Wednesday 22 September 2021

Continental issues smart tacho update for workshops

Continental, the provider of VDO DTCO tachograph technology, has reminded workshops of the need to prepare for the first periodic inspections of the new generation of smart tachographs, which will be due in the coming months.

In the summer of 2019, vehicle workshops began applying the extended test procedure for the new generation of smart tachographs, as required by EU Regulations 165/2014 and 2018/502. The DTCO tachograph was calibrated accordingly in new vehicles.

However, the first vehicles with smart tachographs that are due for mandatory two-year periodic inspection and maintenance will start coming to workshops only now. This will open up new opportunities for workshops, and Continental says digital equipment can help mitigate the complexities and manage the test procedure successfully.

Against this background, Continental is calling to the attention of commercial vehicle workshops changes in the testing of smart tachographs as compared to devices of earlier generations. It is also reminding workshops of the coming extension of mandatory testing to new vehicle classes and the phased introduction of the next DTCO generation, including mandatory retrofitting, starting in 2023.

Smart tachographs have new interfaces, and workshops will have to be able to test them. Besides performing familiar tasks like checking the integrity of the KITAS seal and testing the tachograph’s memory functions, they will now have to test the DSRC interface and satellite reception.

The test personnel will have to demonstrate that they have the technical prerequisites for activating, testing, installing and later inspecting smart tachographs.

In addition, workshops that perform these tests will need a workshop card of the second generation. Continental advises workshops to update their equipment and knowledge and ensure technicians are trained and certified for the new generation.

In the UK, all new workshop cards issued by DVSA are smart tachograph-ready.

Many workshops are still not prepared for the new tachographs, says Continental.

“We’re in constant contact with our workshop partners in order to provide maximum transparency,” said Continental’s tachograph expert Markus Weide.

Weide is not at all surprised by these businesses’ hesitancy.

“After all, many are asking themselves whether it’s worth the effort and expense to invest in DSRC and GNSS test equipment, plus additional peripheral devices.”

When confronted with such misgivings, he reminds the workshops that tachograph checks are linked with other service appointments. If they no longer offer periodic inspections as part of their service portfolio, they run the risk of losing regular customers, he says, because the advantages of “one-stop shopping” for inspection and tachograph testing are much appreciated.

“Transport companies will hardly accept the unnecessary downtimes that come from making an appointment in workshop A for inspection and a separate appointment in workshop B for tachograph testing,” he explained.

Continental highlights a further important consideration: that a large number of tachographs requiring new calibration can soon be expected. The EU Mobility Package I stipulates that all vehicles with a gross weight of 3.5 metric tons and over must be retrofitted for the coming second generation of smart tachographs no later than autumn of 2025, if they are to be used for cross-border journeys. Less than a year after that, digital tachographs will also be required for light commercial vehicles weighing 2.5 tons and over – again if they are used for cross-border transport.

“In view of this market potential, workshops should not ask themselves whether or not to offer periodic inspections in the future, but rather how to make the inspection process as fast and reliable as possible,” Weide added.

Continental’s VDO Workshop Tablet, services and new test equipment are said to offer solutions for workshops of any size. The tablet makes it possible to carry out many test steps right from the cab, says the company, and can be used to speed up inspection processes and increase workshop profits.

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