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What is a Wheel Play Detector?

A wheel play detector, (or wheel play detectors, they can come as single, dual and also twin plates, but more about that further down the page) is an item of garage workshop equipment which is often utilised on vehicle lifts, either four post lifts or scissor lifts and also with in-ground inspection pit set ups. Their primary function is to place loading on the steering and suspension components of a test vehicle. The reason for conducting these tests and using Wheel Play Detectors is to ascertain if there is any play in these components that would therefore need to be addressed for the continued safe operation of the vehicle. Wheel Play Detectors began life over 40 years ago assisting in the inspecting of commercial vehicles steering components and king pins.

How do Play Detectors Work?

To apply loading to the steering and suspension components, wheel play detectors will create both rotational and lateral movement through the use of hydraulic or pneumatic rams, which in turn move the plates that the vehicles front (and sometimes rear) wheels are located on. These movements are done independently of each other, so either a lateral movement or a rotational movement is generated by the wheel play detector. Due to the motion that they create in the vehicle during their use they are also known as Shaker Plates or ATL Shaker Plates.

When to use Shaker Plates?

They are commonly used during an MOT test and also for any inspections of the steering and suspension of a test vehicle, although if you can believe it some garages still choose to use a second person to manually manoeuvre the wheel for the inspecting of these components. However, there are two main problems with the original ‘two person’ method, firstly, it is difficult and heavy work for the person manoeuvring the wheel. Secondarily, the test vehicle has to be lifted off the ground so the person manoeuvring the wheel is actually able to move it, as a result the components are not being tested and inspected in a ‘real world’ setting under load.

Single, Dual and Twin plate systems?

Play Detectors have various names for the different approaches to creating the two required movements. You can have one play detector plate / unit that can do both required movements, this can be located under either the left or right wheel on the vehicle lift. Alternatively you can have two separate plates, with one under the left wheel and the second one under the right wheel. With this type of arrangement one plate creates the rotational movement and the other plate creates the lateral movement.

Unfortunately the names that are commonly in use for these systems are almost interchangeable, as in a Single / Twin / Dual Play Detector plate might be referring to the movements (lateral or rotational) created by a single plate or alternatively it may refer to the number of plates required to create the two required motions (lateral or rotational).

It will always be best to ensure you are very clear when specifying what type of play detector system you are referring to although they all achieve the same result. The only time that you may wish to choose a single plate unit that does both movements over dual plate units that each do the separate movements is when working with in-ground pits, as this can reduce the amount of work required at the civil work stage.

Pneumatic or a Hydraulic Wheel Play Detectors?

There is a choice when it comes to wheel play detectors and both of these systems have little difference between them in their approach to driving the play detectors. However, there are two main reasons why over time hydraulically powered shaker plate systems have become more popular. The first reason is that hydraulic shaker plates are very robust and reliable in their use. The second factor in why hydraulic play detectors have become the clear leader of the two systems is that the ATL shaker plates are commonly factory installed on four post lifts and scissor lifts when they are ordered, with these car ramps being nearly always being hydraulically driven. The wheel play detector plates then utilise the vehicle lifts hydraulic power system.

How does the operator control the shaker plates?

Having covered the reasons for why you would use ATL shaker plates and the principles of how they work, the final point to cover is how the operator controls them. The person utilising the wheel play detectors needs to be able to control the action of the units while watching the resulting movement of the steering and suspension components. To achieve this they will use a remote controlled system with push button controls, often with an actual wire heading back to the control unit (although wireless models are now becoming available). The controllers nearly always have a torch light set in the end of the remote to assist the operator see what they are inspecting, as by the very nature of what they are inspecting is often in the shadows. This has lead to the play detector controllers often being called ‘Torches’ even though is is definitely only their secondary function.

What can Lions Equipment do for you and your ATL Shaker Plate requirements?

There are three main areas that Lions Equipment can help you with shaker plates. We firstly have over 40 years experience in specifying Class IV (Class 4 MOT ) and Class VII (Class 7 MOT) ATL Lanes and Bays, so if you are looking for advise or a quote on a new MOT installation then we have the knowledge to help you. We have also been servicing and repairing wheel play detectors since they first came into operation so are able to diagnose any fault that your units may be suffering from and repair it. Finally, having worked with shaker plates for so many years and seen the faults that have affected the manufacturers own handsets we have designed our own shaker plate remote control, the LE300, which works with nearly all Italian shaker plate systems. So if you have any questions regarding ATL Shaker Plates then contact us so we may help you.

