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16/03/2021
A necessary balancing point

Wheel balancers

 

Wheel balancing is a necessary and important maintenance operation: it contributes to maintaining the correct alignment of the vehicle, ensuring safety and performance

Nicoletta Ferrini

Wheels and tires in particular, are among the most "stressed" parts of a vehicle. They are called upon to bear the weight, guarantee stability and manoeuvrability, resistance over time and grip on all types of terrain and in all weather conditions. In a nutshell, much of the performance of a vehicle will depend on how the tires behave. A regular check is important, but hardly enough. Wheel balancing is an equally important and - alas - often neglected routine maintenance operation that should be carried out regularly (every 5,000 or 10,000 km or about every two years) and, in any case, always at every tire replacement or after a collision. Precise balancing, carried out professionally, allows the driver to maintain the correct alignment of the vehicle while driving. Wheel balancing, in fact, re-establishes the dynamic balance between tire and rim, which could be lost when the weight of the vehicle is not equally distributed over all four wheels. This can lead to deformations, sometimes not immediately visible, but noticeable while driving: noise, vibrations on the bodywork or steering wheel, lack of grip, abnormal and irregular wear of the tire tread and so on. Wheel and tire deformation can occur during normal use, but can also be the consequence of exceptional situations, from a road accident to a simple impact with the sidewalk. In any case, this may trigger a "butterfly effect", so that even an apparently small event may lead to a significant deformation with all that follows. This is why the balancing procedure should be part of routine maintenance operations, as well as extraordinary ones. It is therefore the task of tire dealers and aftermarket operators to advise motorists to carry it out periodically. The objective is to distribute the masses evenly over the entire circumference of the wheel, realign the axis of rotation of the wheel with the hub and reduce the imbalance of the tire/rim unit. The latter can be static (as the wheel bounces up and down will generate a series of vibrations on the bodywork) or dynamic (the wobbling of the wheel usually results in vibrations on the steering wheel). Balancing is a fairly simple technical procedure, but at the same time very delicate: it requires skill and precision, as well as professional tools such as a wheel balancer. This is a machine able to identify the exact points, on the external or internal side of the wheel, where counterweights must be applied to guarantee the needed balance, as well as to indicate the correct weight. In order to operate, a balancing machine "feeds" itself with data: width and diameter of the wheel and distance between the car and the inner edge of the wheel. This information can be obtained thanks to measuring instruments supplied with the balancer itself. The measurement can also be obtained automatically and without contact, as is the case with balancers equipped with hi-tech devices such as lasers and sonars. Some balancing machines are also equipped with 2D/3D visualization and laser pointers to facilitate the identification of the points where the counterweights need to be applied, and enhanced by software programs and interface systems that simplify the various stages of the process. There is definitely no shortage of options on the market regardless whether the equipment is intended for car, motorcycle and truck wheels. The continuous technological development in the sector has produced a wide range of devices able to meet the most diverse needs in terms of productivity, speed, ease of use and, of course, price.

 

Beissbarth

The MT zero 8 is the latest addition to Beissbarth’s wheel balancing range. Compared to the previous model, MT zero 8 introduces a new method of data acquisition, contactless and completely automatic. When the wheel guard is lowered during the imbalance measurement, the machine automatically selects the balancing program and weight position by recognizing the number of spokes and rim type. Automatic tire positioning ensure that at the end of the measurement the wheel stops exactly where the counterweight must be applied. At the same time, laser indicators are turned on to determine the exact point of application. MT zero 8 introduces the change of balancing plan by pressing twice the pedal, giving the operator time to prepare the next weight to be applied. Further news concerns the diagnostic part: MT zero 8 is able to detect possible problems of eccentricity due to a damaged rim or wrong coupling. At each measuring cycle the eccentricity of the wheel is checked. If any defect is detected, the software guides the operator through to a correct mechanical matching. MT zero 8 can be combined with a lift increasing its ergonomics and ease of use.

