Articles - Archive

Increasingly connected


Autopromotec special: garage equipment


Catenaccio: The focus on increasingly complex on-board electronic systems does not make us forget traditional equipment, such as car lifts or tire changers. Here, too, however, IT is massively involved in measuring parameters and control systems 


Massimo Condolo

During the recent Autopromotec fair, instruments designed to calibrate advanced driver assistance systems held the stage. No matter what the topic of discussion is, ultimately IT ends up being the talk of the town, with all sorts of devices and equipment designed for the workshop 4.0, able to exchange data and undergo remote diagnosis and updating procedures.


Diagnosis, new frontiers

Diagnostic systems still have a role to play even in its more “traditional” forms, as demonstrated by Texa’s Infoconnect. It is not a device in itself, rather a service available to all users of Axone Nemo and Axone 5 diagnostics tools with IDS5 operating system and Windows PC diagnostics. Once connected to the network, remote diagnosis starts, though under the watchful eye of a Texa technician. This is a useful procedure for resolving cases lacking specific updates, but also in case of particularly complex and unusual operations. Diagnostics systems, however, are being upgraded  due to on-board networks, where the Ethernet Bus works alongside the slower and more traditional Can-Bus. Texa’s answer is called DoIPNode (the acronym stands for Diagnosis over Internet Protocol) and is a small hardware communication unit (7x12x14 cm) that connects the Ethernet Bus to the Navigator TXTs and Nano S communication modules, with automatic detection of transmission protocols. HellaGutmann Solutions expands the capabilities of its Mega Macs 56 and 77 car diagnostic systems to include motorbikes, with a specific Bike software and a module located at the rear of the instrument. There are 26 different adapters available for motorcycle Can-bus networks; the software has recently made its way on the newest models by BMW, Ducati, Peugeot scooters and Triumph. The company itself is constantly updating its diagnostic database and processes towards hybrid, plug-in and fully-electric vehicles. Nowadays, over 400 European and Asian vehicles are covered; updating functions have been combined with the expansion of courses dedicated to technicians held at the Hella Academy in Caleppio di Settala (MI), which concern both experts (PES) and operators (PAV), instructed ("warned", in bureaucratic terms) on the potential dangers involved, particularly with regard to high voltage. Still from HellaGutmann Solutions comes the Macs Live, a real-time diagnostic system that reads data from moving vehicles and sends the info to a cloud every 240 seconds; from there, workshop personnel can retrieve the needed data. This makes it possible to accurately diagnose even occasional malfunctions or failures and to be ready to operate, with the right spare parts, when the vehicle reaches the workshop. The system works with cars and light commercial vehicles. There is also room on the market for simple, economical and practical tools such as the Sun PDL 3200 and 4100, which allow a complete analysis of the main parameters and boast an excellent coverage of currently used systems as well as the vehicles in circulation: 32 car manufacturers, with models dating from 2000 to the present day, 100 systems including TPMS, Adas, hybrid vehicle traction circuit. They offer quick maintenance functions (such as replacing brake fluid) and maintain the charge of the vehicle's lithium-ion batteries. The 4100, ready to work within 5 seconds from activation, can monitor, simultaneously, 8 parameters in real time (4 if the graphic display is chosen). Alongside diagnostic computers there is still some room for traditional stand-alone devices, such as the infrared diagnostic camera Sun, which makes the heat visible on the image of the framed object which can be used on a vast range of components: engine parts, heated seats, brake callipers. The image shows 4800 temperature zones and can measure the temperature up to 448°C. Tecnomotor, on the other hand, introduced a totally new device. Called the iOne Cruiser, it connects directly to the vehicle's EOBD socket; it has no internal batteries (their function is performed by a super-capacitor) and therefore does not require replacing or maintenance. The iOne Cruiser communicates with the operator via an android tablet, with a rugged workshop hardware and a 10.1" screen with 1280x800 pixel graphics resolution, or with any Android 7.0 tablet or Windows 10 PC. Updates are received wirelessly or via cable through the USB 2.0 port of the iOne Cruiser; a torch powered by the super-capacitor and a multicoloured LED indicating the operating status of the equipment complete its features. 


