ST. LOUIS — Hunter Engineering Co.'s reputation as a designer and supplier of vehicle maintenance and repair equipment is well established, but the St. Louis-based company wants customers to think beyond individual pieces of equipment and take a more holistic approach to their business.
Hunter is focusing an increasing share of its engineering resources on combining the individual repair/maintenance processes — tire mounting/balancing, wheel alignment, etc. — into more integrated systems while at the same time automating more and more of the individual tasks needed.
At the forefront of this evolution is something Hunter calls "Safety System Alignment." This is the company's attempt to address rapidly evolving vehicle technology — think anti-lock brakes (ABS), adaptive cruise control (ACC), lane departure warning (LDW), electronic stability control (ESC), etc. — and provide independent aftermarket service establishments with tools to help customers when these technologies are involved.
These new safety-oriented devices, referred to collectively as Advanced Drive Assist System (ADAS), are standard or optional equipment on nearly a third of the 15 million new passenger vehicles registered in the U.S. in 2015, Hunter said.
In its pitch to potential customers, Hunter compares and contrasts wheel alignment and safety system alignment, stating that while the primary goal of wheel alignment is to measure and adjust the primary wheel alignment angles to the vehicle maker's specifications, safety system alignment addresses the relationship between wheel alignment and systems such as ESC, electric power steering (EPS), LDW, ACC, forward collision warning (FCW), etc.
Hunter's Safety System Alignment package features both hardware and software platforms to help a dealer carry out a full inspection.
For example, ESC and EPS, which are increasingly common on newer vehicles, often require a service provider to reset the steering angle and/or other related sensors before the vehicle can be driven away.