Egea: taking stock of the situation at the six-monthly meeting
The French national association of car equipment, GIEG, represented by its president Thierry Coton, hosted on May 9 and 10, in the beautiful setting of Marseille, the six-monthly Assembly of EGEA (European Association of Garage Equipment) which dealt with the large amount of activities currently under way. President Dave Garratt, of GEA (UK), started the proceedings with an overview of the PROSAFE survey on garage lifts safety. PROSAFE is a grouping of market surveillance authorities from several European countries that from time to time carry out CE marking compliance research on specific products. This time PROSAFE has decided to focus on garage lifts choosing the two most popular models, two-posts lifts and the scissor lifts. The survey, carried out in a number of EU countries on products from EU and non-EU suppliers, showed discouraging results: only 6 out of 47 lifts were fully compliant; 31 showed at least one non-compliance and 10 showed even more than that. The resulting scenario led EGEA to ask the European Commission to tighten the necessary market surveillance.
Moving on to inspection equipment, WG6’s group leader Massimo Mambrilla of AICA announced the completion of the new EGEA standard for suspension-testing. This new standard will be presented to both European and national authorities as a proposal to include suspension tests in MOT inspections, thus obtaining a complete estimate on the safety standard of the vehicle. As far as diagnosis and access to data, work is in progress and would require a dedicated series of articles. In a nutshell, both the OBD port and the problems currently created by manufacturers such as FCA, not to mention the Extended Vehicle controversy, are now a daily activity for EGEA and its working group 2 headed by AICA's Elvis Colla. But this is not all: among other things, the official proposal by the European Commission in favour of the adoption of the SERMI protocol and ISO 18541 represent for EGEA an important step in favour of non-discriminatory access to diagnosis, long overdue and postponed far too many times; still in progress, albeit rather slow, the definition of standards for the so-called ePTI (electronic revisions) provide some hope for a successful conclusion of the work in the near future.
Recently EGEA created a new ADAS working group, as illustrated by Pete Bradley of ASA (D). There is no need to dwell on the growing importance of ADAS (Electronic Driver Assistance Systems) and their impact on vehicle safety; the whole industry is literally fibrillating and the working group aims to develop proposals for new calibration methods as well as tests on the same, both for workshops and future periodic inspections.
As far as emissions tests, there is renewed interest from the competent authorities in many European countries. Georges Petelet of GIEG (F) reported on ongoing studies in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. Germany and the Netherlands have already announced the adoption of a particulate test in MOT inspections by 2021 and the product standard is being finalised. We hope that Italy too will soon follow suit: measuring the amount of particulate matter, besides ensuring compliance with the legal limits, allows to check whether the FAP filter is properly installed and functioning. Unfortunately, no news have been reported on the conclusion of the regulatory procedure regarding the safety standard for tire changers; the CEN has, quite inexplicably, failed to launched the public consultation. EGEA and the national committees will try to ensure that, after so much work, things will go ahead quickly.
Following this, the various national associations that are members of EGEA took turns in illustrating their activities. Frank Beaujean, President of ASA - Germany, described a highly positive market situation, due to factors such as a complete makeover of the MOT inspection lines as a result of adjustments on periodic checks. Frank Beaujean also welcomed the ASA-AICA agreement for the joint collection and processing of market data in Germany and Italy, which, once fully operative, will be extended to all other national associations wishing to join. Finally, AsanetworkGmbH informs that it has approved a new statute that extends shareholding to other European companies in order to strengthen and develop the protocol in a "European" direction.
It was then the time for AICA to illustrate the most important activity of the moment, Autopromotec, where the IAM 19 conference represented the most important global event for the industry in 2019. On the other hand, AICA points out that a woeful scenario exists in Italy as far as vehicle inspection are concerned, with the hope that the deadlock will soon end, and the expected heavy duty MOT inspector courses will finally get under way. Next up, the treasurer, Leon Andriessen of RAI (NL) who assured the audience on the healthy economic and financial situation of the association, such as to facilitate plans for renewing the Secretariat. The space allotted to Autopromotec and Automechanika, sponsors of EGEA, saw Autopromotec's Margarita Kalinovskaia illustrate the 2019 exhibition and related globalization activities with a special focus on China. The Assembly ended with the announcement of the next appointments: General Assemblies in October 2019 and May 2020 in Brussels and September 2020 in Frankfurt, with the certainty that in the meantime the association’s activities, will enjoy further developments given the trends and changes sweeping through the sector.
The EU Commission proposes the adoption of the Iso 18541 and Sermi protocols
The European Commission recently presented an official proposal for the adoption of the ISO 18541 standard (Repair and Maintenance Information Standard - RMI) and the SERMI protocol in the European legislation and, to this end, launched a validation, adoption and implementation process. The news will surely please the independent aftermarket sector, which has long been waiting for such an initiative. This could be a pillar for prompt and non-discriminatory access to technical data, although, as usual, much remains to be done on the availability of information from car manufacturers. SERMI, just to summarize the events, was launched back in 2013 as a solution for the duplication of keys, both physical and electronic, so that any car repairer, even independent, could offer its services. The mechanism, similar to that of credit cards, is based on the accreditation of the garage and the operator at an independent "trust centre", guarantor of identity, legality and legitimacy of access. The accredited operator and garage will then be able to access the car diagnosis through enabled diagnostic devices, including multi-brand devices. SERMI thus guarantees the safety of the work and its complete traceability. But unfortunately SERMI has not yet seen the light and, among the causes, at least in our opinion, one prevails: the ill-concealed hostility by car manufacturers. It is no coincidence then, that they continue to display great reluctance towards topics such as computer security and the legitimacy of access, topics that are certainly very important, but also technically solvable. It is worth noting, in fact, with regard to the legitimacy of access, that there are objective criteria for the qualification of garages, based on their structure, know-how and start-up, all that is needed is to apply them and update them regularly following the dynamics of the sector.
New regulation implementing MOT inspection directives announced by the European Commission
On 17 April, the European Commission announced the new Regulation implementing Directive 2014/45 on inspections. The new regulation, though, is still a preliminary draft without numerical designation, and concerns the technical information necessary for regular MOT inspections, their use in tests and the data format and related access procedures. Directive 2014/45, in fact, provides that vehicle manufacturers, responsible for the technical data necessary for the inspections, must make these data available to the testing centres and the competent national authorities, but the Directive does not go as far as describing them. This important regulatory gap when thus be filled once into force. The set of technical data identified by the Regulation is vast and varied and covers the majority of vehicle systems: braking, steering, visibility, headlights, electronic equipment, axles, wheels, chassis, noise and more as listed in Annex I point 3 of Directive 2015/45/EU. The draft of the new regulation consists of two documents, the actual regulation and an annex describing the data format and access procedures. Besides welcoming the new Regulation, it should be noted that it is only a part of the necessary standardizations in the field. The Regulation in fact defines data and access procedures but does not standardise them, rather difficult at this stage, but this has at least two consequences. The first is that the lack of a standard makes data management potentially complex and less secure; the second is that the recipients, the MOT centres and national authorities, will have to deal with different formats, protocols and interfaces, all of which will then have to be managed in order to arrive at the needed technical data. In conclusion, authorities will have to provide also for a homogeneous database accessible to operators and inspection equipment, which will have to be increasingly connected and inter-operated; it is no coincidence then, that Autopromotec 2019 highlighted what must be considered a common thread for the industry: connectivity.