Adas, calibrating complex systems

Several times in the past, as manufacturers progressively unveiled their latest efforts in this field, we dealt with Adas calibration systems, used to restore the correct values in sensors entrusted with warning the driver before an impending frontal collision, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure control, blind spot monitoring, automatic parking assistance, adaptive headlights, high beams activation and dimming and so on. In Bologna we saw Beissbarth’s VAS 6430, one of the many devices that the company dedicates specifically to servicing vehicles belonging to the Volkswagen group. It can be installed permanently (the VAS 6430P) but it is also available in a transportable version (the VAS 6430), easy to install and designed, among other things, to systematically check the vehicle fleet of a dealer or a rental company. Texa further improved its range of calibration systems with its RCSS2 system for cameras and radars. It works with a laser level that takes the front logo of the vehicle as reference, a central base and two laser pointers. The system can use self-centring clamps on the tire or on the rim with four CCD auxiliary sensors. This version, besides guaranteeing absolute measurement precision, allows to control and certify the wheel alignment. The different components communicate with each other wirelessly; everything is supervised by the Alignment Check software, which controls both the positioning of the instrument and the alignment. The operating system is Texa IDC 5, with step-by-step procedures. In addition, the company offers two ADAS specialist courses, DC 9C and DC 9T, and a dedicated call centre. Brain Bee, a Parma-based brand recently acquired by a German company, Mahle, is working towards the simplification of the calibration processes. The Connex Digital Adas, which will be sold under both brands, simplifies calibration by replacing the optical panels with a 65" TV screen. It is no longer necessary to reposition the panels, but simply to adapt the image on the screen to the position of the car, thus allowing the system to calibrate itself, greatly reducing the time needed for ADAS calibration: it will take three minutes. 

Ravaglioli garage lifts come with a software on tablet that includes database and tutorial to control a vehicle’s set up and two kits of panels to be used with Autel and Texa calibration systems. Still by Ravaglioli, two lifting platforms for assembling engines and gearboxes. Completely foot-operated. The integrated descent brake valve allows an exact control of the lowering speed; they are called KT100 and KT100L and have a load capacity of 1000 kg, a stroke of 1330 mm. The VARIODESK supporting platform surface, which is not only extensive but also offers diverse adjustment possibilities due to a flexibility of ± 20 mm in x and y-axle and a tilting angle of ± 2°; the KT100L ± 3.5°. From OMCN, the new trolley-mounted Vision 45 wheel aligner, offers a digital accelerometer and a universal software for ADAS calibration. The Vision series is also enriched by a simpler and more compact model with 3D technology, with motorized crossbar that adapts to the lift. The Corghi Pro Adas, on the other hand, focuses on a compact, ergonomic and easy-to-use system (a single employee can perform all operations from the same location) and versatility (it is suitable for cars and commercial vehicles alike, and can also be used with vehicles positioned on the lift). It is also compatible with all CCD wheel aligner systems produced by the Nexion group. It performs all the calibration procedures required by the manufacturers and prints a complete report with vehicle and customer data, vehicle inbound status, correct calibration of the control system, calibration results, toe-in and camber (with AllInOne software) and vehicle outbound status. Corghi also launched the new R.E.M.O. 4C control system, with four independent and automatic units of measurement based on infrared cameras with a resolution of 34.8 million pixels, which automatically position themselves in front of the wheel. This contactless technology does not require adapters or brackets, it measures and compares data on both axles in real time, does not require preliminary adjustments, can work without the operator being present and is suitable for cars and light commercial vehicles with a wheel base ranging from 1500 to 5000 mm. The process starts with the simple touch of a button and the measured data is compared with the correct factory data through the Contactless True Live Data system. The R.E.M.O.4C can detect the total alignment (front and rear axles) up to ± 18° (± 9° per axis), camber up to ± 10°, thrust angle up to ± 3°, steering angle difference up to ± 24°.


Rescuing your engine

The Hy-carbon Unit by French manufacturer FlexFuel, is an interesting device for removing engine clogging, especially in diesel cars, vans and trucks. With a cleaning cycle of 60 minutes, Hy-Carbon removes carbon deposits from deep inside engines by injecting hydrogen into the intake manifold, dissolving the impurities deposited in the engine and expelling them through the exhaust. In addition to improving vehicle emissions, this equipment makes it possible to compensate lost performance, due to clogged valves, injectors, turbocharger, EGR valve and particulate filter. It also prevents mechanical failure as a result of overpressure and friction. The equipment is compact, contained in a trolley similar in size and weight to the one traditionally used for A/C recharging stations. It does not use any consumable chemicals (as is the case with conventional cleaning processes, where an additive is added to the fuel); the equipment is available for sale or lease. The TexaKonfort 712R, an A/C charging systems designed for top-of-the-range vehicles, is also a portable workshop equipment. Fully automatic, it removes contaminant and even removes oil weighing it at the same time. The 712R allows you to reduce your investment thanks to the modular configuration that can grow over time installing, for example, a kit to automatically identify the refrigerant or to switch from refrigerant R134a to R1234yf.


