Smart Weigh to Go
Pro-Align has seen an increase in the sales of its Hunter Tyre Changer and Balancer combinations over the course of 2008. The company believes that these increases can be attributed to the systems’ new SmartWeight software, which represents the implementation of a different balancing methodology, illustrated by a video on the product’s website (www.smartweight.com). Added to that is the reputation that Hunter is continuing to build in the UK for well-built, reliable equipment, features that Pro-Align are happy to point towards. The Towcester-based supplier was recently nominated for the 2008 Aftermarket Supplier of the Year at the TAFF awards; this sort of recognition is helping the company to develop business and interest in the new machine.
The benefits of the Hunter Balancers, with their new balance methodology and SmartWeight software, are – Pro-Align says – proven to save the majority of tyre shops between 35-40 per cent on their wheel weight and working-hour costs. SmartWeight introduces a new step into the wheel balancing calculation procedure, by taking into account acceptable levels of vertical (static, or shake) and sideways (couple, or shimmy) movement. Unlike traditional balancing, which judges balance condition based on correction weight values, SmartWeight balancing uses the actual static and couple forces. In doing this, the system reduces the need for weights to be added to the wheel to balance it.
Tyres & Accessories spoke to Steve Kirk of Arrow Tyres Ltd. in Hornchurch, Essex about his experiences with the machine. His company, he estimates, has reduced its use of balancing weights “by approximately 37 per cent.” Initial scepticism about the machine and its software – caused, he says, by several wheels requiring no balancing weights at all – was diminished by the use of the machine on his own car’s wheels. In another example, a wheel that had been balanced on an older machine required 170g of weights. Removing the weights and using SmartWeight, Hunter said that the wheel required only 50g. Additionally, Arrow Tyres is yet to have a comeback on a wheel balanced by the Hunter balancer. Kirk says that he was pleased with Pro-Align’s service, which included full training on the machine. Ultimately important too, were the machine’s aesthetics, which were pleasing enough to attract his attention in the first place.
To provide this more efficient system, SmartWeight balancing evaluates static and couple forces independently with separate imbalance tolerances. Each tolerance limit is set based on the amount of force needed to induce a noticeable vibration on a given wheel assembly. SmartWeight balancing puts the appropriate emphasis on the appropriate force and calls for correction weights only when a force exceeds the limit that will cause a noticeable vibration. It also recognizes that not all wheel assemblies are the same size and automatically adjusts the tolerances to more accurately correct imbalance.