Truck and Track Spring 2023

Less fuel & emissions, further on tyres Established over 35 years ago in 1978, Lasalign has strong claims to have been the first ever dedicated mobile wheel alignment company. Its mission has always been to provide a mobile service utilising sophisticated, laser-assisted, measuring systems for the commercial vehicle axle market. This technology replaced the previous, error-prone method of stretching a line or tape measure from the trailer kingpin to the axle ends or periscope / trammel gauges for steering axles. Misalignment is frequently caused when trailer wheels strike or ride over kerbstones. Government-funded tests at the Road Research Laboratory proved that a single degree of misalignment of one axle in a tandem configuration will consume as much as 3% extra fuel from the tractor’s tank. 2% of misalignment equates to 8% additional fuel. This test was conducted in 1980. Obviously fuel and tyre prices have risen to record levels since then, but the percentage values remain the same. The ratio within a typical fleet of articulated vehicles is one tractor unit to two trailers. The tractor uses the fuel, whereas the trailer carries the load. If some offending trailers exist among your fleet with axle misalignment, then the tractive unit’s fuel consumption will vary greatly, depending on whether it is pulling a true or misaligned trailer. All sorts of causes are considered except the forgotten animal, the trailer. For this reason you should insist on alignment checks at least annually. Lasalign prides itself on being able to set the wheel alignment for a tractor unit or rigid to suit its application. Accordingly, a long-haul vehicle will benefit from a setting at one end of the manufacturer’s tolerance, whilst a multi-drop vehicle of a similar type will be at the other end, in order to prolong the tyre life. Once a tyre has worn unevenly, it is difficult to correct. Therefore resetting the wheel alignment from new – and monitoring tyres and tyre pressures on a regular basis – will pay huge dividends in the battle to control fuel and tyre costs and CO2 emissions. On the BPW axle, the kingpin is a shrink fit into the axle beam, and it was proven that the use of controlled induction heating to the axle beam in the area of the kingpin produced rapid local expansion which would enable removal and installation of the pin itself. This whole process is carried out with the axle removed from the vehicle to facilitate access for the correct press tools. Previous methods of heating the axle beam, such as propane, were not particularly successful owing to the fact that, by the time the axle beam was at the correct temperature, heat had transferred through to the kingpin, negating the heat differential effect. Over the years, Lasalign has seen the disastrous results of trying to remove kingpins with either too much or too little heat. In addition, most hydraulic presses have only a short stroke on the ram, making extraction and installation slow, adding to the build-up of heat through to the kingpin. The induction heater Lasalign uses concentrates the heat instantly to a small, precise area on the axle beam, with very little heat transfer to the kingpin. Coupled with this, Lasalign has invested in a purpose-designed hydraulic press that will extract or install the kingpin or bushes in one stroke. Over the years, the company has accumulated comprehensive tooling to exacting standards to cater for most makes of trailer steer axles. With correct wheel alignment you will lower your fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, increase your tyre life and put safer and more stable trucks and trailers on the road! For further details, call Lasalign on 01788 860 594, email or go to Lasalign Ltd, Shawell Depot, Watling Street (A5), Lutterworth, Leicestershire LE17 6AR. KINGPIN REPLACEMENT WHEEL ALIGNMENT