ATL Wheel Play Detectors - AKA Shaker Plates

Why Buy the MajorLift HPJ2.0DE over another model?

In any vehicle garage or workshop environment, when working on cars or vehicles one of the main requirements is to be able to get them up off the ground to facilitate the work. When using 4 post lifts and ramps then you will require a jacking beam to achieve this if you wish to go wheel free. The HPJ2.0DE manually operated Jacking Beam is a high-quality product that is designed to allow extra lift from a 4 post lift, so the wheels of the vehicle being lifted hang like when a car is on a two post lift (AKA Wheel-Free). Jacking Beams are extremely useful for this purpose and after our extensive time working with all brands and various models of Jacking Beams, Lions Equipment has chosen to recommend the MajorLift HPJ2.0DE as its go to jacking beam due to the fact that it will fulfil nearly all 2000KG lifting requirements and facilitate the carrying out of class 4 (class iv) MOT inspections in garages and vehicle workshops.

If you are a garage or workshop where you will be planning to be working on all 4 wheels (or the corners of the vehicle) at once, for example on the brakes, tyres or suspension we would recommend the fitting of two of the HPJ2.0DE Jacking Beams on your four post lift to have the vehicle in a wheel free position.

With a tried, tested and proven design that has been in production for over 30 years you can be confident that with the MajorLift HPJ2.0DE manual operated Jacking Beam you are getting an incredibly reliable jacking beam that will give you years of trouble service.

What is the lifting weight limit and other specifications of the HPJ2 Jacking Beam?

The MajorLift 2 tonne HPJ2.0DE has an extra-wide extending top beam which extends to a maximum to 1700mm, which exceeds the MOT class 4 (class iv) requirements. It uses a ram and scissors design and set up to achieve a full 260mm (10.25”) lift with proven hydraulics which make up the heart of every Majorlift jacking beam, giving it the gutsy, robust and very reliable service life that you would expect from a MajorLift product.

Safety Features that you can be glad of.

When you are using the HPJ2.0DE manual operated Jacking Beam you can be reassured by the three-position Mechanical Lock which engages automatically, thus creating a safe working platform when carrying out extensive wheel overhauls. Other safety features which are standard with this Jacking Beam are; hose burst valve, pressure release valve to prevent overloading and a finger guard complies with European machinery directive and CE marking.

Other points to like about the HPJ2.0DE manual operated Jacking Beam

  • Raiser Blocks – Supplied as standard with each beam. Rubber-topped screw pad 1532A and aluminium block 1526 that will fit anywhere over the length of the beam. Additional blocks can be supplied as optional extras.
  • Roller Hook or Roller Flat Support Arms Supplied As Standard – Majorlift also supply support-arms (extra P.O.A) to accommodate most makes of lift including Bradbury, Tecalemit, Werther, Stertil-Koni, Stenhoj, Laycock, Hofmann, Istobal, Fogg, Ravaglioli, Nussbaum, Consul, Rotary, Maha, Autec, Sun, Cascos, Omer, Texo and Wheeltronics.
  • Support Arms – Easy roll operation from quality roller bearings – minimum effort, easy movement.
  • A robust finger guard curtain system, better than many other manufacturers.

So, having shared with you all the reasons why we consider this jacking beam to be a great choice for many situations in many garages and workshops, contact us now to discuss your needs and requirements and we will be glad to assist you.

The Ravaglioli KPX337WK is a popular two post lift that is used in professional garages and workshops throughout the UK, why is that so?

Ravaglioli manufacture some of the best garage equipment in the world, particularly specialising in vehicle lifts and tyre and test equipment. They are based in Italy and are also Europes leading manufacturer of garage lifting equipment and their equipment is all manufactured at their own factory. There are many reasons that the Ravaglioli KPX337WK is a popular two post lift for use in garages and workshops and we will run through them all in this article. The first and what is also one of the main points that should be highlighted is that this particular double posted lift has been in production for over 20 years. During that time there have only been minor refinements carried out to the Ravaglioli KPX337WK as it has proved so reliable from the very beginning. This point alone means that you can buy this very competitively priced car hoist knowing that it has a proven track record of delivering not only the reliability but also the functionality and flexibility that is required in professional garages.

What type of vehicle lift is the Ravaglioli KPX337WK?

