Vehicle technology is rapidly and continually changing, driving developments in repair technology, equipment and materials. It is the responsibility of Thatcham’s repair research team to keep pace with these developments.
The Repair Information teams produce methods and technical data on a vehicle-specific basis, but where does the other knowledge and research come from? Repair Research provides those answers, with a team of highly skilled and experienced engineers that tackle the engineering and repair questions that are not specific to a vehicle. The team includes material engineers, highly experienced and specialised panel engineers, mechanical engineers, and paint technology experts to cover the whole sphere of vehicle engineering.
If there is a particular material, joining technology or process that is unclear, inefficient, or unsuitable for the UK automotive repair industry, the Repair Research team can advise on a suitable alternative from their great knowledge and experience, or self-initiate a research project to investigate. The team has a fully equipped materials laboratory for investigating materials and joining, alongside the research workshop where physical research and panel material replacement can be carried out.
The Repair Research team also provide invaluable support for other Thatcham operations and departments; preparing vehicles for testing, repairing vehicles post-test, providing technical support and guidance where required, liaising with vehicle manufacturers and suppliers and producing technical documentation and references.
The Repair Research team also work with many vehicle manufacturers on developing ‘best-practice’ for efficient panel replacement techniques, with material and tool suppliers for quality assessments and with many external bodies to share the latest knowledge on vehicle construction. The team will also produce body repair manual data and material directly on behalf of several manufacturers. This has led to the creation and maintenance of a best-practice Design Guide that is a reference for vehicle manufacturers and the RCAR (Research Council for Automobile Repair) group, whilst working closely with vehicle manufacturers to advise on their own repair strategies to ensure that they continue to conform with the requirements of the UK insurance industry.