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New products take spotlight in Vegas

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LAS VEGAS—The following is a round-up of some of the new products—including tires and wheels—unveiled during the 2012 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) and Automotive Aftermarket Parts Exhibition (AAPEX) events Oct. 30-Nov. 2 in Las Vegas, as well as some news items and announcements from the shows.

Ken-Tool introduces several products

Ken-Tool introduced what it calls the “World's Largest Single-Piece Inflation Cage.” The cage, measuring 48 in. x 72 in. x 89 in., holds tire sizes up to 29.5R25 L-3 Earthmover tire and rim assemblies and is made from heavy-gauge steel tubing welded to a steel base.

The Ken-Tool Earthmover Tire Inflation Cage guards both technicians and the shop against injury and damage from the explosions caused from blown lock rings and rims on large earthmover and agricultural tires, the company said.

The cage is designed for maximum inflation pressure up to 100 psi. At the SEMA Show, Ken-Tool showed a video at its booth depicting the explosion of an earthmover tire inside the cage after it had been inflated to 150 psi. The video is available online at http://www.youtube.com/-watch? v=20WPIL6Pv-8.

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The company unveiled its reCore Sensor Saver System for repairing corroded TPMS valve stems. The company is touting the kit as a cost-saving alternative to replacing TPMS sensors in a customer's vehicle.

The $199 Starter Kit includes: a high-speed carbon steel dual cutter drill bit for recoring; a tap for cutting new threads; special O-rings and professional-grade threadlock to ensure an air-tight seal; and 12 replacement TPMS valve stems and nickel-plated caps. Refill kits are available with 25 reCore valve stems and a new tap.

The replacement process involves removing the corroded stem, tapping new threads and torqueing in the replacement stem. The kit eliminates the need to remove the tires from the vehicle, rebalance the tires, or reset/relearn the TPMS sensor, according to the company

“With a little skill and practice, a tech can repair and install a new valve stem in 10-15 minutes. Compare this to the time it takes to order a replacement TPMS module, install it, and reprogram the vehicle's TPMS system. And that's not to mention the cost savings and goodwill auto and tire service shops can pass on to their customers,” said Rock Tyson, vice president of sales and marketing at Ken-Tool.

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Ken-Tool is offering its Dual Wheel Separator tool for removing stuck or frozen dual steel wheels easily.

The separator slips between the frozen wheels and uses the power of a screw-driven pusher to force them apart, the company said. Technicians can drive it with an impact wrench.

The pusher is ball bearing-driven for near-zero turning resistance and its one-piece design ensures that it won't fall apart during use, the company said. The forcing screw, pushers and pullers feature 1-1/8-inch diameter x 11-inch threads.

The Ken-Tool Dual Wheel Separator includes two pullers to cover large and small dual wheel applications and comes in a storage case.

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Ken-Tool debuted several socket sets for tire service technicians: 4-Piece Lug Nut Remover Impact Socket Set, 4-Piece H.D. Wheel Stud Remover Set and 7-Piece Thin-Wall Impact Socket Set.

The Ken-Tool 4-Piece Lug Nut Remover Impact Socket for removing wheel locks or damaged lug nuts and the Ken-Tool 4-piece H.D. Wheel Stud Remover Set for removing damaged wheel studs and inner Budd nuts feature patented, internal tapered reverse threads that lock onto damaged nuts and easily tap the power of an impact wrench to pull them off, the company said. The sets come with a limited lifetime warranty.

The 7-Piece Thin-Wall Impact Socket Set is designed for tire care on delicate car and light truck wheels with minimal clearance.

For more information, visit www.ken-tool.com.

Hunter unveils balancer, alignment system

Hunter Engineering Co. debuted its SmartWeight Touch balancer, which features a touchscreen interface, an eCal Auto-Calibration that doesn't require operator input and CenterCheck for proper centering.

The machine, which handles up to 30-inch rim diameter tires, also provides training videos and TPMS reset procedures.

For more information, visit www.hun-ter.com.

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Hunter Engineering Co. demonstrated its Fully Integrated Alignment at its SEMA Show booth claiming its HawkEye Elite Alignment System and RX Lift can help technicians present results in 90 seconds.

The company said the process eliminates time-consuming trips around the vehicle and trips to the console. The process involves rolling a vehicle onto the lift, mounting targets on the wheels and setting air pressure, scanning the VIN to recall specs and perform caster steer and then printing out the results.

The Elite system features high-resolution cameras to provide alignment measurements and a new wheel adapter design with three-dimensional targets and spring-loaded arms to grip the tire. The integrated system also uses Hunter's CodeLink sensor that links the vehicle OBD-II to the aligner and WinAlign software.

Bosch expands training, adds tool

Bosch Group is expanding its training course offerings to include an advanced course on Gasoline Direct Injection Technology (GDI) for automotive technicians. The one-day class will begin in 2013 and will be offered in various locations throughout the U.S.

