Waubonsee receives updated dent-fixing equipment for vehicles

Campton Hills Trustee Morgan facilitated Spanesi donation valued at $25K

Waubonsee Community College students in the Automotive Training Center learn to use new dent-fixing equipment donated by Spanesi Americas Inc. The donation from Spanesi was valued at $25,000.

SUGAR GROVE – Waubonsee Community College’s Automotive Training Center received the donation of a glue pulling system to fix dents from Spanesi Americas Inc., a collision repair equipment company in Naperville.

Timothy Morgan, who is chief operating officer for Spanesi, as well as a Campton Hills trustee, said he facilitated the donation in December, and employees then worked with the students to train them how to use it. The equipment is worth $25,000.

“We make donations to several areas and want to make sure we stay local,” Morgan said. “In 2013, we gave them [WCC] $40,000 frame-straightening equipment.”

Who hasn’t grumbled at a dented or crunched fender from a parking lot mishap or accident?

The Spanesi equipment revolutionizes how the dent is repaired.

“What happens, traditionally, is you grind all the paint off the panel, exposing the metal,” Morgan said. “Then you weld a piece of steel to the dent and use it to pull the damaged area out. By doing that, you are exposing the metal and putting heat to it and damaging the corrosion protection and the panel.”

Timothy Morgan, candidate for Campton Hills trustee, answers a question during a candidates’ forum hosted by the League of Women Voters at the Campton Hills Village Hall on Thursday, March 2, 2023.

Spanesi’s equipment involves glueing a plastic panel to the dent. Then the technician uses a tool that looks like a giant cookie press to pull the dent out.

“In some instances, it does totally finish the repair,” Morgan said. “It does make the repair faster and more efficient. ... In some instances, you don’t have to repaint. You don’t have to remove any of that paint ... You don’t have to worry about color matching or burning off any rust proofing.”

In an email Ramiro Cervantes, the instructor for Auto Collision and Refinishing Technology at Waubonsee, wrote that the donation rounds out the tool set students use at the shop.

“It is especially useful when working on newer or electric vehicles where traditional repair methods would be too disruptive to the corrosion protection or electrical wiring on the inside of the panel,” according to Cervantes’ email.

Waubonsee is in the planning stages to build a new Career and Technical Education building, which will include the Auto Body Repair, Automotive Technology, and Welding Technology Programs.

Morgan is assisting on design and equiment for the auto body training center.

For example, Morgan advised on creating oversized areas in the training center.

“When putting the spray booth in the training facility, you have to make it large enough to fit the students around it — not just one person in the booth — but several students and an instructor,” Morgan said. “Everything needs to be oversized. It’s the same with welder area. You’re not just in a car body shop, so it has to be oversized.”

The spray booth has to be large enough to fit a car or truck in it to be sprayed with a base coat and a clear coat, he said.

“And you bake it so it has 1.5 BTU furnace in there to accelerate the dry times,” Morgan said.

Many of Waubonsee’s career programs get input from advisory boards – made up of local industry professionals – looking to prepare the next generation, officials said in an email.

Spanesi is a member of the college’s automotive advisory board, which has discussed the needs of its planned Career and Technical Education Building.

In October, the Waubonsee Trustee Board approved the final concept and direction for the new Career and Technical Education building, officials had announced in a news release.

The building is to be just more than 100,000 square feet with a projected cost of about $59 million. It is to be positioned on the south end of the college’s Sugar Grove campus, according to the release.

In addition to automotive technology, the new space will also house the welding technology programs.

Ne’Keisha Stepney, Executive Dean for Business, Technology, and Workforce Education, said in the release that the college’s “automotive programs are currently running at capacity.”

“And we’ve had success with our welding courses at the Plano Campus, but the future labor demand, along with the current demand at the high school level, makes us excited to be able to double our capacity for that program by adding this second location,” Stepney said in the release. “We need to position our institution to meet the rigorous challenges of training and educating 21st century technicians — the makers and doers that drive the regional economy and beyond.”

Waubonsee is working with Demonica Kemper Architects and Pepper Construction Company. Construction is expected to take about two years to complete.

Morgan said he has a meeting scheduled on Friday to continue working through the drawings.