Head-light testers, now “intelligent”

Even a seemingly ordinary instrument such as a head-light tester has to adapt to the technological complexity of modern vehicles. This is demonstrated by the Texa eLight One, which integrates its normal optical functions with diagnostic devices such Axone 5 and Axone Nano (alternatively the company offers the One D stand-alone version with 7" TFT display). The Fresnel lens used to control the light beams is designed for large headlights, at least larger than what is commonly found on modern cars. It uses CMOS and laser sensors and works with both self-adaptive headlights and glare-free beams. The Beissbarth MLD 815 and MLD 9000 head-light testers are suitable for all lighting systems including glare-free headlamps: halogen, xenon, bi-xenon, LED, bi-Led; alignment is guaranteed by a laser while the Cmos camera and display guarantee real-time image analysis. The MLD 815 is also available in a specific variant for official Ford workshops, with dedicated software for in-depth analysis of the Ford Dynamic Led system. The SEG V from HellaGutmann Solutions is a head-light testing system with Cmos cameras, suitable for any light from traditional incandescent to LED and laser lights. Placed on rails (four x 1.5 m in basic configuration), it automatically compensates for any ground irregularity of up to 20 mm or 2%. Suitable for motorcycles, cars, trucks and agricultural vehicles and special vehicles headlights standing at 1.2 m from the ground.


Changing and balancing

The Beissbarth MS 500S, MS 530S, MS 630S and MS 650S tire changers have been designed to accommodate wheels of up to 20" (MS 500S), 22" (MS 530S), 24" (MS 630S) and 28" (MS 650S), and besides featuring improved ergonomic controls they including a foot pedal that simplifies operation control. It may be noteworthy mentioning their compact dimensions and servo-assistance systems to facilitate mounting the wheel. The company also offers a “giant” tire changers, such as the MS 80, which can operate on truck, farming, heavy duty tires measuring up to 2.9 m in diameter and weighing up to 2.8 tonnes; it has a patented six-clamp fastening system and automatic tool centring. A dedicated line for the Volkswagen group includes a new products called VAS 741 035 (Tilting back tire changer with helper arm Tecnoroller NG designed for medium volume workshops), 037 (Tire changer with tire lever-less system – TLL -  designed for high wheel service volume workshops), 047 (without helper arm, wheel lift) and 061 (automatic, with wheel tilting and suitable for wheels up to 30"). The Ravaglioli GTB16 Evo tire changer is suitable for 11” to 27" truck and agricultural wheels (diameter up to 1320 mm, width up to 540 mm, including super-single tires) and is able to mount or dismount a wheel in 30 seconds thanks to the four bead breakers (made of synthetic material so as not to damage the rim) and the bi-directional chucking unit. The two OMCN Grip 23 and 26 tire changers (the 26 with IronArm for sportier wheels) are two automatic machines, fast and robust. Corghi replies with its new Artiglio Master 28, a series of lever-less tire changers. Available in two versions with manual wheel clamping or pneumatic wheel clamping and can be equipped with a lift (optional) that automatically positions the wheel on the self-centring turn-table. The lever-less technology, whose function is now carried out by a demounting tool head with a dynamic bead breaking device with dual bead breaker disc (with automatic spring return), makes it possible never to touch the wheel throughout the operation. The control console is divided into three distinct work areas and makes it easier to immediately recognize movements making the system easier to use for the operator. The Artiglio Master 28 can work with wheels ranging from 13” to 28", and tires with a diameter of up to 1100 mm. The Beissbarth wheel balancers have also been given a number of new features, all of which with the goal of reducing operation time. The MT Zero 6  with Sonar Spoke detection and laser weight positioning. The balancing operation is carried out in three seconds. It is controlled by an interactive 22" touch-screen and can work on wheels ranging from 10” to 30". The MT 849 and 869 balance the wheel in six seconds and are intended for workshops with very fast work cycles and allow rapid loading and unloading of the machine. They are controlled by a 19" monitor with a quick selection program and have a "stop on top" function that stops the wheel in the correct position for placing the weights. Suitable for wheels up to 1200 mm in diameter and 80 kg in weight. The MT 857L works with a 19" touch screen monitor, has a sonar spoke detector and a laser display for the counterweights in a vertical position. The new range also includes two sonar-less models, the MT 847L and MT 837L. The VAS 741 051 (with 19" TFT display) and 049 (with simplified graphic Led interface) are specifically designed for Volkswagen vehicles and perform their job in 6 seconds. The John Beam V2260 and V2280 wheel aligners use new generation cameras with automatic tracking (on 2280) and automatically update the software. The main functions are grouped together on the home screen and the system compensates for continuous positioning errors.

