At the recent Automechanika in Frankfurt, tyre equipment manufacturers from Germany, the United States and Italy were all vying for customer attention with the latest and greatest developments in the tyre service market, despite a worldwide economic downturn. VDK rating was a phrase commonly uttered by all of the tyre equipment suppliers. This is a new standard that has been implemented by car manufacturers who use run-flat tyre technology, and is going to become an issue in New Zealand with our current machinery as more and more new vehicles are fitted with these tyres. The greater Bologna region in Italy considers itself the spiritual home of tyre equipment manufacturers such as Corghi and Ravaglioli who are represented in New Zealand by STOCKS while Butler and TECO are represented by SULCO. The Italian passion for flair and theatre was obvious during our three-day visit to Messe Frankfurt, as their staff happily posed for pictures during their demonstrations. The people at Corghi (a Nexion Group company) were justifiably proud of their new (and aptly named) Monster automatic truck tyre changing machine and their new Blue Light wheel balancing unit, with promises of more technology to follow. “Automechanika went extremely well for the brands of the Nexion group,” said Marketing Director Pierantonio Gallu.” It gave us the opportunity to show our customers and partners from throughout the world our new products, for instance for installing tyres for commercial vehicles. The fair went better than we expected. Especially in times of economic crisis, we strategically invest in fair participation to remain at the forefront.” Ravaglioli Garage Equipment have been supplying two and four post hoists and scissor lifts to New Zealand through STOCKS for over 20 years, but in 1998 the company decided they wanted to become more of a “one stop shop” and began manufacturing wheel aligners, brake testers, tyre changers and wheel balancers. “We would be more than happy to supply any product other than lifts to New Zealand if there is a demand for it,” says Area Manager Gianni Tonelli. “We are very proud to say that we have the specialist VDK rating for our machines which is now required by car manufacturers who supply vehicles with run-flat tyres fitted.” Butler’s representative at Messe Frankfurt, Dr Sergio Gentile, is very proud of the fact that they have 60 to 70 units supplied by SULCO operating in New Zealand, and said that the company philosophy was to think outside the square to create solutions for customers. Another SULCO – supplied brand TECO who also hails from Italy, were earnestly demonstrating their latest lever-less TECO 100 tyre changing machine which is also VDK rated. Germany was represented by Beissbarth who were somewhat reluctant to let their new products be photographed by the press, hence we only have one shot of their wheel aligner. Beissbarth are currently waiting for their latest tyre changing machine to be VDK certified, but their representative told me that it is capable of dealing with tyres up to 33 inches in external diameter. Hunter may be an American-based company, but its unique looking 3D vision wheel alignment systems have been approved by all German car manufacturers, and the units have become extremely popular in New Zealand, according to STOCKS. In the USA, Hunter holds the largest share of the tyre service equipment market with its range of aligners, balancers, and scissor lifts.
Tyre Equipment takes pride of place at Automechanika 2008
Wednesday, 15 October 2008