The winners of Automechanika Johannesburg 2017’s Innovation Awards competition were announced at a presentation ceremony at the trade fair’s opening at Nasrec, last week.
Brian Joss – Six products out of nearly two dozen that were entered were honoured for their innovative qualities following evaluation by a jury of automotive experts – Gideon de Klerk, Chairman of Partinform; John Ellmore of the RMI; industrial journalist David Furlonger of the Financial Mail; Dr Norman Lamprecht of NAAMSA; Renai Moothilal of NAACAM and Jakkie Olivier, CEO of the RMI. The awards were convened by Wynter Murdoch, editor of Automobil.
The competition was open to any recently introduced automotive products which the manufacturers or distributors deemed worthy of recognition, and the range of entries included anything from sophisticated electronic automotive products, to spare parts, tools and fuel additives.
The gold certificate went to Bosch’s KTS Diagnostic Tester which jury members described as a small, super-efficient device which promoted diagnostic competence and workshop efficiency using simple, quick and easy-to-operate technology.
In their notes the judges said the ability to quickly and accurately diagnose vehicle problems was integral to professional, high quality repair work – and the KTS represented an enviable example of a state of the art, technical aid. The unit, which is made in Germany, was introduced to South Africa in April this year.
The silver certificate went to Monroe’s OE Spectrum shock absorber, which made its public debut at the trade fair. In their summation, the jury said:
“Today’s drivers expect world-class control and steering response, without the harshness associated with many conventional ride control technologies.
“Monroe has responded with a shock absorber for the aftermarket which offers twice the usual number of internal tuning points to promote driving precision, agility and responsiveness. In this sense, the product helps to support road safety. What’s more, it’s backed by an extended, five-year warranty.”
The bronze award was won by Qwerty Tyre Solutions’ Str8-Lign Wheel Alignment unit – a locally designed and manufactured, portable system which the judges rated highly for the promise it showed in delivering cost-effective benefits for both workshop and in-the-field applications.
Developed in Durban by start-up organisation Qwerty, the laser-based system took two years to reach manufacturing stage and, since April, has been undergoing tests with vehicle manufacturers, wheel alignment specialists and industry bodies, among them Toyota Gazoo Racing, Thomas Tyres, SupaQuick and Tune-Tech BMW.
Highly Commended certificates were awarded to Gondolier, for its Walcom Carbonio 360 Spray Paint Gun; Jackhub, for its electronic vehicle jack; and Wise Cracks, for its Apollo Windscreen Repair Kit.
The repair kit – manufactured in Port Elizabeth – was described by jury members as “.very neat in appearance, compact and cleverly thought out.”
Their view was that it would prove ideal for service providers who travelled from customer to customer, while remaining equally handy for use in workshop applications.
The Walcom Spray Gun – which is manufactured in Italy – was perceived to be well-suited to a variety of panel shop applications thanks to its ergonomic design, light weight and robust construction.
The Jackhub electronic jack – another imported product – was described as likely to find favour among private motorists as well as industry professionals for its simple plug-in and jack-up operational system.
The awards were presented to representatives of each of the winning companies by Konstantin von Vieregge, CEO of Messe Frankfurt South Africa, organisers of Automechanika Johannesburg.