The GDI class will focus on the latest advances in Gasoline Direct Injection systems and is designed to help technicians prepare for the influx of these systems into the marketplace, the company said. The course features instructor-led training, job aids and problem-solving exercises.

The 2013 course schedule will be published in December at www.bosch-techinfo.com or is available by calling 1-855-BoschTech.

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Bosch Group updated its Mastertech VCI (M-VCI) scan tool with expanded, in-depth vehicle coverage, especially for European vehicles, with its new ESI[tronic] 2.0 diagnostic software.

“Combined with M-VCI's flexibility and ease of operation, this software powerhouse gives the technician an unparalleled diagnostic and service resource for multiple vehicles, with one common interface,” said Ravi Subramanyan, senior product manager for Bosch Diagnostics Business Unit.

“The M-VCI's dynamic ESI[tronic] 2.0 diagnostic software features extensive coverage for domestic, Asian—including Korean—and European vehicles, while the Mastertech Shop Foreman Pro Scan Test software provides coverage for 1996 and newer Asian and domestic vehicles.”

The software provides troubleshooting instructions, vehicle maintenance schedules and technical service bulletins when available. It also provides technical support for tester operations via a technical hotline and a free one-year diagnostic software subscription with the purchase of the M-VCI scan tool.

The M-VCI tool also now provides OEM-level diagnostics for General Motors Co. vehicles by supporting the GM Tech2WIN application. Tech2-WIN provides a virtual environment to allow authentic GM Tech 2 diagnostic software to run on a PC. By obtaining a GM TIS subscription for Tech2WIN and installing the application, a technician can perform OEM diagnostic functions for powertrain, chassis, and body systems, according to the company.

The M-VCI is sold as a M-VCI Trio Package consisting of the M-VCI scan tool bundled with a laptop PC and USB wireless adapter or the VCI 2 package, which includes the M-VCI scan tool and USB wireless adapter with software that can be loaded on an existing PC.

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Bosch Group introduced the Tech 2 Pro Optima scan tool package (P/N F00E900977) that includes the General Motors Tech 2, CANdi module, and 32MB programming card.

The Bosch Tech 2 allows technicians to diagnose and repair many GM vehicles manufactured from 1992 to current with the exception of those vehicles that are covered by GM's GDS 2, the company said. Technicians can diagnose issues related to powertrain, chassis, and body systems ECUs on GM vehicles with enhanced diagnostics capabilities on GMLAN (CAN) bus using the CANdi module.

“Our Tech 2 provides the ability to easily and quickly test ECU components by allowing patented bi-directional control testing. A reprogrammable PCMCIA card contains application software, updated through a PC and connected through an RS232 serial port, enabling ACDelco TIS applications,” said Ravi Subramanyan, senior product manager for Bosch Diagnostics Business Unit.

For more information, visit www.boschdiagnostics.com.

TGI adds Orion truck tire to stable

Tire Group International L.L.C. (TGI) added a proprietary radial truck tire brand, Orion, to its portfolio that it will distribute in the U.S. and throughout its Latin America and South America footprint.

Orion tires have been developed with U.S. fleet operators in mind, TGI said, noting it will offer a comprehensive selection of radial tires specifically designed for the light to medium truck segment.

The tires, manufactured by China's Shandong Wanda Boto Tyre Sales Co. Ltd., feature proprietary Dura-Last technology, which enhances both sidewall and shoulder areas to provide low rolling resistance and maximum deflection, the Miami-based distributor said, while evenly distributing payload for a longer, even wear and better fuel efficiency.

TGI will offer the Orion brand in factory-direct containerload shipments as well as from TGI's distribution center in Miami and will offer a “best in class” casing and mileage warranty on all Orion tires.

“Over the last few years, we have been fortunate enough to partner with manufacturers in Asia who share the same focus on building and delivering top quality products,” said Joaquin Gonzalez, CMO of TGI. “Orion tires are a result of TGI's commitment to deliver a top quality TBR product at a reasonable price.”

Hankook unveils plans for Kingstar

Hankook Tire America Corp. is bringing its Kingstar value brand to the U.S. starting with passenger tires before year-end, and then light truck tires next year.

The Kingstar brand up to now was only available in Europe and South America, Hankook said.

The brand, made at Hankook's plants in China, complements Hankook's Hankook and Aurora brands and will be priced below the Aurora brand.

“With more consumers shopping the value-tire segment, our Kingstar brand will help provide them with the products they are looking for,” said Hankook Tire President Soo Il Lee., who noted the addition of a third brand will help Hankook increase its market share.

Hankook will start with two passenger tires—ultra-high-performance Road Fit SK10, available in 15- through 18-inch sizes, and the touring Centum SK72, available in 13- through 16-inch sizes.

