A steady stream of visitors to the Collision Repair Expo at Melbourne Convention Centre on April 4-6 filed in through the doors. While official visitor statistics have not been released yet, the show was busy from start to finish.
Thanks to everyone who came by the Paint & Panel stand to say hello, sorry if we weren't there to see you. Three days wasn't nearly enough to get around all of the stands, attend seminars and catch up and network. This editor racked up over 12,000 steps on the first day, Thursday, running around trying to ferret out new products and see what was on display.
Major Expo sponsors Sydney Automotive Paint & Equipment had a massive presence with a huge array of curing, joining and alignment equipment as well as displays from the many brands they distribute such as Juice, Cam and Roar. Lowbake as they do every year, supplied the demonstration booths outside for paintshop product demonstrations.
A host of new products were launched, click here to watch some demonstrations from the stands. Lowbake launched the mobile repair cell and a wheel station and a mobile UV. We liked Norton's clever process tub idea too.
One of our favourite new products was the Guniwheel, a universal spare wheel which fits 95% of cars in Australian market. There was also a very clever paint mixing machine which we will feature next week.
As well as the plethora of product, there was also a packed program of seminars. Sadly, I only got to two of them but they were both excellent. The Repair and Prepare for the Future had an informative panel including vehicle manufacturer representatives from Holden, Ford, Volkswagen and Subaru as well as Mark Czvitkovits from I-CAR and Jeff Williams from Specific Prestige. Unsurprisingly the two most important elements to prepare for the future and training and developing good relationships with manufacturers and dealers.
Andrew Marsh of EZI Methods and Auto Industry Consulting flew out from the UK to talk about the opportunities that ADAS is offering the collision repair industry. I was also fortunate to be able to interview him and found his insights into the automotive industry and how it affects body repairers fascinating. We'll be publishing the interview in the next issue of the magazine. We'll publish a video next week of the Hella Gutmann calibration system that drew a great deal of attention at the show.
Friday night was party night for many visitors with a host of suppliers inviting their customers to network and enjoy themselves. I enjoyed a couple of glasses of delicious wine with Car Craft, then slipped into Axalta's fabulous casino-themed partys before enjoying some great jazz with AkzoNobel. Glasurit, Valspar and St Gobain also entertained their customers.
If you would like a taste of the show here's our quick tour video (this one taken by a proper photographer and not me, so it's good.)