AKRONHunter Engineering Co.'s work the past few years on shop automation has yielded developments that offer both productivity enhancements and business generation potential.
Among them is the Quick Tread alignment system, a laser-based, drive-over tread depth and wear measurement system that automatically measures the alignment of a vehicle against manufacturer specifications by capturing an image of the tread of the vehicle's tires as the vehicle is driven over the unit.
Its developer, Sigmavision Ltd. of England, claims the system can help dealers boost their tire sales and increase service sales (wheel alignments mostly) while improving customer retention.
The unit detects tread grooves to report up to six measurements per tire, a feature that Hunter said yields more accurate results and distinguishes it from competing systems.
The results are displayed on the accompanying console and also presented on a printout that recommends tire replacement by showing a 3D model of the customer's vehicle's tread. The inspection reports come complete with graphics, segmented results and vehicle photos to make them easy for customers to understand, Hunter said.
Based on user experience with the system since Quick Tread was launched at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in 2014, Hunter said dealers on average have been able to turn about a quarter of the scans into new tires sold and convert up to 60 percent of drivers shown the scans into alignment customers.
Quick Treadpart of Hunter's Quick Check vehicle monitoring systemcan be used as a stand-alone unit or can be built into a dealership's shop floor. The system can operate in wet conditions as well.
Quick Tread was named one of MOTOR Magazine's Top 20 Tools for 2015; the awards are given annually for breakthroughs in originality, quality and ingenuity, according to Hunter.
Purcell Tire & Rubber Co., which has been testing the system for some months now at its Purcell Tire & Service Center in Crystal City, Mo., said using Quick Check allows it to provide customers with a six-point inspection report in less time than it takes to brew a cup of coffee.
Besides Quick Tread, Hunter's Quick Check system also offers: a stopping check that tests each wheel's braking force; a diagnostic check that retrieves emission system codes and other key information from the vehicle; tire pressure check and adjustment; wheel alignment verification; and a battery health check.