09. Because of the substantial time and cost saving, vehicles are being serviced or repaired on site, significantly reducing driver and vehicle down time which in turn lessens the impact on productivity.
However, for a vehicle repairer to be able to provide a mobile service of this kind, his van will have to be a fully kitted out workshop.
As well as the usual compliment of spanners, sockets and screwdrivers, part of his `specialist` tool selection might include a portable diesel smoke meter like the Bowmonk SmokeCheck for testing exhaust emissions or the 13 amp powered Bowmonk 2500 IHS induction heater for applying a flameless heat source to heat up seized components.
Part of the mobile mechanics job role is likely to be performing interim safety inspections as required by the Traffic Commission, and this will include a service and parking brake test, for which the approved portable decelerometer, the Bowmonk BrakeCheck, would be used.
Bowmonk have been manufacturing portable brake testing equipment for some 50 years, and if you’re not running an ATF or van testing station, but you send vehicles for testing, your pass rates would be better with an in-house brake tester, such as the BrakeCheck. Granted, there is a wide choice of brake testing kits that you can buy – even ATF-approved systems, like Gemco’s BM14200. However, if you are short on space in the workshop, then the investment required for such a system may not be an option.
BrakeCheck is a fully self-contained, DVSA-approved portable brake tester. The company’s customers include commercial vehicle workshops, government traffic authorities and Authorised Test Facilities (ATF’s) around the world. The system records the braking efficiency and percentage of braking imbalance of all classes of vehicle from a Motorcycle to an HGV in a few minutes.
Approved for Interim Inspections
The BrakeCheck is also approved by the DVSA for performing the interim safety inspection brake tests, as well as the 3-monthly voluntary brake tests now required for all HGVs over 7.5 tonnes. Usually this would mean a large financial cost however, because the BrakeCheck is a portable unit, companies can save a huge amount.
Test results can be viewed on the display panel or downloaded to a PC for saving or printing. They are stated in ‘G’ units and are accurate to +/- 0.02G, although if required results can be stated in m/s² by special request.
A printed version of the report can also be produced at the time of testing using the portable infra-red printer that comes with the BrakeCheck.
Easy to Use
Conveniently sized and weighing in at just 0.4kg, the Bowmonk BrakeCheck is both portable and easy to operate. The instrument itself is designed to be self-compensating, and has a simple LED indicator system to display the results of the checks.
The screen informs you when the BrakeCheck is level enough to perform a test, and has a generous tolerance to make sure this is easy to achieve.
The display has also been designed to be read in sunlight, so you’ll be able to check your vehicles whatever the weather.
The BrakeCheck can tell if the vehicle is pulling to the left or right when braking, and can measure and display the peak acceleration for left/right, as well as both the peak and average deceleration for the front/rear. The unit can also calculate stopping distance, which is displayed in metres, but can be shown in feet by special request.
The Bowmonk BrakeCheck measures the braking efficiency of the Service Brake (Foot Brake) and Hand Brake by calculating the rate of deceleration from a speed of around 10 mph until the vehicle comes to a standstill.
The device is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, and will power-down after a period of inactivity to conserve energy, as well as indicate when it is running low on power.
Bowmonk states the BrakeCheck can operate for approximately five hours (or 120 tests) from a full charge, plus it can be used after just five minutes of charging.
When ordering a BrakeCheck it doesn’t matter which country you reside in, as the instrument comes with a battery charger and plug that that is compatible with the destination country. There are also a wide range of accessories available.
A Popular Choice
For National Express Coaches, safety is paramount and the BrakeCheck from Bowmonk proved to be the perfect fit.
Nick Sorrill, Head of Quality Assurance at National Express Coaches, explains: “National Express takes every step to ensure our duty of care policy and high safety standards are constantly adhered to. To this end, there is no exception or compromise where our bus and coach brake testing programme is concerned.
“For those brake tests carried out where there is no rolling road available or on the rare occasion they break down, we must have confidence that we have a viable alternative for providing an accurate recording of the service, secondary and hand brake.
“After some research into what products were available to achieve this, we approached Norfolk based Bowmonk-Tapley to arrange a demonstration. BrakeCheck proved to be 100 per cent accurate when compared to a previous test on our roller brake tester. This and the fact that BrakeCheck is VOSA (now DVSA) approved sealed the deal for us. Consequently, we are now rolling them out to our other depots across the bus and coach businesses.”
Check the ABS too…
Bowmonk also produces another portable, handheld and lightweight unit called a SensorCheck that can be used to check the ABS sensor, sensor lead and ‘exciter’ or ‘pole’ ring if the ABS warning light illuminates in the cab.
Able to work on trucks, trailers and buses, SensorCheck tests for the six main causes of EBS/EBS faults, and can compete a single test cycle in just 15 seconds without needing to remove the road wheel. Bowmonk also states that it reduces the downtime for sensor related problems by up to 80%.
SensorCheck allows a technician to conduct a complete ‘continuity’ check of the sensor and the sensor lead, with a red LED signifying an open or short sensor in either the sensor or the lead, while a green LED signifies the circuit is good.
From here, a spin of the road wheel causes the SensorCheck to automatically check the ‘air gap’, and again the red LED is used to indicate if the airgap is too big or small and that the sensor needs moving.
The final test looks for problems in the exciter ring by testing for any breaks in rhythm as it passes over the sensor, and again faults are indicated via a red LED.