With so many companies relying on commercial vehicles, the industry must find new ways to keep them in order comprehensively without taking up too much time.
Keeping trucks and vans off the road for vital servicing isn’t ideal for most owners – making the prospect of mobile servicing more appealing, with no need to delay business as the technician comes to you in order to service.
Upgrades in Technology
Manufacturers have had a focus on bringing mobile servicing to their customers in the last few years, with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles introducing their first three mobile service vans back in late 2016.
The introduction was part of an initiative to help their customers save money by reducing vehicle downtime, with the programme offering service work, inspections, A/C servicing, MOT repairs, minor warranty work and software updates remotely at the fleet base location. This shows the great extent of what a mobile servicing programme can do in comparison to traditional methods, saving valuable time for those who can’t be off track for long.
In a March 2018 update, Volkswagen announced they are experimenting with using augmented reality to assist in servicing. The four-month-long trial has seen the manufacturer use RealWear glasses, which allows Volkswagen’s Technical Support Centre experts to send visual instructions and tips to field technicians on the road.
The virtual assistance was produced with the aim to reduce service time further, as technicians will be supported throughout the diagnosis and repair of the vehicle. The technology includes a microphone, head camera, display screen and voice activation functionality that provides a fully augmented video broadcast.
Paul Anderson, Service Operations Manager at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “This is an exciting step forward in maximising uptime for our customers through the use of augmented reality and remote diagnostic tools. Our ultimate aim is to ensure we can keep the customers’ vehicles on the road for longer and that means reducing the time it takes to repair a vehicle when it’s in the workshop.”
Mobile Servicing In the Workshop
On-site vehicle maintenance is clearly becoming a popular option to haulage companies. As well as offering the aforementioned benefit of reduced vehicle downtime, in most cases, it is better value for money, as a mobile technician’s costs can be less than those of an established vehicle workshop.
A typical mobile workshop will have all of the necessary tools to service a truck or trailer.
Safety inspections are now being carried out as part of this service and, whilst most of these inspections will be a visual check, there are aspects of the inspection which will require detailed information, such as braking performance.
With the recent requirement by the Traffic Commission for all ‘O’ licence holders to have their brakes checked more regularly, service departments are now having to provide this.
For a mobile technician, the BrakeCheck is seen to be a very popular tool, as it will enable them to also provide a meaningful brake test as part of their ongoing service provision.
BrakeCheck is a user-friendly, DVSA-approved portable brake tester which records the braking efficiency, and the percentage of imbalance, of all classes of vehicle.
BrakeCheck determines braking efficiency of both the Service Brake and Hand Brake by measuring the deceleration from around 20 mph until the vehicle stops. Test results can be viewed on the display or printed using the portable wireless printer. Downloading of results to a PC is also supported with optional software.
Aside from the requirements of the Traffic Commission, performing regular brake tests as part of a general maintenance schedule is very much a pro-active measure as this will identify any gradual decline in braking efficiency, allowing the technician to perform an early diagnosis and rectify any deficiencies which could lead to costly repairs for the operator.