If at first the idea is not absurd, then there will be no hope for it – Albert Einstein
Aluminum, once a metal mainly associated with aerospace technology, has become the collision repair industry’s latest buzzword. Not just for high-end import vehicles anymore, aluminum is going mainstream.
“Why?” you might ask
Well, quite simply, Aluminum builds a better vehicle. Aluminum’s use in auto and commercial vehicles is accelerating at a major pace because it offers the fastest, safest, most environmentally friendly and cost-effective way to increase performance, boost fuel economy and reduce emissions while maintaining or improving safety and durability of the vehicle.
How Aluminum repair differs from steel repair
“So what?” you might say, “body work is body work.”
In the case of repairing aluminum vs. steel, this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are HUGE differences between working with these two metals, and Auto Body Repair shops that are not qualified to do specialised aluminum repairs can cause serious harm to the safety and value of your vehicle.
Repairing collision-damaged aluminum vehicles such as Range Rover, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Volvo, Volkswagen and Lexus requires highly specialised procedures, techniques and equipment than are necessary to fix traditional steel vehicles.
It is CRUCIAL that technicians receive expert aluminium training and that is exactly why Smartguy Brendon Venter recently travelled to Audi’s secondary headquarters in Neckarsulm, Germany to attend specialised Aluminium Training.
Neckarsulm is a city in northern Baden-Württemberg, Germany, near Stuttgart, and part of the district of Heilbronn. The city is home to one of Audi‘s two principal assembly plants in Germany (the other is located in Ingolstadt, Bavaria) – and manufactures the company’s larger, high end models such as the Audi A6, A7, and A8, the latter is made in the Audi Aluminium Plant.
As the biggest company in the prospering Heilbronn-Franken economic region, the Neckarsulm site of AUDI AG, approximately 11 million square feet, currently employs a whopping 16 703 people.
Absolutely amazed by the incredible Aluminium Training facilities, Smartguy Brendon had a fantastic time in Neckarsulm meeting fellow trainees from all over the world:
- There was Ben from London, UK who is a Volkswagen repair specialist but who prior to the training in Germany had never done Aluminium welding before!
- Redhead Rudi from South Africa, who works in an Auto Body repair shop in Port Elizabeth.
- Ben the German Translator who was always on hand.
- Jan the German Aluminium welding trainor, who did not speak a word of English (which explains why the before mentioned Ben had to be on hand… AT ALL TIMES) 😉
- And last but not least rounding out the training squad was Aussie Paul.
Training was a 2 week course consisting of highly advanced techniques taught in Aluminium welding as well as Aluminium Outer Skin and Structural Repairs.
Once the course was completed practical exams had to be passed, which Smartguy Brendon did in his stride. Well done Brendon, the SMART Team is super proud of you!
Smartguy Brendon’s TOP German Favourites:
Having spent 2 fantastic weeks in Germany, these were Brendon’s absolute favourite MUST see, MUST do and MUST experiences:
- The beautiful old church in Neckarsulm
- Cobblestone streets in Heilbronn district
- The Audi AG centre in Neckarsulm – absolutely mind-blowing!
- Watching a live UEFA Europa League soccer game Hoffenheim vs. Istanbul Basaksehir – amazing vibe
- The interesting parking habits of the Germans – case in point the Smartcar parking below 😉
- Drinking authentic Pilsner lager beer in the famous German 1 litre beer glasses.
- And of course eating Turkey Schnitzel with pommes (potato chips).
Why it’s VERY IMPORTANT to be an Aluminium Smartguy
With more and more vehicle manufacturers implementing the use of aluminium panels in their vehicles the need for proper aluminium expertise when it comes to repairs are extremely high and very scarce in South Africa.
At OFS Smart Repair we constantly invest in the training of our specialised aluminium repair team as the best equipment have no relevance if the staff does not have the necessary training and expertise.
We are honoured to have one of the most advanced and modern aluminium repair facilities in South Africa.
OFS Smart Repair proudly boasts special aluminium repair approval from:
Range Rover | Land Rover | Jaguar | Volvo | Volkswagen | Audi | Lexus
Be assured that your beautifully sculpted light weight aluminium vehicle will be repaired to perfect pin point precision at our state-of-the-art aluminium repair facility.
INTERESTING FACT: OFS Smart Repair is the ONLY Approved Aluminium Auto Body Repair Centre in the Free State, Northern Cape as well as the Eastern Cape, servicing all 3 provinces with specialized Aluminium repairs.
- Photos supplied by Smartguy Brendon Venter for Hello Smart Blog
- Neckarsulm Plant photo credit Audi.com
- Nekarsulm, Germany