How Panel Beaters Deal with Ever More Complex Bodywork

Posted on: 2 September 2020


As car manufacturers become more ambitious and go after increased market share, so they are producing vehicles that feature undulating bodywork. They want to make these cars as aesthetically pleasing as possible, ensure that they are aerodynamically efficient and look different from the competition. This is all well and good until the vehicle is involved in a crash, and then the job of the panel beater becomes a lot more challenging. What is one of the most important skills for an expert in this situation?

Techniques for the Age

Over the years, space-age materials have become almost the norm in the automotive industry, and many panels these days are made from anything other than steel. Nevertheless, the technician will need to be highly proficient in the art of "planishing," which allows them to create a concave surface from an otherwise flat piece of steel.

Forming with a Hammer

To begin with, the panel beater will create a rough outline to try and coax the damaged metal back towards its original shape. Initially, they may need to attach special tools to pull out any severe dent and especially if they cannot access from the rear. Typically, they'll use a number of different hammers and other tools, but the skill is in their experience and knowledge of how the metal will respond to each attempt.

Detailed Work

Planishing, to be specific, is a technique that helps to smooth out irregularities once the main work is complete. The technician will use a softheaded hammer together with another tool known as a "dolly," that sits behind the work surface. They'll typically need to apply hundreds or even thousands of blows of various strength and from a variety of different angles. This approach will work whether the material is simple steel or may include some composite materials like carbon fibre.

Original Condition

If the panel beater is very experienced, they will be able to restore the vehicle to its original condition using just their trained eye and vast knowledge. Sometimes they need to refer to manufacture documentation, but either way, they will be able to deal with the most severe dent and will eventually create a surface that is as smooth as the original.

Looking for the Best

As manufacturers become even more ambitious and work to create ever more complex models, so panel beaters always manage to keep up. If your car has been damaged in an accident recently, always take it into a panel beater who is as experienced as possible so that you can achieve the best outcome.

For more information, reach out to a local panel beater.