Cost of Business: What Aluminum Use Really Means for Body Shops

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Aluminum is a metal that can be hard to work with if you don’t know what you’re doing. We all know this and knew that new tools and training was coming, but what about the rest of the body shop? For them, there is one additional hidden cost: aluminum dust containment.

“There is one additional hidden cost: aluminum dust containment.”

If you’re going to be working on the 2015 Ford F150 and you’re a body shop, you’ll want to plan on one other item besides the special tools and the specific training to work and shape aluminum. When aluminum and steel dust gets mixed together it creates thermite. Thermite can get hot enough to melt through an engine block, or worse, it can cause an uncontrollable fire hazard as it spreads through the air. Because of the fire hazard of mixing steel and aluminum dust, Ford Certified Body Shops are going to have to install a containment booth.

I asked a technician from a Ford Certified facility about that, here is what the tech said under anonymity: “Our Service Director met with Ford and the equipment people. To get certified, they have to build a containment booth for work on the new (2015) F150.” How much will that containment booth potentially cost the body shop? Looks to cost the dealership about $100,000 or more, said the Service Director.

It won’t be contained to just Ford, though. At the time of this writing, GM just announced that they will be using aluminum bodywork on their next generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

Originally posted on F150online

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