Robert Barry talks to the tyre equipment industry about the current market conditions which is followed by an equipment review from our advertisers.
According to CBG director Mike Marshall his company had a successful 2010 thanks to the trend of garages expanding their range of services offer and adding such things as tyre fitting and balancing and wheel alignment to the menu.
“The garages have been hurting, so they have been buying new equipment to do more things but only replacing old equipment when it’s been really necessary,” says Mike.
“People who weren’t doing WOF before are now offering that service and the trend in New Zealand is now to open a one-stop-shop which replicates the trends overseas to have all automotive services under one roof,” he says.
Mike says that lever-less tyre changers are still gaining traction here in New Zealand and also in Australia. He says that although there has not been any big innovation in tyre balancers, automatic measuring and larger displays are now commonplace.
Keeping the machines in good order is imperative and Mike suggests that wheel balancers should be serviced every twelve months and most machines can be calibrated by the operator, but CBG staff will call in on a customer if necessary to help and assist.
Mike says that all tyre changers should have the oil/water separator checked monthly to ensure the valves stay water free.
“It also pays to check periodically for worn bushes, ensure that nuts and bolts are tight, adjust your Vee-belt and replace any hoses, plastic guides and other parts that are worn.” He says.
GDC director Gary Cotterell agrees that diversification of tyre shops into full mechanical shops and vice-versa has become a noticeable trend and that workshops are upgrading their tyre equipment to cope with larger modern wheel rims.
“Trade -ns have fallen off as often the business owners are only upgrading machines when they absolutely have to, because their old equipment is then used well beyond its economic life, so complete replacement has become necessary,” says Gary.
“People are moving to Chinese made equipment because it is affordable and are pleasantly surprised by its performance,” he says. GDC has recently landed the new 898ITA model remote controlled lever-less tyre changer from Automaster that has created a lot of market interest, along with some other new and upgraded models, we now have a machine to suit all requirements.
“It has taken five years to get to this point but in the last 12 to 18 months you have not had to convince people about buying Chinese tyre equipment because all the local suppliers are now sourcing from there,” says Gary.
Training technicians how to use tyre equipment is very important with modern wheels – with puncture repairs it is necessary to look out for damaged sidewalls and it’s imperative to ensure tyres are inflated safely according to Gary.
“We teach people how to fit low profile tyres on our Automaster machines, and I think it’s necessary that garages buy machines that can take assist arms and have a good clamping range. Make sure you get machines that will future proof you, for example one that can accommodate bigger wheel sizes and cover from 12 to at least 22 inches outside wheel clamping.”
Gary says that 97 percent of GDC sales are made up of the Automaster branded products and he has recently introduced Atom hoists to their range – they are the result of a Chinese Korean partnership which are a little more expensive than the Automaster range of hoists and he says they are performing extremely well in very busy high demand workshops.
Stocks Equipment General Manager William Singleton says that business was patchy over the last twelve months which he feels was a reflection of the economy. The market has been price driven and people have been pushed toward the lower end of the equipment segment.
“People are buying equipment that is necessary,” he says. “We find ourselves bringing in down spec machines to meet the market and we have to tailor a package to meet the customers need however there is still a sector that want the best and will pay top dollar”
William says that being a supplier to the Capricorn Society has been beneficial given that other lenders have tightened their criteria. Capricorn recently extended their finance package for capital equipment to no deposit terms and up to 60 months to repay.
“This helped us immensely in a tight market, finance has changed over the last twelve months which has also driven the price sensitiveness of the market and why customers are sourcing the cheapest equipment and finance they can find.”
The market is also looking at capital equipment as a disposable item which means that they are only prepared to invest a certain amount for a certain period and change the item over more quickly.
Although there are still some businesses which are not falling into that trap and are looking at the longer term investment. Honda New Zealand has recently installed new vehicle hoists into their service departments nationally through a renewal program.
William warns that customers buying orphan brands from overseas may find themselves without a parts and service backup when the machines age and start to break down or malfunction. Although he concedes that a better quality of machine is now coming through from Chinese manufacturers. Stocks’ European and American brands are still popular, with equipment manufacturers from those countries now also offering top end down to low end products to compete with Asia.