 

Butler

Butler Engineering launched Librak, a complete range of wheel balancers for cars and industrial vehicles. Among the specific solutions for car wheels, Librak 3D Tec deserves a noteworthy mention, a computerized electronic wheel balancer equipped with rim profile laser scanner and sonar for automatic detection of wheel dimensions. Thanks to the "AUTO" mode, the machine can autonomously choose the program to be used, detect the number of spokes of the wheel and indicate where to place the counterweights courtesy of a laser pointer. Librak 3d Tec is available in four versions: 430P.3DTEC, 430.3P3DTEC, 380P3DTEC and 380.3P3DTEC. The Butler Librak range also includes the Truck Series, designed to facilitate work on light commercial vehicles. These are equipped with a microprocessor system with self-calibration, self-diagnosis and specific functions for static, dynamic and ALU balancing (for light alloy wheels).

 

Cemb

CEMB offers a wide range of wheel balancing solutions - all distributed in Italy by SIPAV. We start with the smallest ER10, which despite its small size and price, is equipped with an automatic gauge, a rim-width measurement Virtual Sonar and AutoAdaptive software that guarantees the complete elimination of any vibration felt on the steering wheel. Moving up the range, CEMB wheel balancers are also equipped with electromagnetic brake, pneumatic locking system, LA Sonar to replace the Virtual Sonar and lasers to facilitate the application of the counterweights.

The ER70 EVO adds a Led light to illuminate the working area in the internal part of the rim and Spotter Laser for accurate positioning of the counterweights, OPB (One Plane Balancing) program to eliminate both static and dynamic unbalance with a single counterweight, automatic positioning and HubMatch which eliminates the eccentricity of the wheel when this is positioned on the hub. The top of the range ER100 EVO boasts a Touchless wheel distance and diameter measuring system which, combined with the external radial laser for width measurement, detects with 3D precision the dimensions of any profile, even the most complex; no intervention of the operator. CEMB's wide range of wheel balancers for truck wheels also includes the only truck balancer in the world equipped with a pneumatic locking system with C202SE. Mobile service is guaranteed by the C30 digital wheel balancer and the Paguro P1 and P2 portable wheel balancers, for cars and trucks respectively.

 

Corghi

The Corghi EM9780C Plus AutomaticLine wheel balancer is part of the contactless range, which works without ever touching the wheel. Designed for tire service centres, dealers, garages and car manufacturers with a high work rate, thanks to its extreme ease of use it is also ideal for less experienced operators. EM9780 C Plus is "fully automatic": no manual operation is required of the operator. Equipped with a combined system consisting of an internal laser sensor and an external non-contact sonar sensor, EM9780 C Plus automatically detects the size of the wheels without any assistance by the operator. It has an intuitive interface and a 22" industrial touch-sensitive screen that makes operation fast and easy. EM9780 C Plus locks the wheel in place, illuminates the working area inside the rim and a pointing laser indicates the exact point of application of the counterweights. In addition, the new “Hidden Weight” programme divides the external side balancing adhesive weight into two equivalent weights hidden behind the spokes. A completely autonomous operation, while the new electromechanical automatic wheel locking system reduces working time and increases centring accuracy.  Available as standard are the Weight Management suite and programs such as Less Weight, which reduces working time (20%) and the amount of counterweights used (30%), increasing economic benefits and environmental protection. The machine can be equipped with the WiNut, an automatic clamping system with wireless technology and the special Sonar RunOut Kit (Sonar RRO kit) that adds diagnostic functions.

 

Cormach

The Cormach catalogue includes several types of electronic wheel balancers for cars, motorcycles and trucks. TOUCH MEC 1000-P RLC SONAR, for example, is a touchscreen electronic wheel balancer with a special RLC system for detecting the radial and lateral eccentricity of the wheel. Features of the MEC 820 VDLL model, on the other hand, are the LCD monitor and the integrated scissor lift electronically controlled by the machine’s software. In both machines, the width is measured automatically through a sonar device, while a laser indicator points to where the counterweights must go. Furthermore, an innovative probe detects diameter and distance data, which automatically activates the ALU SPECIAL balancing program without using the keyboard.