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Hankook Tire's latest ultra-high-performance offering, the Ventus S1 noble2 all-season, features a silica tread compound for improved wet grip and lower rolling resistance, the company disclosed at the 2012 SEMA Show.

The new tire also has a triple-radius profile that maintains grip. The company used 3D vibration analysis technology to produce a mold profile designed to provide uniform contact pressure on the tire's center and shoulder blocks for better braking performance. The tire's straight rib blocks on the outside of the tire help reduce road noise, Hankook said.

The Ventus S1 noble2 will be available in March in 40 sizes for 16- through 20-inch fitments.

Also at the SEMA Show, Hankook showcased the winning tire designs from its “Tire Design for the Future Environment” competition. The three-month competition among third-year design students at the University of Cincinnati tasked students with creating new tire designs based on their visions of future cars, sustainability, increasing tire efficiency and meeting specific tire performance targets.

Hankook Tire presented awards to first place winner Ben Zavala for his “TILTRED” tilting tire design and to second place winner Mark Hearn for his “Motive” OTR tire design.

Pirelli Cinturato P7 gets SEMA award

SEMA named Pirelli Tire North America Inc.'s Cinturato P7 All-Season Plus all-season high-performance tire the winner of the tire and related products category of its 2012 New Products Showcase Awards.

Among the criteria the judges use to evaluate products are superiority of innovation, technical achievement, quality and workmanship, consumer appeal and marketability, SEMA said.

The Cinturato P7 All-Season Plus is the aftermarket version of the P7 All-Season already fitted OE on a range of performance and touring sedans.

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels subsidiary took the two runner-up positions, for the ET Street Radial Pro and Street Comp tires.

Hercules debuts touring, 'rugged surface' tires

Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. unveiled an entry-level touring tire under the Ironman brand and a Hercules-brand “rugged surface” tire during the SEMA Show.

The new Hercules Terra Trac R/S, based on its former Terra Trac A/W design, is an “aggressive and versatile” all-season, all-terrain passenger and light truck tire, designed for use in on- and off-road applications, Hercules said. The tire is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2013 in 10 sizes with rim diameters ranging from 15 to 17 inches.

According to Hercules, the Terra Trac R/S features a low-void shoulder and wide footprint designed to provide enhanced grip and vehicle stability, even during extreme maneuvering. The tire includes advanced sidewall construction to protect against sidewall impact and features an M+S rating.

In addition, the firm debuted its Ironman RB-12 all-season touring tire, a new line tentatively scheduled for launch in January. The tire features a symmetric, five-rib tread design for enhanced stability and performance, Hercules said, along with slotted shoulders, moderate siping and wide grooves for improved water evacuation.

Hercules said variable tread design in the RB-12 helps to reduce road noise and deliver ride comfort. The tire will be available in 21 sizes with rim diameters ranging from 13 to 16 inches and T, H and V speed ratings.

Falken rolls out latest generation Ziex

Falken Tire Corp. introduced the Ziex S/TZ05, the latest generation of its Ziex all-season performance tire for luxury SUVs and light trucks, during the 2012 SEMA Show.

The new tire, which is the successor to the Ziex S/TZ04, comes with a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty and “features the latest in tread compound and construction technology designed specifically for SUV and half-ton sport light truck applications,” Falken said.

The tire was designed with an advanced M+S all-season, non-directional tread design, Falken said. It also features double-tapered tread blocks and staggered shoulder lug grooves, for a smooth and quiet tire with a state-of-the-art look.

The all-season characteristic of the S/TZ05 comes from its double-tapered tread blocks, which Falken claims intensify noise reduction and water evacuation. The solid center rib is designed to improve lateral handling and highway stability, while the wide shoulder blocks help to improve tread stiffness and promote even wear throughout the life of the tire.

The tire will be available Dec. 3 in 16 sizes ranging from 20- to 24-inch rim diameters, with more sizes being added in 2013, Falken said.

Mickey Thompson debuts 2 LT tires

Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels debuted two hybrid design light truck tires.

The Mickey Thompson Baja ATZP3, which will be available in the first quarter of 2013, is a combination all-terrain/mud-terrain tire featuring an extra-wide footprint, large tread blocks and scalloped shoulder lugs designed to provide on- and off-road traction.

Other features of the tire include deep sidebiters for improved protection, multi-draft grooves for self-cleaning and improved wear and a new tread compound with improved cut and chip protection, the company said. The tire will be available initially in 20 sizes with wheel diameters ranging from 15 to 20 inches.

Mickey Thompson also added to its Dick Cepek tire line the Fun Country hybrid all-terrain/mud-terrain tire, which also will be available in the first quarter. It shares many features with the ATZP3 and will be available in 20 sizes with wheel diameters ranging from 15 to 20 inches.

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