By Roger Brown
When it comes to workshop tools and equipment, the UK market has seen a range of new product launches in recent months.
Earlier this year Farnborough-based Absolute Alignment launched its all-new manufacturer approved Bluetooth commercial vehicle wheel aligner, for use on HGVs and vans. According to the company it is the only Bluetooth wheel alignment equipment currently available in the UK that can perform four wheel alignment on every car and truck that could enter a workshop.
The product can be used on multi-axle trucks, as well as Transit vans, mini buses and trailers. Chris Dear, Technical Director at Absolute Alignment, said it can be highly profitable for garages and makes wheel alignment simple and cost effective for the whole fleet.
He added: “As a new product for the UK market place, this commercial vehicle aligner has brought professional truck wheel alignment to a lower price point. It’s quick and easy to use, giving manufacturer approved equipment to commercial workshops.”
Users can set a datum point from one axle on a multi-axle vehicle, and then the entire truck can be aligned from that single point for a fast and efficient wheel alignment process. This allows garages to align twin rear axle (twin steer) vehicles and each head has a remote control to allow the full alignment process to be run from any corner of the vehicle.
Featuring no run out truck wheel clamps, Absolute Alignment says the aligner saves 20 minutes per operation. The direct contact charging and calibration system also allows the whole alignment package to be cable free to help maintain a safe workshop environment.
Extra-long front alignment heads enable its use on commercial vehicles, with the latest software allowing for unlimited axles. The unit comes with the latest graphics program and lightweight long-life measuring heads with a metal chassis to ensure durability.
Fast fitting, easily removable clamps attach the heads securely to each wheel without damaging either the rim or the tyre. Also, it does not require a dedicated wheel alignment ramp, is fully mobile around the workshop and is supplied with commercial wheel clamps, front turn plates, 24 inch wheel clamps, a steering wheel clamp, brake pedal clamp, a PC, monitor and colour printer, the latest inbuilt database and a 12-month warranty, plus full on-site training.
In order to align a trailer, a bespoke trailer bar has to be used with the wheel aligner, a separate product from Absolute Alignment. Another new workshop product are the double-jointed hose clamp pliers from Laser Tools.
Hose clamps can be difficult to get to, especially if they are located right down at the bottom of the engine bay where access is difficult, but Laser says its double-jointed design and spring-assisted handle means easy one-handed operation and the useful 430 millimetre length lets a mechanic get right down between the engine and radiator. In addition Laser has introduced new angled-head hose clamp pliers that feature a 35-degree angled head and 265mm length which are specifically designed to gain access to extremely tight areas.
Also new from Laser is the Damaged Nut/Bolt Extractor Set, made up of a set of cleverly designed hexagon bolt and nut extractor adaptor caps. As technicians will testify, the ‘rounded-off’ nut or bolt can be a big headache.
Particularly on exhaust components, a corroded and seized nut or bolt resists all attempts to remove it, and if using a spanner or ill-fitting socket, the flats of the fastener soon get rounded-off, making things worse. These specially hardened caps fit over the rounded off fixing and allow a standard 12 point socket or ring spanner to be used to remove the rounded off fastener.
The extractor cap grips and moulds itself to the rounded-off fastener and keeps on gripping until it loosens off. Meanwhile, Sealey has introduced the one-man professional pneumatic brake bleeding tool with a pressure range making it suitable for use with ABS systems.
With the reservoir holding three litres, plenty to flush a whole system without the risk of running dry and two drainage method options, it allows a technician to drain brake fluid via the brake caliper with the bottle option for replenishing, or brake reservoir pressurising for full brake bleed. Also, earlier this year, Sealey revealed its new heavy-duty mobile tool cabinet, suitable for heavier loads and featuring a power tool charging drawer. The steel construction has steel inner walls and 45mm ball bearing drawer slides.
ELECTRIC VEHICLE EQUIPMENT
Established in 1971, Butt’s of Bawtry deal with many leading European manufacturers of high quality workshop equipment. The Doncaster-based firm recently began marketing a hydraulic lifting table suitable for removing battery packs from hybrid and electric vehicles as well as for the removal of engines, gearboxes, drive axles, fuel tanks, suspension, braking and chassis components.
The table platform is extendable by 310mm for extra large loads and is fully adjustable making it easy for multi positioning requirements. Every 100mm there are special holes drilled so that items can be positioned and fixed using specialist fixings.
There is an electrically released mechanical locking system for extra safety, 24 volt controls, and the unit comes with a hand held remote control with a stop function.