There is a great deal of body shop ignorance going on. This could be intentional or because the body shop owners have no idea that there is potential for fatal situations. As a PDR Technician, it is your responsibility to know what danger there can be if the clean room is not available in a body shop that has hired you for aluminum work. It is also your responsibility to advise the body shop owner or dealership and then refuse the work. I know you’re hungry for the work but you should be more concerned for your life.
There are a couple of ways to create a clean room. One is to install ceiling to floor plastic curtains that have a skirt that seals against the floor to prevent the flow of contaminants. The curtains should be washable and made of fireproof materials. You should also consider getting them tinted so that you are protected from any bright flashes such as welding light.
The other is to either build an expansion onto the facility you now have or reserve one room for aluminum repairs only. Clearly this last one is the most cost efficient. Having this entire room separate is ideal.
Manufacturers are really the ones that have their own set of requirements that you really need to look into. These requirements are different manufacturer to manufacturer so if you want to be eligible to work on these vehicles you will want to do your homework.
There are a few things that ring true for all of the manufacturers when shops are working on nonstructural types of work:
- Tool Set-Shops need an entirely separate set of tools that are used solely for aluminum. The same tools that you would use for steel would be the same ones needed for aluminum. This is done because contaminants stick to the tools and mixing with the aluminum on the next use.
More to follow in Part V.