In 1983 at the age of 23, Tony Cavallaro opened a body shop in Hartford, Connecticut, with a staff of four. Fast forward 35 years — Cavallaro’s shop, Airport Road Auto Body, has expanded, moved and is in the process of rebranding. No longer located on Airport Road, the now 34,000-square-foot shop will soon be known as Airport Auto Body. The expansion, move and rebranding effort is in line with the company’s mindset of constant innovation, and will allow the team to focus on training, staying up to date on vehicle repairs and industry trends.
At the forefront of their dedication to technology and innovation, Airport Auto Body recently completed one of the largest Side-Load Finishing System installations from Global Finishing Solutions (GFS), featuring REVO Accelerated Curing Systems, paint booths and prep environments. The Side-Load System includes two dual-bay Ultra® XR Closed-Top Open-Front (CTOF) Booths with an integrated REVO Speed, which runs through all four bays on an integrated rail system, as well as two 30-foot-long Ultra downdraft paint booths. Vehicles move quickly and easily between work bays on the integrated track and dolly system. Also included in the revolutionary setup are an Ultra XD Mix Room and REVO Rapid MC2, a mobile curing unit that can be easily moved around the shop.
When Cavallaro and his son, Tony Cavallaro Jr., were looking at creating a larger facility, they teamed up with Rob Mercier of Collision Center Design, who led them to GFS and Axalta for help in designing a custom solution to fit their vision. Tony Sr. wanted the ability to drive a car into a booth once and slide it across multiple bays to accommodate the same repair — a process (as part of a Side-Load System) that typically allows shops to repair one more car a day.
“GFS was the only company with quality engineers that would work with me to accommodate my vision. The end product is phenomenal. And since GFS is based in the U.S., they are able to help me if my booth breaks down or am in need of a replacement part — that is what I was looking for. They also provided onsite training on the REVO Speed. Joe Demaske, GFS technical advisor, was instrumental in training us.”
REVO Systems from GFS use short wave electric infrared technology to cure repairs quickly from the inside out, saving time and money, and improving the overall quality of the paint finish. By heating the underlying substrate, REVO Systems deliver consistent, controlled heat to quickly cure each layer of the filler or coating from the inside out. Cavallaro sees these savings daily.
“The equipment is fantastic. Only a 10-minute dry time with primer — it’s unbelievable. I honestly did not believe that REVO Systems could dry paint or primer that quick, but when I visited a shop in Boston that had the REVO technology, they showed me that it really does work.”
The expansion, along with state-of-the-art finishing equipment, offered a differentiator from other shops in the area. Airport Auto Body now has the capability to handle a higher volume and the ability to be more efficient. Although an independent body shop, Airport Auto Body is certified by Cadillac, Jaguar, Range Rover, Tesla and Volkswagen, and soon to be BMW certified as well. For a shop that works on high-end vehicles 90 percent of the time, top-notch repairs are necessary every time.
“With our old equipment and shop, we would paint one day, then buff the next — the dry time was not as efficient. Now we are able to paint a car, bake it, let it air dry and cool down, and buff it all in one day. We buff every single car because of the high-end market that we are in, but it allows us to put out that many more cars. Having GFS equipment married with REVO Systems is a great marketing tool, and there is nothing like it — the dry time, the cleanliness, the appearance, everything.”
Certified shops make the customer feel comfortable, and Cavallaro feels 100 percent comfortable that they can continue to provide their customers with the fastest, highest-quality repairs, thanks to REVO Systems and GFS finishing equipment.