ManatecAfter 25 years of operations, garage equipment- manufacturer Manatec Electronics has expanded its product portfolio with a new wheel aligner. The company is known for tyre care, pollution checks, lifts, gas chargers for air-conditioners, tyre inflators and headlamp aligners. The new addition – the Jumbo 9000 is a new-generation wheel aligner which can cater to trucks bearing up to five axles and trailers featuring up to eight axles. In other words, it can take up wheels upto 26 inches in diameter.

‘Misalignment of wheels can lead to tyres wearing off at 15,000 km as against the stipulated life of 60,000 km. In order to maintain the life and mileage of tyres it is necessary that they rotate at a particular frequency and are aligned correctly,’ says S Vijayaraghavan, Director, Manatec Electronics. He adds that the Jumbo 9000 has been developed to meet the demand to speed up wheel alignment processes. Incidentally, it is a step-up over Manatec’s Manatec_BR Pac Premium Plus H which can meet wheel alignment needs of upto three-axle trucks. While the later model has a wheel base coverage of upto eight metres, the Jumbo 9000 offers a reach extending to 15 metres. ‘Several fleet owners have adopted wheel-alignment equipment, a move supported by tyre manufacturers too,’ says Vijayaraghavan. Manatec has tested the new equipment with truck and bus operators. ‘We have validated the Jumbo 9000 with a private bus operator in Karaikal, a religious destination south of Puducherry. A few STUs in the southern States have been roped in for trials runs too, reveals Vijayaraghavan. Additionally, the aligner is currently operational with a large fleet operator based at Namakkal.

The new aligner incorporates in-built software that contains specifications of all vehicles that are presently available in the market. It factors various parameters pertaining to elements like the castor, kingpin, toe, camber and parallelism for twinsteered front axles. The Radio Frequency (RF) technology not only helps eliminate cables, but also enables users to operate the machine within a radius of 100 metres through the sensor unit. The 9000’s four sensor heads allow the wheel alignment for a twoaxle vehicle to be completed in 30 minutes, a third of the time currently needed.

Manatec_AKeeping ergonomic considerations in mind, the company reduced the weight of the sensor unit from five to three kgs. What is more, a 12-hour battery back- up allows the unit to operate seamlessly, even during a power failure. Distinguishable icons, allow for easy user-interface, while voice prompts in English as well as regional languages guide the operator though the alignment process. To ease the follow-up process, a data manager maintains a record of the vehicle’s history for future reference. ‘Such information can guide technicians on aspects such as the direction in which wheels need to be pushed in order to carry out the correction,’ says Vijayaraghavan. Manatec has been developing wheel alignment systems since 1991. That was the same year when the company decided to diversify. It was in 1996 that the company introduced the FRV 5H, its first wheel aligner for heavy vehicles. The product was supplied to a few South India-based STUs, but a subsequent lukewarm response from the market discouraged Manatec from promoting the product further. But, Manatec_Dalongside, it developed, and supplied 25 digital aligners for certain Tamilnadu-based STUs. A number of field trials, conducted during this period, revealed that buses whose wheels were aligned almost doubled the tyre life. That became a selling tool for the company to pursue the development of a new generation of wheel aligners.

Story & Photography: T Murrali

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