Every week we compile some recent industry news and interesting reads that shouldn’t be missed. Here's the digest for the week of July 20-26.
Dealerships Partner With Colleges To Fill the Technician Supply Gap
The shortage of automotive technicians in the fast growing and rapidly advancing automotive industry has never been more of a problem than it is right now – and it’s only going to continue to get worse. Traditionally, technical colleges offer automotive technician training along with manufacturer support, though now many dealers and dealer associations have partnered directly with local colleges to get students properly trained and into a field with great automotive technician job prospects.
As cars become more technologically advanced, the role of an automotive technician becomes notably more focused on the technical aspect, and less on the mechanical. Technician’s today need to be better trained with electronic operating systems and the latest computer technology than their outgoing predecessors were, as some cars have upwards of 50 computer control modules in them.
Dealers, manufacturers, and colleges alike are excited to see the outcome of these partnerships in the future – and whether or not they help with the supply of capable technicians.
Is Your J2534 Device Earning its Keep?
Automotive technical instructors have found a large number of technicians and shops who have made the substantial investment in an SAE J2534 Pass-Thru vehicle interface device for programming, but have yet to actually use it for it’s intended purpose – to make money.
If this sounds all too familiar, then this is good news for you. The National Automotive Service Task Force, NASTF for short, will be hosting a 90 minute session during their annual General Meeting this fall, which is one of many events happening at the AAPEX industry trade show. The session will focus on importance of the tool, uses and limitations, and utilizing it to it’s full potential.
Honda Hybrids Ditching Heavy Metal
Honda and Daido Steel of Japan have developed a new process to create the electric motor magnets, which eliminates the need for heavy rare earth metals. This was done as a move to reduce dependence on Chinese production, since China produces 90% of the world supply of heavy rare earth metals.
The hot deformation process uses the lighter rare earth metal neodymium for the magnets, but eliminates the need to add heavy rare earth metals for heat resistance. The new process is projected to save both cost and weight of the electric motors. This is a great step to reducing dependence of Chinese suppliers in an increasingly hostile world marketplace, and will hopefully make hybrid and electric vehicles more accessible to budget minded shoppers. The first Honda vehicle to use this will be the Honda Freed, a Japanese market subcompact minivan, and will go on sale later this year.
GM and Bioservo Technologies Develop RoboGlove
GM worked with NASA several years ago to help develop a humanoid assist robot called Robonaut 2. Recently they used the technology they developed during that joint venture to create the RoboGlove with Bioservo Technologies based in Sweden. The glove is designed to significantly increase hand strength, in turn reducing fatigue and lowering likelihood of repetitive stress injuries.
Gm will test the glove in several production plants, with the goal to have it be ubiquitous throughout GM production plants in the future. Bioservo will also sell the glove – though they will sell primarily to medical companies for use as a rehabilitation device and various other uses.
Standard Motor Products Releases 149 New Parts
Standard Motor Products has introduced 149 new part numbers under their Intermotor Import line. The new part numbers represent a variety of different parts, and include coverage up to 2016 for some parts.
Innova Announces New Telematics Division
After acquiring Aftermarket Telematics Technologies, Innova announced its newest addition, Innova Telematics Solutions. This move will allow Innova to offer a full range of telematics products and support to the automotive aftermarket.
Rein Automotive Begins Producing Anti-Vibration Parts
Rein, a lead parts manufacturer for European automobiles, has recently introduced a new line of anti vibration parts for European cars. Parts included in this introduction include engine and transmission mounts, suspension mounts and bushings, spring pads, and various other parts.