Video Update Available: New Chicago Technical Center Gives Us Space for Big Plans
02/17/2022 by Val D'Anna
Years from now, it will be viewed as a milestone in I-CAR’s evolution. Today, preparation of the Chicago Technical Center (CTC) is THE biggest thing happening at I-CAR! The building chosen for the CTC will soon undergo general construction including the creation of classrooms, research labs, a student lounge and even a learning design studio.
We’d like to update everyone in person on our exciting progress, but with the I-CAR community spread across all 50 states, we settled on making a video. Our technical products, programs and services management talk about what the center will offer and why it is needed in this nine-minute video:
“It’s really an interesting time” in the industry, says Jeff Peevy, vice president, technical products, programs, and services, in the video. “The vast amount of technical advancements and changes is causing us to need a lot more room, resources and people.” Research and curriculum development work at I-CAR’s Appleton, Wisconsin technical center will be significantly expanded with the addition of a second tech center. Close to a major airport, the CTC is easily accessible as well as spacious. It has potential to serve as a site for industry events and custom training.
Peevy explained that the new center is not set up as a collision repair shop but rather a “purpose-built facility for what we do. There will be an electric vehicle lab and a lab dedicated to ADAS calibration. One of the things we were adamant about is efficiency. We have so much work to do.”
With 115 new electric vehicles models being launched in the next 2-1/2 years, “we have to be prepared,” says Dirk Fuchs, director, technical programs, and services. To help protect technicians with “knowledge and understanding about everything around electric vehicles,” I-CAR needed a facility with enough space for quarantining vehicles and safely storing batteries.
The new center will feature a perfectly level floor for ADAS calibrations. It’s important to understand what the OEM procedures are for calibrations and why they are important, according to Bud Center, director, technical products, and curriculum. “If we’re on a floor that has a slight slope, what is the difference in the way the system calibrates and reacts post-calibration? We’ll be able to research that and get that information out to the industry.”
The CTC will help I-CAR further refine its expertise in new technologies, new materials, welding, and other repair procedures. I-CAR is “creating a space where we’re learning. We can only train and provide the best training material to the industry when we are the experts,” Fuchs says. As I-CAR subject matter experts perform repair procedures in the lab, they will be recorded, Center added. Written procedures can be tough to follow, but a video shows “how to interpret the procedures.”
With its expanded facilities, I-CAR will be able to respond to whatever new innovation rides in on the technical tsunami in the coming years. “As new technology shows up on horizon,” Peevy says, “we don’t have luxury to sit and wait until we figure out if it’s going to become mainstream or not. We have to go to it, learn it…to be able to support collision repairers, insurers and all segments of the industry.”