MWS, ATS Euromaster launch wheel safety training DVD
Motor Wheel Service Distribution managing director John Ellis has sustained a lengthy campaign for increased safety checks on commercial vehicle wheels over the past few years – a campaign that has seen him address the British and more recently European parliaments. The results of his most recent explanation to the European Parliament of the insufficiency or non-existence of regulations and guidelines governing inspection procedures within the commercial vehicle wheel supply chain and vehicle servicing sector remain to be seen; his MWS report will continue to be discussed at EU level as its Roadworthiness Package is drafted. (See Tyrepress.com/issues of Tyres & Accessories for regular updates regarding Ellis's proposals.)
In the meantime, MWS has acted upon the scarcity of wheel safety information via a rather different route. T&A visited the wheel distributor’s base near Manchester to view a recent DVD and service and support manual produced in conjunction with commercial partner ATS Euromaster, and hear about the company’s efforts to improve the market’s awareness of wheel safety through partnerships rather than legislation.
The ATSE training DVD, produced “in association with Motor Wheel Service” as a slide declares at its beginning, divides its wheel message into three parts, first summarising the requirements of seller and operator before demonstrating MWS’s ten point checklist for CV wheels and then outlining the commercial possibilities for wheels.
After introducing the Chevron brand steel wheels and xlite forged aluminium wheels supplied by MWS to ATS-E, the bulk of the training in the video gives ATS-E staff both an explanation and a visual demonstration of the ten signs of wear for which wheels should be checked. These comprise: dents and damage; cracks; signs of under-inflation, which results in increased wear along the circumference of the bead seat; corrosion; markings on the nave plate; markings on the mating surface; damage to the centre hole or bore; stud holes; paint thickness; and the valve hole.
During the demonstration of the details of each of these checkpoints, an ATS-E technician is shown inspecting a wheel taken off the vehicle – Ellis explained that it is important for wheels to be inspected in this way particularly since cracking often appears on the inside of a vehicle first.
While improving safety is the ultimate goal of the DVD, the third part shows how increasing the stringency of checks also increases commercial opportunities. In a direct sense it is clearly more likely that damaged wheels will be identified sooner and this will necessitate a distress purchase.
Indirectly, raising the attention the fitter pays to the wheel allows a wider interest in the product to develop. Ellis refers to this training as an “attempt to change the culture” by getting fitters and fleet managers alike on the same message; that wheels “shouldn’t be brought down to a commodity culture level” since this is “wrong for he product,” in his view. He says that it isn’t a difficult argument to get major fleets on-message, especially given the partnership with ATS-E. MWS hopes that the progress made with ATS-E will lead to a snowball effect.
In addition to the ability to get a positive safety message understood across fleets, the MWS/ATS-E wheel proposition is designed to combat what Ellis calls “the patchwork effect” – ie. the replacement wheel being left to chance factors at the point of replacement.
Delivering three service levels with Chevron branded steel wheels and the upgrade option of forged aluminium xlite wheels, the companies are using branding as “a way to educate end users [and fitters] about the differences between wheel applications.” Ultimately this represents another method of dissemination for the safety message MWS continues to pursue at legislative levels.