The fundamental design and construction of the Ravaglioli KPX337WK is that it is a baseless asymmetrical electro-mechanical two post lift that has a lifting capacity of 3200 KG. The weight capacity lets you know how much weight the lift can handle. Depending on what you are planning to do will determine what type of lift you need and how heavy-duty it needs to be. Always check weight capacity and compare it to the vehicles you will be working on. The lifting capacity of 3200 KG that the Ravaglioli KPX337WK is rated for allows for a wide range of vehicles to be worked on, including medium wheelbase commercial vans, large SUVs and also pick up trucks like the ubiquitous Ford Ranger. The other important point to note is that the K at the end of the lift model name references that it has the ability to accept 'drop in' lift pad extension pieces (min. pad height 95 mm) which takes what was already a versatile vehicle ramp and opens up even further possibilities in its use and what type of vehicles can be lifted upon it. For this reason we would always recommend this model.

How does the Ravaglioli KPX337WK lift the vehicles?

As with every electro-mechanical vehicle two post lift it uses lift nuts running on threaded spindles to raise and lower the arms of the lift with the added benefit that the threaded spindles allow for very fine adjustment in the height positioning when working on a vehicle. The spindle or ‘rolled screws’ are manufactured from a high resistance steel to ensure long and hassle free use throughout their life. The Ravaglioli KPX337WK also benefits from having main lift nuts that are made of bronze (no plastic) with a high resistance to wear for greater safety and a longer working life. The spindles and the lift nuts also have an automatic and permanent nut lubrication system to guarantee efficient lubrication during lifting and descent. The rolled screw spindles are driven by two independent specially manufactured three phase high efficiency motors mounted on the top of each post. The controls for this CE approved lift are also low voltage which is always a good idea.

Why do baseless and asymmetrical mean good things for a workshop when choosing a vehicle lift?

Baseless lifts have 4 clear reasons why they are better than the older fashioned ‘base frame’ lift design. Firstly having no base frame means that equipment such as transmission jacks can easily be moved and accurately positioned underneath a vehicle with no obstructions. After that, in which ever order you prefer, is that there is no trip hazard between the posts at any point, the lift itself has a smaller footprint without the additional above ground frame supports going front and back and lastly access for low cars is improved by them not having the drive over the base frame.

2 post lifts can be designed with symmetrical or asymmetrical columns and arms for the different vehicle positioning that they allow. How the columns and arms are oriented can change accessibility to getting in and out of the vehicle, as well as changes the accessibility to different parts of the vehicle’s exterior. Because the Ravaglioli KPX337WK is asymmetrical the lifting position of the vehicle can be further back than a symmetrical lift would allow for which is no bad thing when considering what vehicles you may be working upon.

Final thoughts on the construction, design and benefits of the Ravaglioli KPX337WK two post vehicle lift.

So having already covered some of the many reasons that make this Ravaglioli 2 post lift such a good choice for many workshops it would be good to end on the final specifications that turn that good choice into a great choice. The two posts that house the rolled screws/spindles are themselves constructed out of a tubular structure that is made of 5 robot welded sections…..and what this means is there nothing sturdier in the world, which is exactly what you want to know when they are supporting a car, van or SUV above your head. The vehicle lifting arms are three - stage short arms for asymmetric lifting of large vehicles. There is automatic arm locking during lifting and automatic unlocking when the arm reaches the floor with a self-locking conical design. Three stage short arms allows for flexibility in the positioning of the vehicle when loading it on to the lift, in short, no pun intended, they are short arms with a longer reach and also recommended for the lifting of off-road vehicles.

The Lions Take - Why we recommend the Ravaglioli KPX337WK

  • design has been refined for over 20years
  • clear floor - no base platform
  • competitively priced
  • CE approved lift
  • drop in lift pads
  • rocksolid mechanical synchronisation levelling system
  • automatic and permanent nut lubrication system
  • tubular structure made of 5 robot welded sections
  • three - stage short arms allowing asymmetric lifting of large vehicles
  • min. pad height 95 mm

So, having shared with you all the reasons why we consider this lift to be a great choice for many situations in many garages and workshops, contact us now to discuss your needs and requirements and we will be glad to assist you.

Lions Equipment UK

Lions Equipment has been supplying Italian equipment since the 1980’s.  Let us guide you to find the correct equipment to suit your requirements.
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