MEC 200 Truck widens the range of action and can balance the wheels of light commercial vehicles, trucks and buses, setting two different and specific rotation speeds: car/off-road or truck. It also comes with an LCD display, inverter brake with automatic imbalance search and integrated pneumatic scissor lift with manual control. MOTO MEC, on the other hand, is specific for motorcycle wheels. It features a double wheel-balancing program (static and dynamic) and a motorbike flange calibration system that guarantees more precise readings.

 

Fasep

The latest generation balancer V788 Cayman from Fasep is strictly designed and manufactured in Italy. The perfect synthesis of high performance and ease of use, the V788 Cayman is an "all-inclusive" solution for fast and precise balancing: integrated 3D Touchless input system for automatic acquisition of wheel data, three lasers to facilitate the application of adhesive or clip-on weights, TOP LIGHT and LED LIGHT systems to best illuminate the work area. Thanks to the 22" touch screen interface, each step is carried out by the operator easily and intuitively. Maximum centring accuracy is ensured by the 3 Piezo Fasep measuring system. Safety and ease of use are guaranteed by the new positioning of the Pneu-lock and Brake controls, controlled by two easily accessible pedals. Fasep’s V788 Cayman fully meets all the requirements of the national Industry 4.0 plan: it is equipped with an exclusive 3D.Wall system which allows the measurement of the profile of tire and run-out of tire and rim, as well as the measurement of Side Slip of tire. The system's software suggests to the operator the best wheel position on the car to compensate the run-out.

 

Giuliano Group

Giuliano Group's range of wheel balancers includes several solutions. The car S 840, S 850 and S 855 EVO Plus were designed to work on car tires. The S 840 is an electronic automatic 3D digital wheel balancer with 19" TFT colour screen, automatic calibration systems, wheel locking device and a new wheel guard concept. It comes with all kinds of balancing programs for special wheels and aluminium rims (ALU and ALU-S) and a program to minimize the need of correction weights. The S 850 and S 855 EVO Plus wheel balancers are both equipped with 19" colour TFT touchscreen, new wheel guard, pneumatic wheel locking, automatic calibration and sonar detectors for wheel width and radial runout. Equipped with special programs for balancing weight minimization, statistics of the used weights, residual dynamic imbalance notice, correct positioning of each balanced tire on vehicle. S 855 EVO Plus is also equipped with sonar detectors for automatic measurements of wheel width (LA) and radial run out (ROM), Laser Line for exact positioning of clip weights and Laser Pointer for exact positioning of adhesive weights. LED light beam to illuminate the inside of the rim to enable positioning of adhesive weight. S 810 BIKE is a digital wheel balancer with LED display specifically designed for motorcycle wheels. Heavy duty vehicles, on the other hand, can rely on the electronic 2D digital wheel balancer S 860 (for vehicles up to 250 kg) and the portable model S 861.

 

Hoffman

The leading edge in Hoffman's catalogue is represented by the Geodyna 7850-2p and Geodyna 8250-2p models. Designed to handle high volumes, the Geodyna 7850-2p is intended for operators who strive for greater productivity in addition to precision and reliability. It can handle wheels up to 42" in diameter with a maximum weight of up to 70 kg. It also integrates a BW 4030 lift able to improve productivity also thanks to its exceptional ergonomics of use that, besides placing less strain on the operator, limits the duration of the balancing cycle. It also comes with a touchscreen monitor, laser scanner for automatic and non-contact detection of distance and diameter of the rim, and easyWEIGHT laser pointer for weight positioning.

The new Geodyna 8250-2p is designed to quickly detect any vibration, including those caused by radial run-out. This is measured during the balancing cycle itself. The geometric matching of the wheel necessary to minimize vibrations. The patented measuring system with VPM (Virtual Plane Measurement) technology is both accurate and robust.

Finally, both models are equipped with the patented Power Clamp locking device thanks to which the wheel is electromechanically locked with a constant force on wheels up to 42", reducing the possibility of residual weight, as well as with the QuickBal system which compresses the start-stop balancing cycle in just 4.5 seconds (for a 15" rim) with a 30% reduction in cycle time, given the same precision.

