By Liz White, UT staffSan Diego, California-An adviser to the US automotive insurance claims sector has said that in future it intends to recommend panel bonding only where the vehicle's OEM (original equipment manufacturer) has approved adhesive use as a repair method. Panel-bonding adhesives include two-part polyurethane structural bonding agents from Ashland Specialty Chemicals, as well as epoxy types from 3M, for example. The adviser, Mitchell International Inc., is a leading provider of information and workflow solutions to the automotive insurance claims and collision repair industries." Mitchell made the decision following concerns from some bodies over potential ambiguities in information in its database."Mitchell has always been receptive to feedback from the industry, and this time is no different," said Lou DiLisio, on behalf of various members of the Collision Industry Conference Task Force. "We raised concerns to Mitchell about sending a mixed message on [adhesives/panel bonding] and they listened, understood, and then made the necessary changes to keep everyone on the same page."The US group announced 29 July that it will amend panel-bonding information and procedures in its Parts & Labor Database, so that in future, users will only be able to select panel bonding as an alternative to welding for procedures where the OEM has explicitly approved the use of adhesives as a valid, alternative repair method.Mitchell wants to ensure that estimators can produce quotes that accurately reflect the repair procedures. Increasing acceptance of adhesives as a repair alternative by the industry led to the decision to add this information to the database."Adhesive bonding is a fairly new procedure in the industry," comments Jim Lindner, ceo and chairman for Mitchell International. "While it is not universally accepted, we chose to include it in our database because of its widespread use," he said, pointing out that, it is important for us to clearly distinguish where bonding is and is not approved by the OEMs. … apart from those OEM procedures for which it has been approved, all other panel-bonding options will be disabled."In the US, panel bonding is being widely used in collision repair centres as adhesive materials have advanced" and more "