January | 2020
Tower Update

As I had mentioned in the last tower update, Adam Cregg has accepted a position with the FAA. Adam’s last day at SLN will be 2/5, and he will then start training at his new facility in Wilmington, NC. We wish him the best of luck!

While the Senate and House have both introduced bills that could help alleviate some of the staffing issues at Federal Contract Towers in the future, there continues to be a shortage of qualified applicants. No word on Adam’s replacement.

To align with scheduled meetings of other area towers, SLN’s RSAT meeting will be held in April. We have not had any surface incidents in the past year. Great work everyone!

We have experienced some nasty flying weather to start this year. Thanks to everyone for getting those PIREPs to us.

Happy Flying!

Jay Hatchett
Air Traffic Manager
Salina (SLN) FCT
Matrix Brings Precision to Auto Repairs and the Hi-Tech World

Tim Unruh
January 2020

Tucked into a work center at Vortex Global are some hi-tech gizmos that have injected precision into the business of repairing damaged vehicles.

Made in a factory near where dry bulk handling components are designed, built and shipped around the globe, the Matrix Wand has snared nationwide appeal in the automobile industry.

Promoters are pushing the portable 12-pound product, equipped with two digital cameras, for their ability to enhance a number of pursuits.

“The basic premise is it can measure anything you can take an image of,” said Travis Young, CEO of both Vortex Global and Matrix Electronic Measuring.

“It could be used in documenting a crime scene, auto accidents, and show where everything was laid out, and it’s indisputable in court,” he said. “This has been used by NASCAR and Formula One (car racing). We’ve had people using it to measure for swimming pool covers, and it also has applications in the medical industry, such as measuring facial structure and looking at skins conditions.”

The Matrix Wand is currently starring in the collision repair business, where the standards are much higher as vehicles are packed with more and more advanced driver assistance technology aimed at safety.

Common ones include auto braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warnings, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.

In 2018, 92.7 percent of consumer vehicles produces included a least one Advance Driver Assistance System (ADAS) feature, and by 2022, all vehicles manufactured in the United States will be required to have automatic braking systems, according to the company’s website — thematrixwand.com

“If they’re not mounted correctly, those sensors can send back false readings,” Young said. “The industry has changed a lot because of these systems. You can’t just make sure everything is aesthetically correct.”

The Matrix Wand makes it easier to repair the car or truck back to original specifications, he said, and that is a must.

“There are documented cases where (equipment not installed correctly) created accidents, and in some cases, loss of lives,” Young said. “Safety is a matter of millimeters. We help put safe vehicles back on the road. One in three vehicles leaves a shop with undiscovered damage.”

Accuracy is a buzz word these days, he said.

“To give you an idea, the general rule of thumb across most original equipment’s tolerance is plus or minus three millimeters,” Young said. “When it comes to the structure of the vehicle, and in other areas, the tolerance is plus or minus one millimeter. It’s got to be right. There’s not a lot of flexibility. It has to be spot-on.”

He mentioned a YouTube video from Honda shows the timing of airbags.
“A fraction of a second can be the difference between somebody being saved and somebody dying,” Young said. “It’s very critical to be within what the vehicle manufacturer intended. If a car has been in a collision or accidents of some sort, it could severely impact a safety system.”

The Matrix Wand has proven to be attractive to large body shops that focus on cycle time and driver safety,” he said.

The company has customers in metropolitan areas throughout the United States and Canada, with the highest concentrations on the coasts.

“They need tools to help them get the job done faster, which means doing it right the first time. Insurance companies also have money in the game, and if cycle times are long, that costs them more money.”

Central location is valuable for the manufacturing, as so are the “shared resources” with Vortex Global, i.e. marketing, and information technology specialists, and some on the production side.

“Being in the middle of Kansas is strategically advantageous. It’s not uncommon for Matrix customers and industry partners to come here for visits, and we welcome it,” Young said.

The Matrix enjoys a kinship with nearby Salina Technical College’s auto body program.

“They’ve been great partners with us. They have very nice facilities and up-to-date training for their students,” he said.

The Matrix stages customer training and technical seminars at Salina Tech.
Hardware is a small part of the process.

“We have a lot of proprietary processes to calibrate the systems, the algorithms and the math and science to measure those photographic images,” Young said. “For the most part, we are a software company.”

Most of the company’s sales representatives are in big cities.

The basic package that includes a laptop computer and calibration board, and it all fit into a carrying case that fits in the trunk of a car. The wand is compact and portable, said Sergio Correa, the Martix’s director of support and technical training.

No heavy or bulky gear is needed.

“That’s the beauty of the system. With the Wand, you can do your measurements in a parking lot,” he said.

The hardware ranges from $21,500 to $28,000, with the deluxe set including an optional cart system with a television and a rack.

The Matrix has demonstrated swift return on investment performances.

“My experience is in auto collisions, and this (wand) has the best ROI,” Correa said. “Some get their ROI in a month, but typically it’s in six to 12 months.”
Technicians usually master their training in three months, Young said.

The Matrix is owned by a number of investors spread throughout the nation, but the majority are in Kansas.

The board chairman is John Divine, an investor from Salina. "The days of using a 2-by-4 to adjust a car door are over", he said.

“I don’t think there’s anything else (than the Matrix Wand) that does the job. It has put a whole new dynamic into body shops and how they handle repairs,” Divine said. “In the next three to five years, smart cars are going be what we’re all driving.” 

He and Young see a bright future.

“All startup companies have struggles, but I think they’ve been addressed well, and things are moving forward in a really positive way,” Divine said.

The Matrix just completed a record quarter.

“We feel like 2020 is going to be a great year for us,” said Young.

“Safety systems are simply going to continue adding precision. It’s becoming more and more difficult to repair modern-day late-model vehicles. There is significantly more code in a Ford F-150 now than commercial aircraft. Repairs are going to have to leverage technology in order to truly repair vehicles back to safe conditions as the manufacturers intended,” Young said. “I would like to think that Matrix plays a very important part in achieving the right results.”

United Meetings
Feature Facility

Building 412
2804 Arnold Avenue

Is your business growing? Check out building 412, it could be the solution you're looking for.  

The Salina Airport Authority has available for lease, a 13,640 sq. ft. facility located at the Salina Airport Industrial Center. Building 412 is located at 2804 Arnold Avenue and provides easy access to I-135 & I-70.

This well maintained facility features a climate controlled shop, warehouse, or assembly space with 2,120 sq. ft. of office space. Corporate neighbors include Schwan Food Company and the Occupation Center for Central Kansas. Building 412 is also near several of Salina's larger employers including Salina Vortex, Eldorado National and GeoProbe Systems.

Call the Salina Airport Authority at 785-827-3914 to schedule a tour or check it out online at  https://www.salinaairport.com/real-estate.aspx 
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