 

M&B

M&B, a company active in the production of tire changers, has been investing in the development of wheel balancers for some time now. Present on the Italian market with a range of specific solutions for all kinds of vehicles, the Top of the range is the MB800P, a fully automatic wheel balancer that allows contactless measurement of distance and diameter and is equipped with sonar to detect automatically the rim width. High precision is guaranteed by the laser pointer and the laser line on the upper part of the wheel that facilitate the correct application of adhesive and spring counterweights. The MB500 and MB600 models, the first digital and the second a video balancer, are equipped with an automatic gauge to measure distance and diameter and with sonar for automatic detection of rim width. Both balancers are equipped with Automatic Approach system: automatic wheel stop close to the points of application of correction weights and electric brake to lock the wheel in position. MB500 comes with a laser line while MB600 has a more precise Laser Spotter. Both are available with manual and pneumatic locking. On the other hand, MB300, MB330 and MB400 appear immediately more compact. The first is a manual locking digital entry level equipped with automatic gauge for the automatic measurement of distance and diameter and a 3D measuring system replacing the Sonar. MB330 adds an electric brake to lock the wheel and to ease the application of weights. Finally, MB400 is a computerized electronic balancing machine that combines enhanced performance with reduced size. Differently from the two previous models, this comes with a laser line.

 

Mondolfo Ferro

Among the balancers offered by Mondolfo Ferro the MT3800C Up Touchscreen stands out, a microprocessor electronic wheel balancer with 22" touchscreen monitor display. Among the news, we find a new digital gauge for the acquisition of the diameter and distance with the Autoselect Up function and new integrated LaserBlade pointer: the Autoselect Up function automatically activates the balancing program, while the LaserPlane pointer (inside the measuring arm) guides the operator in choosing the level within the alloy rim without any errors and with extremely good visibility. MT3800C Up Touchscreen is equipped with laser illuminator and indicator, auto-positioning at the end of the spin, a Space-saving wheel guard designed to allow wheel balancer wall mounting as well holding wheels up to a maximum diameter of 44”. The Easy Weight programme suite which includes, among others, also the Minimum Weight software, comes as standard and helps to reduce, also through the analysis of the different threshold values, the number of weights based on vehicle type: fast or slow (unique on the market). A special vehicle tire set diagnostic tool Easy Tire Set is offered as optional. Once all wheel data are stored, MT3800up suggests their optimal positioning on the vehicle for maximum comfort and vehicle safety

 

Officine meccaniche Sirio

Sirio Equiment balancing machines are available in different models to meet different needs. The "standard" line includes the S2140R with automatic spin when cover is lowered. The arm stores the positions for balancing correction and pedal brake to keep the wheel stopped during weight positioning. The wheel balancer S2119RFM offers in addition a calliper for automatic distance and diameter measurement. S2116R, S2117R, S2118R and S2119R have low-speed interactive logic controls. They combine limited space and professional performance with an exceptional quality/price ratio.  The "professional" range includes two proposals, S3140 and S4140, both with touchscreen, LED illuminators, laser pointers and sonar for measuring wheel width. On the other hand, Sirio’s proposals for commercial vehicles is the S4140RTLC and S4140RTL, microprocessor system with self-calibration, self-diagnosis and specific functions for static, dynamic and ALU balancing (for light alloy wheels), measurement with low rotation speed. Mobile services can rely on models such as the S2120M and S2120MC.

 

Omcn

OMCN has developed an entire line of products designed for wheel balancing: ROLLline. The latest additions to the range are the ROLL60 and ROLL68 wheel balancers, suitable for operating on motorcycle, car and even truck wheels. ROLL60 is equipped with Internal electronic measuring arm for rim distance, diameter and wheel adhesive weights’ positioning, electric brake, automatic braking when reaching the position and wheel guard. ROLL68 boasts a laser point for exact positioning of the weights, LED light beam to illuminate the inside of the rim. The ergonomic design of the ROLL68 also guarantees the best access inside the rim. Both machines are equipped with Virtual Sonar for automatic calculation of wheel width and automatic programs. They also perform the balancing cycle in just five seconds, as well as self-calibration and self-diagnosis.