Four new balancers from Ravaglioli: the G2 120R, 121R, 121 RFM and 140R, with sotware guided balancing. All with automatic spin when cover is lowered. The arm stores the positions for balancing correction: automatic programs for ALU S wheels. Guided rim/tire optimisation process. Pedal brake to keep the wheel stopped during weight positioning. The G2 140 R has a control monitor. On the 120 R and 140 R, the heavy-duty shaft allows to work on wheels with an offset of up to 270 mm. OMCN, instead brought two new wheel balancers with Virtual Sonar system, LED lighting and laser guided weight placement.


MOT inspections systems

The Beissbarth Series 4 brake testers can mount 700 or 1000 mm wide rollers; they are controlled with an app on a tablet and can be expanded to a fully automatic test lane with suspension tester and PC visualization. The ICperform software is simple and intuitive in its graphics; the brake-tester can also be remote-controlled with a kit integrated in the machine's hardware or external. In the line of equipment with official Volkswagen approval, intended to equip the official workshops of the German manufacturer, Beissbarth offers the four-posts lift VAS 772 001 4285 mm long and 2940 wide, suitable also for measurements and calibrations. It can work with an alignment system equipped with 3D stereo camera and optical targets (works on signal triangulation), which can be set up in two minutes; the entire alignment set up process lasts seven minutes. The four models available are called VAS 6767, VAG 1813F and 1995K, VAS 6595. For the 6767, various specific accessories are available for measuring the characteristic angles of Porsches, while the 1813 and 1995 models have self-powered wheel measurement units and connections to other workshop equipment with Windows operating systems. Finally, the laptop-guided VAS 6595, connected to other equipment. The Quattrolift 4000WA is the name of the new John Beam lift, suitable for cars and commercial vehicles. The integrated rear sliding plates guarantee that a four wheel alignment can be performed on all vehicles with wheel bases from 1350 mm up to 4150 mm. Offers the perfect combination for wheel alignment of all vehicles thanks to the turntables that can be placed in several positions and the rear oscillating ramps. The latter with an angle of 10° allow access to vehicles with a lowered set up and contain the total length of the device in 5.4 metres. The two Ravaglioli KPH 370.42 and KPN 235 two-posts lifts belong to the LLK series and are suitable for Quick Fit rapid pad system (minimum height 73 and 76 mm for the two models). Due to their characteristics, they are ideal for very low super sports cars. The 370.42 offers a 2922mm width between the posts, which on the 235 can vary from 2800 to 3200 mm.

The Ravaglioli 262 AGR lifting system with two mobile posts is dedicated to agricultural vehicles, with the main post weighing 510 kg and a secondary post weighing 460 kg. Suitable for lifting vehicles up to 8500 kg in 135 seconds. Lightweight 4605L and 4665L car and commercial vehicle lifts (5000 and 6500 kg capacity respectively) have protected hydraulic cylinders, ropes with automatic mechanical lock every 100 mm and self-lubricating pulleys. They integrate a clearance  control with a 2.6 kW hydraulic motor and a pressure of 210 bar, which makes the plates move longitudinally and transversely by 100 mm in 1.2 seconds as per European standards, together with a combined movement that takes 1.8 seconds. The two new OMCN lifts are the 199/EV, electromechanical with components in composite material dedicated to electric vehicles, with a large space for manoeuvring under the frame designed to replace the battery pack, and the 551 capable of lifting even the heaviest SUVs to one metre off the ground, facilitating tire replacement operations.

back to archive