Briggs Auto Body in Topeka, KS, is the newest addition to Briggs Auto Group which includes seven dealerships, two internal body shops and two additional free-standing collision repair facilities. Opened in May 2019, the newest facility boasts 10,000 square feet of production space. Eight employees at Briggs Auto Body are currently repairing an average of 40 vehicles monthly, and they are positioned to increase their workload thanks to their investment in time-saving products from Spanesi Americas.
Established Briggs Auto Group collision repair facilities began using Spanesi’s products and equipment in 2018, so when the new facility opened, it was set up with a Spanesi prep station, welders and several Michelangelo spray booths. According to Dwayne Miller, general operations manager at Briggs Auto Body, the decision to begin using Spanesi products last year was easy.
“Spanesi was competitively priced for their high quality products and everyone I questioned about their booths just loved them,” Miller said. “The paint booth system turns out clean paint jobs, eliminating time-consuming dirt denibbing and buffing. Their three-torch Q5.2 inverter welding machine is very userfriendly.”
Miller reported that implementing the new Spanesi equipment into the daily operations at Briggs Auto Body was extremely easy once the paint booths and the prep station were installed. The shop’s employees also appreciate the increased speed provided by the new equipment.
Cycle times have improved, as well as confidence that the end result will produce a high quality repair back to OEM specifications. “Our painters love the booths and the body techs love the welders.
Spanesi’s products are easy to use and definitely make everyone’s jobs quicker,” Miller shared. Spanesi’s Michelangelo spray booth features a new front portal with glazed windows, combining high performance with a state-of-the-art design that places the booth at the top of its category. The booth boasts 34,000 m3/h air flow capacity, which provides the ability to spray waterborne paint without the addition of fans or other drying devices. Along with a direct flame burner, it features an electronic control panel display as well as internal devices that automatically control booth pressures.
Briggs’ booth was also configured to include options for side-load or rearentry. The Michelangelo spray booths are completely customizable based on shop needs. Spanesi’s Q5.2 is a multi-function welding machine with three torches: steel, silicon bronze and aluminum. It utilizes a single-phase 208-220V power supply based on cutting-edge IGBT inverter technology.
These synergic welders boast full digital controls and provide premium welding quality on all materials in both MIG/MAG and pulsed/dual-pulsed MIG welds. The Q5.2 also features spatter-free welding for minimal cleanup, storage space for two gas cylinders and a support for the three torches.
Saving production time is an ongoing effort for Briggs Auto Body. Miller explained some of the shop’s efforts: “We implemented a production lean six sigma process for improved cycle times, quality and cost.
We also have a paint production area that is on rails to move vehicles laterally rather than the conventional straight forward and back system which helps using our square footage more efficiently.”
Miller said Briggs Auto Group also excels at safe and proper repairs due to utilization of OEM repair procedures. There is a lot of effort put into facilitating effective communication with vehicle owners, due to their very busy lives. The Briggs Auto Group attributes a lot of their continued success to “maintaining the same small town focus we’ve always had,” Miller added.
Russ and Ilene Briggs started Briggs Auto Group in 1979 with a small used car lot which they’ve since grown into an expansive company comprised of 12 locations. Their largest collision repair facility in Manhattan, KS, repairs an average of 225 vehicles each month. Briggs credits their success to a strong focus on putting customer satisfaction before profit, and the shop also stresses that vehicle owners must be treated with respect.
Superior customer service is one of the benefits Briggs Auto Body enjoys from their relationship with Spanesi as well. Miller shared, “Spanesi has been very responsive to any issues we’ve had. Their support is excellent. They can even remotely access our paint booths to diagnose any issues without coming to the shop.”
Briggs Auto Body is PPG refinish certified and is an I-CAR Gold Class shop. In addition to collision repair work, the shop offers PDR, windshield repair and replacement, and storage.
The Briggs Auto Group is also involved with the community through the Greater Topeka Partnership and the Washburn Tech College Advisory Board. In addition, they contribute to their local Boys and Girls Club and numerous other charitable organizations.
Although Miller noted a concern surrounding receiving pressure from insurance companies for shorter and shorter cycle times, the shop’s technicians are able to save time during the repair process due to the accuracy and efficiency of Spanesi’s products.