Hofmann Megaplan Blog
For many independent garage owners, ADAS can appear a quite daunting technological advance. But in reality, it’s little more than a camera system, often mounted in the windscreen, monitoring short to medium range activities such as changing speed limits, or white lines; and a radar system, located in the front grill area, managing active cruise control and emergency braking systems.
If, for example, a frontal impact misaligns the radar unit, or the camera is slightly repositioned when a windscreen is replaced, it’s possible that the ADAS systems won’t work correctly. This is where ADAS alignment systems come in and, it’s where some garages have embraced the opportunity, invested in equipment and are making money.
ADAS Equipment up close...
ADAS alignment rigs are typically made up of a large frame and a diagnostic tool; allowing the user to test and re-align the camera and radar systems as necessary. These are split into two main categories; Analogue and Digital. Hofmann Megaplan has been at the forefront of ADAS alignment equipment since the very early days.
Analogue ADAS Unit
Analogue systems require less initial investment than digital but are designed to get the job done all the same. By not being overly reliant on new technologies they are a highly reliable, albeit manual system, suitable for all garages. Analogue systems require pre-printed boards which are applied to the framework in front of the car to show the test pattern for calibrating the camera systems. The framework needs to be accurately positioned to ensure the pattern on the board is properly aligned to the car, which can be time-consuming. Once set up, the diagnostic tool then communicates with the vehicle’s computers, putting them into calibration mode and effectively teaching the vehicle where it should be looking.
With so many different vehicle marques in the UK, many with their own design of calibration boards, purchasing and storing these boards and protecting them from damage can be an expensive challenge associated with analogue systems.
Digital ADAS System
The digital system does away with the need for physical boards, reproducing the image of a pattern board on a large-scale high-definition monitor. A PC manages the images and communicates with a handheld diagnostic tool which, step by step, guides the user through the process to check and re-align the cameras.
Because the patterns are created digitally, they make setting up and calibrating easier and faster than the analogue counterpart. The frame can be raised or lowered at the press of a button to reach the perfect height and no manual measurement is required. Laser measurement units accurately show the exact frame to axle distance and the system uses these figures to ensure the vehicle sees a perfectly aligned image, even if the frame has not been set exactly true with the vehicle.
Which system works best is a matter of personal choice and circumstance but if you’re considering extending your garage services, you should consider ADAS alignment. These systems have been in use in vehicles for many years now and there’s a real opportunity for independent garages outside of franchised dealerships.