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Plate Testers

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Workshop Solutions, the manufacturers of Safe-T-Stop and PlateTronic vehicle test equipment, was founded by Richard Gartner in 1990.

Since then he has pursued a policy of continual product development and expansion for the manufacturing and distribution company.

Richard Gartner, a trained toolmaker from Switzerland, was involved in motor-racing where he quickly realised the importance of correctly adjusted and maintained brakes on motor cars, both on the race track as well as on public roads.

He also realised the only way of testing the correct left-to-right and front-to-rear brake force distribution, simulated as ‘on road conditions’, is on a plate brake testing machine.

These plate testers would actually simulate and measure the precise brake force distributions on each wheel under heavy braking, like an emergency situation. Ultimately, being able to measure and adjust a vehicles’ brake force distribution will lead to a faster car on the track or a safer car on the road. This is a vital safety aspect other test methods miss, according to Richard.

Workshop Solutions in Australia then became the distributor for the leading German Plate Brake Test Manufacturer, HEKA. This system was sold to workshops for several years, however, after the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA), now (RMS, Roads & Maritime Service), changed brake testing regulations for Pink and Blue slip safety-check operators in NSW, these machines, just like most other overseas manufacturers, could not meet these new regulations set by the New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA).

Richard then worked closely with the RTA to develop a new plate brake testing system meeting the exact requirements for pass and fail criteria for their new regulations. The new test track was designed by Richard and Workshop Solutions, concentrating on several key issues which were a problem with the previous model.

Development especially concentrated on a more durable test track, with the criteria of being able to test up to 4.5t vehicles and also being able to install the machine in the driveway of a workshop business, therefore making the concept of PlateTronic and Safe-T-Stop possible.

The software and load-cell devices were developed by HKM, a leading manufacturer in Germany supplying 80 per cent of the brake test manufacturers market in Europe. Their research and development program is on the cutting edge of technology. Workshop Solutions concentrated on building a more accurate, robust, safer and easier to use system for the rugged Australian conditions.

In 1997, the first prototype, the BAT, was introduced at Taxis Combined, a workshop where up to 300 vehicles per day could be driven over the system and was in daily use for nearly 20 years. The PlateTronic was then introduced to the Australian market in January 2000 firstly at Sydney City Toyota, a large dealership owned by Toyota. 80 cars per day are tested on the PlateTronic and this was also used for 15 years.

Both Taxis Combined and Toyota have upgraded to the new Photo Proof Test System. These two examples alone are a great testament to the durability and reliability of the new system.

And now, PlateTronic has moved to a PC based system with a world-first inclusion of photo verification of the tested vehicle. The test results are presented with easy to understand colour graphics enabling the customer to appreciate the accuracy and validity of the test.

With an improved and expanded product range and experiencing continuous growth, Workshop Solutions recently moved its operations, including head-office and manufacturing, to a new facility located in Minchinbury in Sydney’s west at Unit 1, 44 Eddie Road.

These new premises are suitable for industry information and training days/ evenings. Many have already been carried out for heavy vehicle operators needing to assess Chain of Responsibility Compliance and other motoring associations and franchises. These are booked on an as needs basis and enquiries from interested groups are most welcome.

Workshop Solutions is the leading plate brake test manufacturer in Australia and other products produced by Workshop Solutions are: side slip testers, shock absorber testers, and weighbridges. These are built and designed for light vehicles through to heavy, multi-axle vehicles.

The accuracy and ease of use of the PlateTronic range of test equipment, combined with the Safe-T-Stop Business Plan, has increased profits for a large number of motor vehicle dealerships, mechanical repair shops, tyre and brake specialists, Repco Authorised Repair Centres and many other franchises. PlateTronic test tracks are also used in TAFE Colleges and by Government Departments like the Department of Transport WA, NSW Fire Brigade and Queensland Fire & Rescue.

The PlateTronic range, with non-slip stainless steel grip plates, is world-class, absolute state-of-the-art. Workshop Solutions also exports to various regions around the world.

Over 1,000 of these systems have been installed around Australia and New Zealand in many different working situations. Each business is assessed by the PlateTronic team at Workshop Solutions for the best position location prior to an installation.

This decision is based largely on the daily routines of the business and is agreed upon by managers, technicians and the PlateTronic team. It then gets installed by its factory trained technicians followed by comprehensive staff training. Because it is the manufacturer (not just a wholesaler), service and follow-up training is always readily available.

The test tracks are suitable for any size workshop in any sector of the automotive industry.
For more information call Workshop Solutions on (02) 9832 0045.

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