Aluminum body repair has been a somewhat niche business for the past decade, with only relatively low-volume luxury and sports car models utilizing the material on a large scale for complete bodies. But with the introduction of the 2015 Ford F-150, that former small, specialized business is about to burst into the mainstream in a major way, according to Automotive News. Companies that manufacture and sell specialized aluminum equipment are gearing up for a huge increase in demand for their products with the hundreds of thousands of F-150s that will ultimately hit the road, and the hundreds that will inevitably need repair.
There are multiple new requirements for dealerships and repair facilities that work on aluminum bodies. However, Ford is making some concessions to dealerships by waiving a the requirement for a completely separate "clean room" and just requiring a curtained-off work area for the aluminum body. It's important to keep aluminum and steel separated to prevent possible galvanic corrosion.
Eurovac, a small manufacturer of specialized vacuum and air extractors based in Concord, Ontario, which currently has 25 employees, expects that number to grow substantially in the years ahead. Rob Retter of Eurovac calls the new F-150 "the biggest thing in the history of our company." Ford is requiring the purchase of a specialized vacuum to remove aluminum dust from shop floors. The Eurovac II vacuum model costs $10,125.
Car-O-Liner, a manufacturer of frame and chassis repair equipment, sells a full complement of parts and equipment for aluminum body repair, and is also expected to be a major beneficiary of the Ford F-150's move to an aluminum body.