A mate that has your back

A mate that has your back

BrakeMate is said to eliminate the lifting of heavy brake calipers and hubs, and keeps the lifting of discs to a minimum. CVW investigates.

BrakeMate is designed as an elevated service platform for servicing heavy vehicle disc brake assemblies; it is reported to eliminate all manual lifting of the caliper and hub, and substantially reduces service time, saving both time and money. The equipment is actually manufactured in Australia by Tulip Corp, a company that has been engineering products for 75 years, and is distributed in the UK by pit specialist, Premier Pits.

The brake disc assembly on heavy commercial vehicles, buses and coaches can weigh up to 70kg, much higher than the 25kg limit recommended by HSE. Lifting such weights can often lead to injuries, which are not only painful to the employee, but also financially painful to employers through lost time and compensation claims, ranging anywhere from £10,000 to £30,000.

The system comprises two trolley-based working platforms. Firstly, using the adjustable clamp mechanism, the caliper, which can weigh up to 30kg, is easily removed and stowed on the platform for reassembly later in the process. The clamp can be used on calipers situated in the three, nine and 12 o’clock positions.

Once the caliper is removed, the disc/hub trolley is moved into position and located onto the studs. Adapter plates allow for connection with common eight- and 10-stub patterns. A manual hydraulic ram separates the hub assembly from the vehicle, which allows the user to feel the force being applied.

After removal, the two trolleys are then mated together to form a completed workstation in order to separate the disc from the hub. The used disc is rolled onto the built-in rotor rack, which is turned 180° to allow for the new disc to be moved into position. The process of removal is reversed and the unit is easily, safely and accurately fitted to the vehicle.

Safety justification

  • Eliminates heavy lifting in awkward positions under the wheel arch
  • Removal of 70kg hub assembly is no longer a two-person job and requires no physical lifting
  • Splitting the hub is difficult and may not be done as accurately as required. BrakeMate keeps all parts aligned when splitting and gives the feel required by using manual hydraulic 10-tonne puller
  • Handling of 30kg hubs is made simple with rotating service trolley
  • Realigning the hub is simple and safe
  • Final assembly is fitted back on the vehicle again safely and accurately with the hydraulic lift control

Cost justification

  • Using BrakeMate gives a reported one-hour-per-disc saving
  • Save six hours per vehicle (based on average three axle vehicle)
  • 6 hrs x 52 weeks = 312 hours saved per year
  • 312 hrs at £60/hr (Workshop Rate) = £18,720 saving
  • BrakeMate cost paid back in less than 6 months
  • Additional savings from 312 hours to use on other jobs

Based on a tri-axle vehicle

For more information, click here.

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