Buying an alignment machine? Lets use some common sense and compare a value priced CCD alignment system to a much more expensive 3-D alignment system.
3D technology is NOT a better technology than CCD technology... it is simply a different technology. See a side-by-side comparison here.
3D alignment measurement is not a NEW technology. It has existed since 1995. The CCD optical alignment measuring system (Atlas® 401) is not a NEW technology. It was first used in 1990. Both technologies have been improved but neither technology is NEW.
There appear to be no practical advantages to using the 3D type of alignment system over the CCD:
3-D technology does not align the car more accurately. Testing has proven that in most cases our Atlas® (401) CCD machines are more accurate. Our measuring sensors attach directly to the object we are measuring. (vehicle wheel). The 3D alignment system takes an image of a target mounted to the wheel and uses software to determine the wheel position.
The 3D alignment system does not align the vehicle faster than the CCD system. The Atlas® CCD systems can be set up and provide accurate vehicle measurements in under 5 minutes.
The 3D alignment system does not align a larger variety of vehicles. Our CCD systems will align all the vehicles that the 3D system will align plus many more. Many vehicles are too large for the 3D to align on the average size alignment lift rack. Our CCD systems will align large vehicles on a larger lift or on a (fairly) level floor or parking lot. We can align larger and more specialized vehicles than most 3-D alignment systems.
The 3D will not save the shop owner money on maintenance costs. Our system can use a non-proprietary replacement PC, monitor, printer, keyboard... if these components ever need to be replaced the owner can source them locally.
The 3-D alignment system does not have a larger vehicle data base... we have over 90,000 vehicles in our data base.
Simple Question: How do you generate the extra income needed offset the extra thousands of dollars you paid (or will pay) for a 3D alignment system?
1. Can you do more alignments per day, which would generate more income?NO. We know (and can document) that the Atlas® CCD system is just as fast (and as accurate) as the 3D alignment systems.2. Can you do alignments on a larger variety of vehicles to generate extra income?NO, we know (and can prove) that the Atlas® will handle a larger variety of vehicles.3. Can you save money on maintenance costs of 3-D over the CCD system?5NO4. Is the 3D more accurate thereby producing fewer comebacks?NO, our CCD accuracy is the same as the 3-D system.5. Will your customer pay more for a 3-D alignment simply because you paid more for your 3D alignment system?NO, he does not care about your investment cost...he wants to make sure that his steering wheel is set straight and he receives reasonable tire wear results as his vehicle "rolls straight down the road".6. Can I move the position of the 3-D camera system to any bay and use with any of my 4-post lifts?No, the 3-D camera system is permanently mounted in one bay and is "married" to one alignment rack. In fact, most 3-D alignment systems require extended bay length to accommodate the distance required between the camera and the wheel mounted sensors. If the 3-D camera system requires the operator to perform a œrollback operation, then the alignment lift may need to be "extra long" (and more expensive)7. What if a CCD sensor head falls to the floor and is damaged? A 3-D alignment system salesman told me that with the 3D system, only the target (sensor) would fall and since it has no electronic parts, it would be cheaper to fix or replace.It is very unlikely that sensors from an Atlas® CCD system (401) would drop if the CCD system is equipped with the 3 point fast clamps (grabber arms included). If the sensor did fall, the operator could recalibrate the sensor in his shop or ask for an exchange sensor to be sent from one of our locations.
SO HOW DO YOU OFFSET THE THOUSANDS OF EXTRA DOLLARS SPENT TO OWN THE 3D SYSTEM? Simple, you must work harder and longer (do more alignments) in order to offset the initial purchase cost of the system. Sounds like a government project...doesnt it?
Remember this important fact: A wheel alignment is just a wheel alignment. Your goal is to make sure the wheels are pointed straight ahead in the horizontal plane and standing straight in the vertical plane. No matter what technology is used, a wheel alignment system simply locates the wheel position in two planes and then guides the technician to make any needed adjustments in those two planes. It is very simple.