William says on that basis Stocks Equipment finds that second hand equipment such as Corghi is still in demand as it’s a trusted brand and that the company provides a one stop shop for sales, parts and service.
Stocks Equipment now runs three specialist Service teams, one for hoists, one for wheel service equipment and one for electronics, along with a network of service agents nationwide to better serve their customers. Don Castle, who ran his own vehicle hoist installation and repair business has now joined Stocks as the Hoist Services Manager, which now totals eight service technicians.
New machines and keen pricing
New, keenly priced tyre changers and wheel balancers are part of a strengthened line-up of Corghi and White Knight machines being rolled out for 2011 in New Zealand by Stocks.
Heading up the new tyre equipment charge is the Corghi A2025LL, a lever-less version of the popular A2025TIDV tyre changer. The A2025LL comes in a single phase and features dual speed with a 24” turntable in a conventional tyre changer style. Priced at just $1000 more than the non-leverless A2025TIDV model it is available for under $11,000 + GST.
For those who want even higher levels of performance from a European-made lever-less tyre changer, the choice has to be the Artiglio 50, which, at around $16,000 packs a number of advantageous features, such as the ability to accommodate 30” wheels and it also has a built-in wheel lifter.
Also new from Corghi 210 tyre changer, an all-new, low cost Italian-made automatic tilt arm machine with a 20” turntable that has gone on sale for under $5000 + GST, making it one of the best priced European tyre changers on the market.
The Corghi 210 is capable of taking tyres up to 38” in diameter and up to 12” in width, making it capable of handling most light truck and 4x4 sizes, as well as those fitted to passenger cars.
Available with single phase or three phase motors, features include a pneumatically-operated tilting arm support column with high torsional rigidity; sliding supports with interchangeable clamping centres; and higher cast clamps for improved rim clamping from inside and outside. The turntable has two pneumatic cylinders capable of safely clamping any type of rim. The A210 can also be fitted with an optional help arm for ultra low profile tyres.
Released only last year, the popular Italian-made Corghi EM7240 wheel balancers continue to be one of the best priced quality models available in New Zealand, with features normally found in much more expensive wheel balancers.
Starting from $4,500 + GST, the new Italian-made Corghi EM7240 models are almost half the price of more advanced machines and represent such good value Stocks says it has received “significant demand” from smaller tyre stores and workshops.
The new EM7240 is a compact unit designed for off-vehicle balancing of car, van and motorcycle wheels. It delivers the high performance, excellent ergonomics and long-term reliability the trade has come to expect from Corghi, using a spin unit derived from larger models. And being single phase, the balancer can be used in any workshop on ordinary power sources.
Two versions are available; the EM7240PR, which has a standard guard (hood), and Manual Parameter Acquisition, and the more advanced EM7240DDPR, which has a guard (hood) and internal arm that does away with the need to manually enter data. Both models start spinning automatically when the guard is closed.
The new balancers can handle wheel rims up to 28” in diameter and provides for wheels weighing a maximum of up to 75kg – most other machines can only handle up to 65kg.
In addition to the Static and Dynamic programmes, the machines also boasts two precision ALU programmes, five statistical ALU programmes, two motorcycle programmes, a Hidden Weight programme and the OPT programme for reducing counterweight by optimising the wheel rim/tyre position.
Stocks is also the national distributor for the attractively priced White Knight range of tyre changers and wheel balancers.
Brand new White Knight tyre changers start from under $2,300 + GST, whilst wheel balancers start from under $2,200 + GST, which is less than half the price of other leading brand products.
Automaster tyre changers and wheel balancers
With a comprehensive range and some distinct advantages in the Automaster line up GDC says that it has the correct model to suit all requirements and budgets.
Automaster tyre changers and wheel balancers are manufactured by Bright Technology and GDC Equipment has been appointed as the only authorised dealer in New Zealand. Bright Technology is the largest manufacturer in China with 23 years experience. GDC says it has been actively involved in the ongoing development of these machines over the last five years to help improve the performance and quality to a level you would normally only find in European products.
