|>Bosch Spotlights New Tool, Technology Trends and Training Support
May 12, 2010
Robert Bosch recently hosted a trade press event at its headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Broadview, Ill., to introduce its KTS 340, a new diagnostic tool for the North American market.
Shop owners, technicians and media took part in Bosch’s presentations and hands-on demonstrations of this new tool and also some of Bosch’s complementary tools and equipment.
According to Bosch, this easy-to-use tool provides the technician with greater productivity, efficiency and accuracy, emphasizing time saved with fast and reliable diagnosis of domestic, Asian and European vehicles.
“The complexity of vehicles makes it difficult to diagnose and service them. Even simple services are becoming more complex,” said Jim Frazer, director of marketing for Bosch Diagnostics Business Unit, who emphasized how shops must prepare for the vehicle of the future.
The KTS 340 is the first entirely new tool introduced by Bosch since the acquisition of Vetronix in 2006. According to Bosch, the KTS 340 is the merger of the Master Tech and the KTS platforms, pulling the best attributes from both tools. The company says it will continue to sell, support and update software for the existing diagnostic tool lines.
“It’s imperative to have the proper knowledge and equipment.” That, coupled with technical support, is essential today, and will be more so in the future as vehicles become more complex, he continued.
“The vehicle today is like a computer on wheels, however the vehicle of tomorrow will be a supercomputer with a rolling IP address, constantly connected to the grid,” Frazer explained. Shops need to prepare for this growth in vehicle complexity and connectivity.
The KTS 340 connects to service information and the Internet through standard WiFi. Right out of the box, the tool is operational and does not require setup with a desktop computer. The first year of updates are free, and users are not required to purchase previous updates to update the tool if they let their subscription lapse.
A main theme throughout the event was “Shop Efficiency = Increased Profits.” Bob Pattengale, field sales technical trainer in the Diagnostics Business Unit, said that Bosch is constantly looking for ways to help shop productivity, and he advises shop owners to “invest today, save time now.”
One of the KTS 340’s time-saving features is it provides three ways to easily and accurately identify a vehicle: automatic vehicle identification, manual VIN entry, or by year/make/model.
The company has devoted a special website to the KTS 340 – www.kts340.net.
David Scribner, group product manager for wheel service, demonstrated how the KTS 340 works in conjunction with Bosch’s FWA 4630 Easy 3D Alignment System.
Wheel alignment and suspension work used to be a mechanical service. The only computer used was the alignment system. “Pure mechanical days are over,” said Scribner. Currently, 10 million-plus vehicles within North America require an steering angle sensor reset after wheel alignment is done. That number will rise significantly as electronic stability control (ESC) is added to all new vehicle platforms by 2012. Failure to perform the manufacturers’ required SAS reset after a wheel alignment could cause conditions that may result in a comeback.
Because Bosch diagnostic and wheel alignment equipment run on the same platform, the technician can also perform non-alignment related services while the vehicle is in the alignment bay, including everything from diagnosing a check engine light to diagnosing and correcting problems with ABS.
Michael Loth, director of training, stressed that training is important to the shop owner because it increases customer satisfaction through improved service, faster repairs, fewer customer comebacks, and increased technician retention.
“The technician of today has to have diagnostic tools to service the whole system,” Loth continued. “Training is imperative. Today’s cars have as many as 50 microprocessors on them. Most motorists don’t even know where the computers and networks are located on their car and what function they serve. Technicians need to be able to diagnose and repair vehicle problems using the correct parts.”
Bosch Car Service program supports shops with such training, as well as technical and product support. “We help prepare member shops and their technicians to properly and profitably service gasoline, diesel and even hybrid vehicles and systems,” said Michael Lippman, BCS concept manager.
Candidate service centers are evaluated on many criteria, including: facility, technical ability and customer service. Program benefits include: Bosch signage, technical training, field support, marketing assistance and warranty support.
The event wrapped up with a presentation from Odd Joergenrud regional president of Bosch’s North American aftermarket business. Joergenrud commented that this year has had a good start, with clear signs of recovery in all regions.