with QADs, LED and fuel saver mode can also be seen rising from the ground in the time-lapse.

 

AW Group listed in Top 200 Fastest Growing Business in East Midlands

Following success as a finalist at The National Growing Business Awards last week, AW Repair Group has claimed a spot in a newly released report listing the East Midlands Top 200 fastest growing businesses.

The report, compiled by financial and business advisors Grant Thornton, highlights the region’s businesses which have the strongest profit growth over the three year period 2015-2018.

And North Kesteven District in Lincolnshire, home to AW Repair Group’s founding site, headquarters and prestige repair centre, is one of 20 national districts to top the Health, Well-Being and Happiness Indicator scale. The indicator concludes that people living and working in these vibrant districts are “leading fulfilling lives which provide individual prospects.”

AW Repair Group’s Founder and CEO Andrew Walsh said he was delighted the company’s growth has been recognised.

“The report covers businesses in Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire and we are proud to have six of our sites in three of these counties,” said Andrew. “And we have of course since opened our ninth site near Leeds.

“It is always a real pleasure to be acknowledged in Top Lists compiled using only real analysed financial figures independently researched and compiled without us even knowing.”

To make it onto the list this year, the 7th annual report by Grant Thornton, businesses have achieved in excess of 11% adjusted profit growth per year for three years. Ninety-one of this year’s Top 200 are new entrants with AW Repair Group at number 67.

Mark Pashley of Grant Thornton commented: “Our region continues to exhibit a vibrant mix of successful and dynamic businesses promoting the East Midlands as a fantastic place to work, live and do business.”

Last week AW attended a ceremony at the Tower of London celebrating the outstanding companies and entrepreneurs with the company highlighted for demonstrating it has challenged conventional thinking in their market or industry and seen positive commercial results.

Click here to read the full listing: https://www.grantthornton.co.uk/office-locations/leicester/east-midlands-200/

AW Strengthen Leadership Team

AW Repair Group has announced a change to its leadership structure following the opening of its ninth site last week.

Former managing director Andrew Walsh now takes the title of Founder and CEO with newly titled Group Operations Director James Dunn welcoming on-board to the operations team Steve Hoe as Technical Development and VM Manager. Steve has worked for the group for 19 years, his current post being general manager of the group HQ and prestige manufacturer site in Sleaford for 12 years.

Andrew explained: “As we continue to grow it is so important to have the right support network in place for our teams across all areas of the business. All members of the Group Operations Team are long-standing employees of the company with years of experience, knowledge and commitment to the AW ethos. Together we discuss and implement new processes, practices and ideas with input from every area to ensure a successful and enthusiastic rollout. And of course this includes all the technical, IT and legal infrastructure that may underpin any changes.”

Established in the Group Ops Team is Finance and Legal Director Emma Walsh, Customer Relations & Aftercare Manager Lorren Bristow, Compliancy & Training Manager Ian Pearson, Partnership & Communications Manager Jade Johnson, Group Financial Controller Kantha Arumugam and HR Administrator Kim Jackson.

The nine strong team have together clocked up 135 years service with AW Repair Group.

AW release Moonwalk film ahead of ABP Convention

Having trialled a revolutionary paint mixing system for the past six weeks, AW Repair Group will be in the spotlight at tomorrow’s annual Auto Body Professionals Convention (Tuesday) and has launched a short film showcasing the product.

PPG’s MOONWALK™ automated mixing scheme can accurately mix vehicle paint shades in quantities as small as the cap on a fizzy drink bottle and has been changing the way AW Repair Group’s Nottingham site streamlines this essential part of the repair process.

At the ABP convention AW Group Founder and CEO Andrew Walsh will be on stage with PPG’s National Sales Manager for UK and Ireland Refinish Mark Clarke to be quizzed about MOONWALK™ and the many benefits already being seen during the first few weeks of the trial.

AW expand into North Yorkshire with site nine

It tookonly nine weeks to transform an oil-covered engineering workshop into AW Repair Group’s dazzling ninth site.

And it seems nine is the lucky number as the 9,000 square feet site at Sherburn-In-Elmet officially opened yesterday (Monday) and epitomises the group’s labour saving and technology advances successfully trialled and implemented throughout the group during the past two years.

The site, centrally located with a 30 minute drive time to Leeds, York and Wakefield, boasts in-house ADAS and Electric Vehicle capability and takes AW’s annualised turnover to £19.3M.

Following the success at our other sites, Sherburn also follows the group’s preferred design of skate and rail transfer system with Junair 10m drive through booth with QADs and LED lighting.

“This has proven to free up space and repair more vehicles with less people,” said AW Repair Group’s Founder and CEO Andrew Walsh. “We’ve made some real tangible changes in our processes over the past two years and the Sherburn site includes all of these.

“Our sites work as an integrated team with a five day key to key target. We have always had a tight-knit team. However, there is a new feel of change and togetherness in AW which is essential as we move into a new generation of crash repair technology.”

“This is also the first site to include from the outset an Electric Vehicle Safety Kit and Tool Board,” continued Andrew. “The mobile kit includes safety hook, specific tooling and EV signage and all the staff here will be EV trained. As with our other sites all technicians also have a tablet for accessing methods and job cards, in-progress photographs and quick additional damage evidence and notification to our VDA team.”

The site will be led by General Manager, Steve Oxley who has 20 years’ experience in the industry and has been working with AW for the past 6 months. Steve & Group Operations Manager, James Dunn have hand-picked the team at Sherburn who have been integrated into AW’s procedures and processes over the past month prior to opening yesterday.

Committing to the company’s environmental sustainability policy the Sherburn site also boasts motion sensor LED lighting through the workshop and open plan corporate blue, orange and glass reception and offices.

Plastic welding and cold repair systems affirm the group’s repair over replace philosophy and other equipment includes PowerTec Miracle Pull, PPG low energy compact system, integral Minden Dust Extraction, three mid-rise lifts, eco-friendly radiant heating, Car-O-Liner and Car-O-Tronic Measuring System.

The Sherburn site, which is 25 miles from AW’s next nearest site at Denaby Main, near Doncaster, has created 14 jobs and new apprenticeship opportunities will be available shortly as the Training and Apprenticeship Academy opens for new intakes in the first quarter of 2020.

Added Andrew: “I’d like to thank our usual team of contractors who have done a wonderful job bringing this project to fruition. The building is in a great location with a secure compound but it really was in a poor condition. To think it has been turned into this high tech bodyshop with the usual AW quality, standards and corporate identity in nine weeks is just remarkable.”

 

Before & After:

AW turn Green to Gold

NBRA held their first Greener Bodyshop Awards on 31st October, where AW Repair Group scooped The Gold Award for a Greener Bodyshop.

AW strive for environmental sustainability across all nine sites. Their main aim is to reduce their overall carbon footprint by using eco-friendly products and processes across all aspects of Vehicle Body Repair, both in the bodyshop and offices.

AW’s commitment to environmental sustainability was pioneered this summer by providing 500 branded water bottles free to both staff and customers throughout the month of August, the campaign aimed to promote the reduction of plastic waste.

Adopting more than ten green processes across the group, all sites have energy saving motion sensor LED-lighting, fitted by IDES, compacting cardboard waste, Skate and Rail Vehicle Transfer systems, Variable Speed Compressors and Fuel Saver mode Junair spraybooths, all make for a more eco-friendly environmental footprint.

The NBRA Greener Bodyshop Awards are a great initiative to support for the future, which AW are proud to be part of.

Congratulations to all other winners on the evening, from the Bronze Awards, Silver Awards, Gold Awards & Platinum Award.