Automechanika Frankfurt will be opening its doors for the 25th time from 11 to 15 September 2018, and never before has the world’s biggest aftermarket fair had so much to offer for trucks, vans, buses and trailers.

This year features the first Truck Competence Symposium with a high-quality panel and a training workshop for commercial vehicle professionals.

Approximately 1000 companies will be showcasing their products and solutions for commercial vehicles at the 25th Automechanika Frankfurt, and the familiar ‘Truck Competence’ pictogram will once again identify the stands offering items of interest for commercial vehicle professionals. But that is not all: Automechanika Frankfurt has responded to the growing importance of commercial vehicles for workshops and spare parts dealers by expanding its supporting programme. Visitors can look forward to a new Truck Competence Symposium on the latest trends in the commercial vehicle market, as well as a training workshop for radar- and camera-based driver assistance systems in workshop practice.

Olaf Mußhoff, Director of Automechanika Frankfurt, said: “Retrofit solutions for commercial vehicles are becoming ever more important, and we have been investing in our portfolio to strengthen the professional commercial vehicle market.”

Symposium: Trends in commercial vehicle service

On 13 September from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and in collaboration with the ETM-Verlag publishing house, the ‘Trends in commercial vehicle service’ symposium will be looking into the ways in which electrification and digitisation will change the workshop business. The symposium will be delving into such topics as digital applications for vehicle acceptance, digital vehicle files and predictive maintenance.

Furthermore, the symposium will be addressing the use of augmented reality for training workshop personnel, as well as professional claims management and intelligent tachographs.

The roster of speakers at the symposium includes industry experts such as Bernhard Wasner (Paul Nutzfahrzeuge), Benjamin Hellbusch (Schmitz Cargobull), Jürgen Lumera (Bosch), Nadine Wulf (Mercedes-Benz’s Hannover-Langenhagen location), Rolf Hildebrand (ZF), Reinhard Dittmers (Continental) and Christian Heid (Kanzlei Voigt Rechtsanwalts GmbH). The effects of digital technologies on everyday practice in workshops, as well as their benefits for service operations, are among the themes that will be in focus. Thomas Rosenberger, Editor-in-Chief of ‘WERKSTATT aktuell’ and ‘lastauto omnibus’, will be guiding participants through the programme of this four-hour event taking place in Hall 8.1 in the ‘Symmetrie 2’ room. Trade fair visitors can participate free of charge.

Automechanika: Spotlight on the latest trends for commercial vehicles

More and more digital technologies and intelligent and networked systems are being used in commercial vehicles, as well as in servicing these vehicles. It is a trend that is also reflected in the products and innovations on display from ‘Truck Competence’ exhibitors at this year’s Automechanika, including smartphone and tablet apps for training and instruction in service and repair, as well as in online spare parts ordering. Apps will be replacing vehicle keys in the near future, and will serve as universal remote controls for a wide range of trailer functions and vehicle superstructures, including loading cranes and roll-off tippers. Visitors to Automechanika 2018 can already see some of these solutions from exhibitors such as Bosch, BPW, Knorr-Bremse and ZF.

First mirror replacement system approved for trucks

Intelligent assistance systems for drivers, including emergency braking assistants, autonomous cruise control (ACC) and lane assistants are already in use in trucks, buses and vans, yet there has still been no avoiding the conventional act of looking into the mirror – until now. Vision solution specialists MEKRA Lang is presenting the first mirror replacement system approved for use in trucks at this year’s Automechanika. The camera system, which boasts large displays on the A-pillars inside the driver’s cab, renders large exterior mirrors superfluous. This does more than simply lower the aerodynamic drag of the vehicle – coloured overlays allow the system to display distances to other vehicles or dynamically adapt the angle of view when manoeuvring.

The fact that automated driving is not some dream of the future, but is actually reality today, is confirmed by the latest developments on display from multiple exhibitors. Not only ZF and Bosch, but also Knorr-Bremse has developed control systems that have not only mastered the task of environment recognition, but whose automated decision-making processes and actuation make it possible to realise entirely automated driving for commercial vehicles. With the next step – networking and digital communication between vehicles, traffic lights, road signs and other road users, a field in which Bosch is one of the drivers – the vision of accident-free road traffic is fast approaching reality.

Retrofitting electric drive systems

A new megatrend – and not only for cars, but increasingly for vans, trucks and buses as well – is electric drive systems. For commercial vehicles, electrification is particularly appealing for city use, as electric vehicles do more than simply enable emission-free local transport. By reducing driving noise, they also relieve the burden on residents, something that is especially important in the night-time hours. With the conversion of vans and light trucks from conventional diesel propulsion to electric drive systems, workshops with the right tools and know-how will be able to enter into lucrative new business fields in future. Axle-manufacturer BPW is helping lay the foundation with its new electric drive axle. BPW developed its new axle especially for retrofitting existing distribution vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 7.5 tonnes. According to BPW, the drive system, which comprises a motor-gearbox unit and a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 40-80 kWh, makes possible ranges of up to 100 kilometres.

Truck Competence training workshops

One of the daily highlights in Automechanika’s wide-ranging trade fair programme is the Truck Competence training workshop ‘Radar- and camera-based driver assistance systems in workshop practice’, which will be taking place every day from 10:00 a.m. until noon (12:00 p.m.) in a special workshop tent in the F11 outdoor exhibition area. The trade journal KrafthandTRUCK is serving as a partner to the event, which has also secured the services of Master Automotive Technician Hendrik Harenbrock, an experienced commercial vehicle specialist and trainer for the Vehicular Department of the Chamber of Trades Training Centre in Münster (HBZ), for the workshop.

“From November 2018, emergency braking assistants and lane assistants will be legally required in all trucks. This means that even after simple repairs, it will be necessary to reset, adjust and calibrate vehicles – and every manufacturer has their own special procedure for this. In our workshop, we help commercial vehicle professionals to prepare for these challenges.” – Hendrik Harenbrock, Master Automotive Technician

The theory is combined with an extensive hands-on component in which participants can learn how to calibrate and adjust the sensors and cameras on a vehicle. The workshop is aimed at commercial vehicle mechanics, electricians and mechatronics specialists, as well as service consultants, automotive experts and vocational school teachers.