Las Vegas, Nevada -- November 6, 2015 -- Auto professionals in their thousands have crowded into the Las Vegas Convention Center for the 2015 SEMA Show over the last few days. Now in its 48th year, the SEMA Show offers collision professionals a chance to see the latest in equipment, tools and parts at the New Product Showcase, and an extensive list of industry-specific exhibitors in the North Hall’s Collision Repair and Refinish section.
A strong Canadian contingent makes its way to the SEMA Show every year, and AIA Canada steps up to run a unique networking event. This year’s Canada Night event took place on November 3 at Caesar’s Palace. Even a quick visit to this event would confirm that SEMA has strong support from the Canadian automotive community, with hundreds of stakeholders showing the flag at Canada Night.
The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) provides significant educational opportunities through its Repairer Driven Education (RDE) track. It’s a full four day schedule of collision-specific seminars and workshops. The range is incredibly diverse. Some of the offerings bring a tight focus on technical matters, digging into structural adhesive bonding solutions, the latest advances in welding or removing and joining advanced materials. But there’s also a wealth of information for the top-level, including seminars on profitability, planning and executing growth strategies and the myths, fallacies and facts surrounding repair planning.
The November 5 session was given over to the OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit, possibly one of the most forward-thinking education events in the collision industry. The Summit puts repairers shoulder to shoulder with innovators in structural design and technology, and puts the focus squarely on emerging trends and their influence on repairability.
If there was one central message from this year’s Summit, it was this: follow the OEM procedures every single time. Experts in numerous fields stressed this repeatedly during the event, noting that recent and ongoing advances make this more important than it has ever been.
Both inside and outside the dedicated collision repair events, the SEMA Show always an air of friendly competition. Custom builders try to outdo one another, exhibitors compete to see who has the most lavish booth, and there’s the nuts-and-bolts competition between new products to see which will earn top honours.
Innovative Tools & Technologies’ new Scangrip Sunmatch Color Match LED won in the Collision Repair & Refinish Product category. The new product is a rechargeable handheld LED light for colour matching. The runners-up in the category were Astech, with the asTech2 diagnostic tool, and Uni-Dolly with its Uni-Dolly Car Dolly System.
The new asTech2 adds more car brands, a new mobile app and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability. The Uni-Dolly is a new system that can be used to move a car with or without wheels.
Glass Bot’s Automated Glass Removal System took top honours in the Tools & Equipment category, followed by runners-up Red Baron Tools with its new tool organizer, and Equip Automotive Systems’ Smart Bench. Watch for more on these products in the next issue of Bodyworx Professional magazine.
The SEMA Show is also justly famous for the hundreds of customized automobiles on display. The show also hosts the annual Battle of the Builders, where top customizers go head to head. The winner will be announced during SEMA Ignited, the only part of SEMA open to the general public, and it’s an amazing sight. After four days behind closed doors, hundreds of cars and trucks roll out for the SEMA Cruise and assemble at SEMA Ignited.SEMA Ignited is the final event of SEMA, and takes place Friday, November 6 starting at 6 pm EST.
This year’s Battle of the Builders finalists are:
• Bobby Alloway, 1933 Ford Roadster
• Ryan Basseri, Honda Integra Type R
• Chip Foose, 1965 Impala
• Jeremy Gerber, 1973 Camaro
• Phil/Jeremy Gerber, 2015 Chevy Colorado
• Alan Johnson, 1953 Studebaker
• Eric Kozeluh, 1995 Toyota Supra
• Andy Leach, 1962 Chevy Bubble Top
• Jim and Mike Ring, Mustang Fastback
• Kyle Tucker, 1970 Chevy Chevelle
The 2016 SEMA Show will take place November 1 to 4, 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Centre.