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Manatec’s new Jumbo 3D Super multi-axle wheel alignment machine promises more work for less energy and time.

Story by:

Bhushan Mhapralkar

Pondicherry-based Manatec Electronics Pvt. Ltd. has launched a new wheel alignment system for commercial vehicles. It is called the Jumbo 3D, and builds upon an earlier model for commercial vehicle wheel alignment called CCD. A more specialised form of the Jumbo 3D, the Jumbo 3D Super can carry out the alignment of up to five axles of a multi-axle commercial vehicle at one go. The usual practice until now, and even today, is to carry out the alignment of multi-axle commercial vehicles by attaching the sensors to one axle, then the next axle and so on. This procedure consumes more manpower, energy and time. In case of Jumbo 3D Super, all that is needed is to fix the image plates in all the wheels. The camera is able to receive all the images (from across five axles) and process the images to arrive at a conclusion. More than two-third of the time is saved by using this alignment system over the one that requires every axle to be aligned at a time according to R. Mananathan, Chairman, Manatec Electronics Pvt. Ltd. “Apart from one-third of the time required to carry out the alignment of multi-axle commercial vehicles, the alignment system we have developed also calls for less energy consumption and manpower,” he added.

First of its kind

Claiming to have patented the first of its kind design, Mananathan said that their’s the first system of its kind in the world. In terms of accuracy, he stated that the same has been proved by the 3D models they have delivered to the industry and are in use. Mananathan pointed towards the commonality of parts between the systems that are already in use with various wheel alignment specialists and workshops and the Jumbo 3D Super. “We have used the same cameras and the same technology”, he quipped. What is new, and quite logically, is the architecture. To suit the needs of the new system, the software architecture of the Jumbo 3D Super is different than the systems that are already deployed. “The changes in the software architecture was carried out to accommodate all the five wheels,” averred Mananathan. No compromise in terms of accuracy has been made in the development of the Jumbo 3D Super. Stating that the Jumbo 3D Super, was designed and developed locally, Mananathan said, “Manatec has never had a collaboration with any other company. All our products are developed by our in-house R&D team. We have specialists in electronics, mechanical and software.” The Jumbo 3D Super is a result of flawless team work according to Mananathan. It is also the first such product in the world that has been patented.

Genie 3D for LCVs

For the light commercial vehicle segment, the company has developed a new alignment system product called Genie 3D. Mananathan claimed that this is the world’s first in-lift 3D wheel aligner with two cameras and smallest front wheel targets. According to him, Genie is a creatively designed module that houses high definition cameras and electronics to capture images of the targets on wheels. Each Genie has one camera, making Genie 3D the only aligner in the world using just two cameras for an in-lift model. The interesting part, said Mananathan, is that the camera need not be removed and refitted every time. A cost effective design, according to Mananathan, Genie 3D has no electronics on wheels. Is easy and safe to handle; has no battery charge or discharge issues. Having the world’s smallest target plates for front wheels, Genie 3D is light and small. It weighs only half a kg, and is 70 per cent lighter than other designs. Expressed Mananathan, that when they develop a product they are constantly thinking about how it will address market needs the most. “This particular aligner,” averred Mananathan, “can do LCVs, small cars as well as big trucks.” “For trailers, the Jumbo 3D aligner can do up to eight axles. This aligner can do a wheel alignment check for a large number of vehicles,” he added.

More jobs per day

Pointing towards the rising number of alignment procedures carried out by a workshop per day, from five to twenty for example, Mananathan said that the solutions provided by the company can help to carry out the same at one-third the cost, and in one-third the manpower. He stated, that the return on investment is good. Apart from the supply of machine, Manatec also trains people in the operation of the machines. A big advantage is the local manufacture of the aligner as it translates into spares that cost less than that of an imported machine. Local manufacture also helps with service. Manatec carries out on-site service. Local manufacture also ensures that the upfront price of the machine is competitive. Said Mananathan, “For the machines that we manufacture locally, the technology is the same as the machines that are imported. Software is better, and suited to the varying local needs.” The fact that Manatec has developed PCBs, control boards, lenses, holders, wheel brackets, plates, etc., has a bearing on the cost as well as service. The most valuable is the software, and the same is done in-house. All this combined presents Manatec with a big advantage. Manatec’s R&D team consists of 55 people.

Receptive to market needs

Touching upon Manatec’s three-decades journey, Mananathan attributed the company’s success to its dedication towards serving its clients; being receptive to the market needs, and constantly making changes to the organisation to address the market needs. Mananathan attributed the survival and growth through recession cycles to export orientation. Manatec exports products to over 55 countries. Enjoying a good presence in Latin America, the company’s newest offering, the Jumbo 3D Super, is the newest addition to the export product list. Conducting export business, opined Mananathan, is easier because of the ability of the clients in those markets to appreciate technology. In the domestic market, the company has appointed dealers. It is working towards expanding the network from 55 to 60 dealers. Having invested in a well equipped training centre at Pondicherry, Manatec’s new Jumbo 3D wheel aligner is likely to cost close to Rs 10 lakh. “A youth wanting to build a business could look at a Return On Investment (ROI) of two years. He could find this a good career option. The best part of this business is its nature – it is of the cash and carry nature,” concluded Mananathan.

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