By Mike Davey
Markham, Ontario -- April 27, 2016 -- Honda Canada has issued revised criteria for its ProFirst program. According to a statement from Honda Canada, the objective of this program is to provide recognition to collision repair facilities that meet or exceed Honda’s commitment to promote the correct, complete, and safe repair of Honda vehicles, and provide support to those collision repair businesses who have demonstrated a commitment to a high level of customer care and satisfaction.
All OEM certification programs have certain standards in equipment and training that must be met before a shop can earn the certification. The first step in Honda ProFirst recognition is obtaining sponsorship from a Honda or Acura Dealer.
Chris Hogg is a Business Planning Specialist for Honda Canada and runs the company's body shop programs. He says there are advantages to a shop being on the program.
"One of the obvious advantages is that you'll have increased opportunities to reach more customers, but I think it also increases recognition for your shop's professionalism," he says. "Not only that, but ProFirst certified shops get free access to Honda service and repair information through the Service Express website including mechanical and collision repair information, electrical wiring diagrams, service bulletins and other important information."
Regarding training, ProFirst certified shops must be I-CAR Gold Class, with at least one technician holding an I-CAR certificate for structural welding. In addition, at least one estimator and two steel structural techs who are I-CAR role representatives must complete online Honda-specific training (I-CAR HON01e) within 30 days of joining the program.
Prior to the release of the updated standards, the equipment side of the equation was primarily welding-based. Shops must have a MIG brazing welder with a pulse technology controller, CuSi3 filler wire and 100 percent Argon shielding gas, in addition to a MAG welder, with minimum 1000 MPa welding wire and 80 percent Argon and 20 percent carbon dioxide shielding gas.
The revised standards still include these, but two new capabilities are now required: a resistance spot welder and a 3D measuring system.
The resistance spot welder must be capable of exceeding 10,500 amps welding current, provide greater than 882 lb. foot clamping pressure at current shop air pressure and feature programmable welding cycle time.
Specific capabilities for the computerized three-dimensional measuring system are not provided, but Honda has released a list of companies that make systems that will satisfy requirements. These companies are Car-O-Liner, Chief Automotive Technologies, Blackhawk, Spanesi, Celette, Eclipse and Car Bench.