Buying Atl? STOP! OPT for OPTL instead!

confusedIf you are confused by One Person Automated Testing is you are seemingly not alone.

A survey of recent inquiries made led us to examine the understanding the experienced mechanic or garage owner might have of exactly what equipment specification they should be considering for installation.

The over-riding majority of MOT inquiry applicants came from existing garage owners installing either to replace time served equipment or those installing a new “first time” MOT bay as part of an expansion drive.

Within this cross section, existing test stations with MOT bays understood clearly the difference between OPT & ATL whereas 86% of new applicants considered them both to be the same thing and 100% failed to understand the ongoing ramifications of their decision making at day zero from a calibration cost and provider perspective.

inspection iconSo consider this; is a fully automated system really worth the additional money when you can OPT for OPTL and make immediate savings on the equipment and couple that with the fact that you are not tied in ad-infinitum to the manufacturer in question should the relationship sour?

Put simply we believe not when you consider the main consideration in our survey from the garage owner was “how many people does it take to operate the bay”!

Given that Automated Testing (ATL) and One Person Testing (OPTL) both give an opportunity for a single man operation and the DVSA now seemingly actively encourage OPTL by opening up the opportunity to apply for such a bay as a new authorisation…so…

Whats the DifferenceThe key difference in terms of equipment between the two bay types is within the brake tester itself. External weighing modules are added to a standard brake tester and a software change allows the unit to operate and calculate presented brake efficiencies rather than tabular ones. The regulation controlling the calibration of these units is where the issue lies for those opting for an automated bay; it states that

Only the manufacturer, or their approved agent, may calibrate the unit

which is quite clear!

Of course no one sets out into a working relationship expecting it to sour, but if this does happen you might be left with little alternative other than to swallow your pride and continue with it.

OPT-ing for OPTL does circumvent these issues to a certain extent – although many standard units are protected by dynamic response codes, you are less limited in terms of your calibration options than you might be with an ATL system.

So, you may want ATL – you may have been sold ATL on the basis that it is “the future”, but when looking for a bay package consider firstly the long term investment you are making, your ongoing obligations to the scheme in terms of your continued maintenance and equipment calibration; but mostly consider the published regulations themselves which offer you this opportunity!

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