TRAINING WITH A TECHNOLOGICAL EDGE

Fix Auto’s training centre uses top-notch equipment for collision repair,
auto service and glass repair

By Cindy MacDonald

Fix Automotive Network (FAN) is set to open its first training centre. Located at the company’s Ontario regional office in Milton, the new training facility includes 575 square metres of shop space and a separate 18-seat classroom.

The new centre will feature some of the most advanced collision repair equipment available, but the facility goes beyond collision repair. In addition to the collision repair business, FAN includes Speedy Auto Service and NOVUS Glass. The newly constructed training centre will provide up-to-date education to serve all three brands. FAN’s franchise strategic partners can send their technicians to the training centre to update their skills and knowledge. Plus, this training centre is great for apprentices needing to hone their skills in a fully functioning collision, mechanical and auto glass shop environment.

“The opening of this new training facility demonstrates the confidence FAN has in our continued growth in Ontario and our commitment to supporting our franchise strategic partners,” says Daryll O’Keefe, regional vice-president, FAN Ontario and Manitoba. “People throw around ‘ state-of-the-art’ a lot, but in this case there’s really no other way to put it. The equipment students will be using in the new training centre is simply the best available.”

The equipment is worth a look. It includes a fully equipped downdraft Global Finishing Solutions spray booth, complete with a REVO Infrared Accelerated Curing System. A prep area is located next to the booth and can function as a complete downdraft paint booth with its own REVO drying system. Compressed air centres by Kaeser take care of the compressed air needs. All of the spray guns used in the booth are top- ofthe -line models, and provided by SATA Canada. A side-loading rail system feeds vehicles into the prep area and the paint booth from the adjacent body stall. The body stall is located next to a complete aluminum repair room. The aluminum repair room is equipped with Car-O-Liner frame equipment, Car-O-Liner welding system and Car-O-Liner measuring system.

“That stall also does double duty as a diagnostics area and wheel alignment rack using Hunter Engineering’s HawkEye Elite wheel alignment system,” says O’Keefe. “It’s very important to us to be able to offer training for

all of our strategic partners across our brands. To do that, we’re essentially packing three shops (collision, mechanical and auto glass) into one. It’s a testament to our equipment partners and our design team’s skills that they were able to fit everything in.”

The main purpose of FAN’s new training centre is just that: training. However, it will also serve as something of a showcase for new and innovative equipment. The new facility will include the Quick Check Drive, Quick Tread Edge and Revolution systems from Hunter Engineering. These systems offer unprecedented speed and accuracy. The Quick Check Drive alignment inspection system can scan a vehicle every three to five seconds. Quick Tread Edge seems to have been designed with a similar philosophy in mind. This drive-over system from Hunter automatically measures the tread depth of each tire from edge to edge in seconds. Hunter Engineering touts the Revolution as a one-of-a-kind tire changing machine. It has won a number of awards since it was first introduced.

“We’ve gone above and beyond to source the very best equipment for our collision and mechanical service training,” says O’Keefe. “We did the same when it came to auto glass, but in that case we were able to look a little closer to home. NOVUS Glass literally invented windshield repair in 1972, and our research and development division has been industry-leading ever since. When we looked for the best in the business in glass repair, we simply used our proprietary equipment.” The full training curriculum will be available to FAN’s strategic, vendor and insurer partners in the fall. However, some portions of the training centre are up and running now and are already offering classes.

“We’ve held training sessions for our insurance partners and some customer service training in the classroom, as well as facilitated several courses for our NOVUS technicians. We’re looking forward to being able to offer all of our partners a complete training solution and curriculum very soon,” says O’Keefe.

Like the rest of the training centre, the classroom is a model of modern sophistication. Instructors can easily call up the latest in audio-visual material on the built-in large screen at the front of the class. The desks are arranged in a U-formation, allowing for demonstrations to be conducted in the middle. Each desk is equipped with power plug is for laptops or other devices.

The classroom seats 18 students under normal operation. However, a foldable wall at the rear of the room allows the seating area to be expanded for larger class sizes when needed. “The point of training isn’t just to prepare for what you’re facing today,” says O’Keefe. “We’ve committed ourselves to training so that we’re ready for whatever the future holds.”

FAN will also be opening similar training centres in Quebec and Alberta over the next 18 months. For more information about Fix Auto, Speedy Auto Service and NOVUS Glass, please visit fixnetwork.com. TD



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