All Automaster tyre changers have stainless steel bead breaking cylinders to prevent rust damaging the seals. They are also all fitted with quality Italian water traps and oilers that provide the reliable lubrication of the pneumatic seals ensuring years of trouble free service. GDC has increased the speed of the bead breakers and rotation speed of the turn tables with two speeds available in the three phase models. The top square horizontal sliding shaft diameter has been increased from 45mm to 55mm and an anti wear roller has been fitted to prevent flex or play. The vertical sliding hexangular shaft diameter has also been increased from 36mm to 45mm to prevent excessive flex under load. All Automaster tilt back machines are pneumatically controlled and now have a 10-26” clamping range.
The low profile help arms which can be added to the Automaster tyre Changers have twin bead depressing points with one on an elbow joint that moves around with the tyre as it is being fitted eliminating the need for a second person to help fit the difficult tyres.
The Automaster 887IT and the leverless 898IT tyre changers are the latest models added into the GDC line up.
The 887IT has pneumatically controlled up and down movement of the hexangular shaft, a tapered double bent main column, 10-26” clamping range and a side mounted tool box.
The 898IT performance tyre changer suited to those doing a lot of low profile tyres. It is remote operated and no lever bar is required. Price only $10,950 plus GST.
Automaster 956B and 968B wheel balancers are now in stock. Both have increased the threaded shafts from 36 to 40mm to increase accuracy and weight capacity. They have 10-30” rim range and auto data entry of the wheel dimensions. The 968 has a laser pointer to show the exact positioning for stick on wheel weight application and is fitted with an LCD monitor that provides live animations and instructions to the operator
Autochief from Sulco
More than six years ago, Sulco says it saw the need for a range of quality automotive equipment at an affordable price. This started a worldwide search that took over 18 months to resolve.
The equipment needed to be affordable, durable, user friendly, with features and benefits that the big name products had according to Sulco.
After extensive investigations, Sulco ordered sample products to test in New Zealand, as it has some of the most challenging conditions in the world.
The Autochief brand started in earnest more than four years ago, with a few tyre changers and balancers, and Sulco says these soon proved to be absolute winners with workshops and medium tyre shops from the Cape to the Bluff.
To the customer this meant they could get the best of brand quality, which was supplied in a clean looking and eye catching sky blue colour scheme.
After sales support had not been overlooked either, with a dedicated 5 strong team of factory trained servicemen who are employed by Sulco so it could ensure the long term durability with minimal service costs.
Recent additions to the range include a baseless 2 post 4 tonne hoist with quality 2 stage round screw pads, channel style 2 stage screw pads to safely pickup leaf spring suspensions, a set of van extensions and remote control (240volt 1ph and 415V 3ph options) are all standard equipment rather than options.
Sulco has just released the Autochief European inspired 8 toe cordless wheel aligner complete with deluxe quick clamps, calibration bar, comprehensive vehicle database and onsite operator training program.
Sulco says that Autochief is rapidly becoming a brand that is setting the standard with proven reliability supported by a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty.
The range is expanding monthly with new products Sulco says it feels is worthy of receiving the Autochief badge of excellence.
Daliqibao from CBG
CBG says that Daliqibao is a joint-venture Italian/Chinese tyre manufacturer and rather than rebrand the products, they are marketed under the same brand name and model numbers.
According to Mike Marshall at CBG the larger displays on wheel balancers is one of the biggest features that customers want when they purchase a new machine. Mike says the most popular model sold by CBG is the Daliqibao DL986 pictured here.
For tyre machines, Mike says that the most popular are the DL622it and DL522it. We have those both with the opt of the normal side helping arms and the patented SZ helping arms which mount on top of the boom and take up much less space in the working area.
Mike says that lever-less tyre machines are still rising in popularity. “We have the B800 which is one of the most advanced tyre machines on the market manufactured by Daliqibao,” he says.