NCR 3D Tabs

3D-printed replacement headlight tab kits to be verified

The US Certified Aftermarket Parts Association (CAPA) announced it would “verify” replacement headlight tabs produced by Creative Repair Solutions. CRS CEO Maurice Paperi said insurers are highly interested in the technique, which the company plans to publicise at SEMA, although the company at this point hasn’t pursued OEM validation.

A CRS presentation noted that headlight tabs “are virtually non-repairable in a collision event,” and aftermarket headlights are being squeezed out as ‘OEMs are branding headlamp components.’ “At CAPA, our goal has always been to ensure access to high-quality, fairly priced, alternative parts that provide an option for keeping vehicle repair costs down,” said CAPA Chairman Clark Plucinski. “We are thrilled to partner with CRS on this verification program to offer a sustainable solution to the industry, bringing assurance to insurance-based and DIY vehicle repairers with these headlamp repair tab kits.”

Vice President Steve Arnone said it’s not a typical 3-D printing process, and while he couldn’t reveal much for competitive reasons, he said the end result was able to simulate the same grain structure of the original injected-moulded part. He added that the company makes the parts out of a nylon substance able to perform physically and chemically like the OEM original.

The replacement part covers the original like a glove, Arnone said. The replacement parts are mechanically fastened with screws specifically designed for plastics and an adhesive is also applied to the mating surface, added Paperi.

“Expanding upon its more than 30 years of testing and certification of aftermarket auto parts, CAPA will verify the repair kits through material and vibration testing, vehicle test fit, and manufacturing and production process audits,” stated CAPA. CRS’ offerings were the first to be “verified” under a new “CAPA Verification” system and a spokesman explained that the concept was different to traditional CAPA certification.

According to Jillian Rahal, transportation technologies communications coordinator for CAPA manager Intertek: “CAPA verification demonstrates that a product or service has been independently verified to meet specified requirements for that product or service – the verification program is an offering for products outside of the scope of CAPA Certification, where certification is based on comparability to the car company service part.

CRS isn’t the first company to use 3D printing to create replacements for broken tabs. In 2017, Service King described using the technique to replace broken elements on bumper fascias.

This article courtesy of John Huetter of Repairer Driven Education (RDE). Check out their website at; for this and many other informative and educational articles on the collision repair industry.

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