 

Ravaglioli

With a wide range of balancing machines, Ravaglioli meets the most diverse needs of the sector. Among the most sophisticated options, we find the G7 SCAN and G4 SCAN series. Developed to guarantee high levels of precision and performance, in automatic mode the two machines do not require any action by the operator reducing cycle times and potential errors. Weights are precisely applied thanks to automatic positioning. Thanks to the software and the large 19" touchscreen with 3D graphics, the operator is guided step-by-step and has the entire process under control. The two machines are equipped with sonar for wheel size detection and with scanner and laser pointer for profile detection. Ravaglioli also produces and markets motorcycle solutions, such as G2.116 and G2.114 Bike, and heavy vehicles, such as GTL4.140RC, GPTL4.140RC and GTL2.120RC. The latter, in particular, are equipped with a microprocessor system programmed for self-calibration, self-diagnosis and specific functions for static, dynamic and ALU (alloy wheels) balancing. The range is completed by the "extra light" GT2.Movi wheel balancer for road assistance.

 

Sicam

SBM WAVE 7 ranks as the most recent proposal from Sicam. Created by FYRELAB, Sicam’s research lab, the new Sicam wheel balancer is equipped with leading-edge sensors for detecting wheel (rim and tire) width, reading the number of spokes and measuring the rim diameter, to indicate the exact placing of weights of all kinds. Among the main features of the SBM WAVE 7 we find: ROI (Run Out Interface) sonar - combines two sonars that, by scanning the wheel, finds the perfect combination of weights between tire and rim -; LSU (Laser Scanner Unit), smart solution that recognizes the profile and type of rim and indicates the exact point where to apply the weights; OSD (Dynamic Unbalance Optimization). Sicam SBM WAVE 7 represents the perfect union between precision and technology: thanks to the automatic positioning and locking system of the wheel, assisted by the laser indicator, the application of the weight for balancing is always precise. In addition, the SBM WAVE 7 is equipped with an innovative self-diagnosis program. Further features of the new SBM WAVE 7 are the monitor with touchscreen technology, anti-dazzle and reactive even when using gloves, a smart pedal (just a single clamping and release pedal). Finally, Sicam SBM WAVE 7 offers not only precision but also speed: the balancing cycle is performed in just six seconds.

 

Space

Efficiency and cost effectiveness are the key words when speaking of Space's ER 255R, ERP 255R, ER 280 and ER 320 wheel balancers, all equipped with a modern balancing system to reduce counterweight consumption. The ER 255R and ERP 255R can start-up from the keyboard and with the guard lowered and allows inspection run with the wheel guard raised, has a multi-operator function and a pedal brake for locking the wheel in the exact position where the weights must be placed. ER 280 and ER 320 models have an optical reader digital gauge with aluminium rod on bushings and TFT SVGA 19" colour monitor with 3D graphics. Ease of use is a strong point of the ER 248R wheel balancer: operations can be carried out using only five function keys. The operator is guided by graphic icons on the 1/16 VGA backlit LCD graphic display. The ER 238 RFM, on the other hand, is a balancing machine with interactive logical commands and a backlit LCD graphic display.  The range of Space wheel balancers is completed by the ERL - Truck series, which allow to work on truck wheels, and a specific wheel balancers for motorcycle, the ER 150H and ER 160H.

 

Werther International

The range of wheel balancers designed by Werther Internationl is wide and comprehensive. The brand's latest generation of high-performance wheel balancers is called Mercure and includes the 100, 200, 300 and 400 versions. The latter, in particular, is ideal for intensive work rates. The family also includes Mercure Truck, designed to balance truck and bus wheels, as well as cars and motorcycles, thanks to the double rotation speed system automatically selected according to the type of wheel.  Olimp 2500, on the other hand, is an electronic wheel balancer with dual display that can work on virtually any vehicle, from cars and motorbikes to light commercial vehicles, but also trucks and busses thanks to a pneumatic wheel lifter. The Alpha range includes 3D wheel balancers for cars, motorcycles and light commercial vehicles, models 2040 and 4040, and also the 5050 LP, a computerized wheel balancer with 3D "rim touchless" technology for cars and light commercial vehicles.

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