The new world of mobility is diverse – and can pose a challenge when it comes to maintenance and repair.
Somma Lombardo/Italy. The light of the rising sun may still be glinting off the name GALLIDABINO, written in big letters high up on the exterior wall of the garage, but there’s already a lot of activity in the yard below. With a push, one car after another is moved through an open roller door into the workshop. When you enter, it’s clear that the word “workshop” no longer quite fits. It’s a large hall, flooded with light and remarkably clean, tidy, and quiet. The vehicles that are being serviced or repaired here today stand side by side – they’re different models, but equally complex. And it’s precisely these new technologies that call for new solutions. This is what MAHLE Service Solutions+ offers – with innovative products and services that streamline and sometimes even revolutionize the work to be carried out. Join us on a visit to the Gallidabino car garage, run by long-standing partners and friends.
“In the past, cars were constructed much more simply, but they still seemed like spaceships to me. When other children went out to play after school, I preferred to go to the workshop. I loved the smell of gasoline and diesel,” recalls Andrea Gallidabino.
That little boy is now a grown man, and he and his brother Luca co-own the automobile garage founded over 50 years ago by their father Dorino Gallidabino. Their 15,800 customers rely on their expertise, with over 1,000 vehicles rolling through their workshop doors each month – many of them traveling up to 100 kilometers to get there.
They come from far and wide because something made an impression on Andrea early on: “The customers’ reaction of total satisfaction when they came to collect their repaired cars.” The satisfied look on their faces motivated the Gallidabino brothers to develop their small-scale operation into one of the largest and most state-of-the-art automobile garages around, where every fault is identified on every vehicle and then efficiently repaired. Repaired, that is, by a team that is always working to expand its technological skills in order to face the daily challenges that await with the opening of the roller door: yet another model of car, another new technology, and another problem. But finding the solution takes more than just trained employees – the correct equipment is needed too. “Even the most talented mechanics are stuck without the right tools,” says Andrea, summing up the situation faced by workshops today. And which are the right tools? Andrea’s answer is clear: “Our sales partner, TECNO SYSTEM, drew our attention to MAHLE’s products. Since then, we’ve put our trust in their knowledge and experience when it comes to choosing new technology for our workshop.”
Andrea Lupi from MAHLE Service Solutions is a partner who supplies these technologies. His story starts differently: “In the past, I couldn’t get my head around machines and engines. That’s why I became an electrical engineer. When I joined BRAIN BEE+ 22 years ago, I started working with vehicles via the world of electronics.”
A world that is becoming more and more important for vehicles. Andrea Lupi is enthusiastic about working with these changing technologies. Every week, he and his team are in contact with 100 to 200 workshops for this purpose, finding out what the vehicle experts need by speaking to them on the phone and making regular on-site visits. “It’s often simply a matter of providing information to fill gaps in their knowledge, explaining what mechanics need to be aware of with certain new components or systems,” adds Andrea Lupi.
People used to say that he and his team weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. But today, Andrea Lupi stands next to a large monitor with a digital diagnostic tool in his hand. It’s the prizewinning TechPRO® Digital ADAS, the world’s only digital toolkit for repairing advanced driver assistance systems. When MAHLE brought the product onto the market in early March 2019, the phones wouldn’t stop ringing – proof that many workshops had been waiting for a product like this. Andrea Lupi explains why: “All newer vehicle models have driver assistance systems. These include radar, cameras, or ultrasonic sensors that help drivers to stay in lane or keep within the speed limit as well as providing other useful support. They’re complex systems that need to be recalibrated even when just changing the front windshield.” Before TechPRO® Digital ADAS, garages used outdated methods to calibrate highly technical systems. “Index cards, posters, and chalkboards,” laughs Andrea Lupi. That’s precisely why he and his team developed TechPRO® Digital ADAS – because calibrating new systems using old index cards is not efficient. Andrea Lupi proudly presents the first digital calibration panel, used to adjust radar sensors and cameras in driver assistance systems quickly and accurately. Just then, a vehicle drives up, and Andrea selects the make and model on the diagnostic tool’s display, which shows how the vehicle should be positioned in front of the calibration panel. With this simple step, we’ve already cleared the biggest hurdle – knowing how to calibrate this vehicle model. And with the help of updates that are installed automatically via Wi-Fi, this information is always up to date.
The digital calibration system is part of the TechPRO® Product range from MAHLE Service Solutions. These products are compatible and connected and provide the full spectrum of vehicle diagnostics solutions – all of which are used in the Gallidabino workshop – to read vehicle data and faults, display solutions, and perform diagnostics and coding on components. It sounds as complex as it has now become.
Andrea Gallidabino tells us why these digital tools are now indispensable: “When there was a problem in the past, you opened the hood and – broadly speaking – looked at five key components. One of these five would be the cause, and you just needed to know how to repair the part. Today, there are so many components and variables that can be interpreted in different ways that troubleshooting has become very difficult.” Which of course costs too much time. There is also a risk that the problem cannot be properly resolved and the customer is unsatisfied. That’s why Andrea Gallidabino begins every repair job with a detailed discussion with the driver. “We need to get the vehicle user to explain precisely what’s not working properly and what’s bothering them.” The driver assistance system in particular is a potential source of problems – as well as a great opportunity for any workshop that can solve them. “One of our customers recently found that his car was braking all by itself – whether or not he wanted it to. There seemed to be a fault with the ESP or braking assistance system. The customer had already experienced the problem at least five times before he came to our workshop. He no longer trusted his car, which was a serious problem.” A job for TechPRO® Digital ADAS. The Gallidabino garage recalibrated the vehicle’s sensor technology, then Andrea took it out for a test drive with the customer. The braking fault was no longer happening. “How did you do it?” says Andrea, quoting the customer. “I explained the calibration procedure and showed him how TechPRO® Digital ADAS works. He returned a week later. It’s not normally a good sign for a customer to come back so quickly. But he just wanted to thank us again.” Andrea grins. The vehicle manufacturer’s workshop, which the customer had visited right at the start, had been unable to clear the fault. Cases like this reassure Andreas that he’s doing the right thing by steadily continuing to invest in state-of-the-art workshop equipment.
Thinking ahead, expanding connectivity
When they look to the future, the Gallidabino family and their employees are in agreement: “We can hardly wait to explore and work with new technologies.” It’s clear to Andrea Gallidabino that it’s not just workshops that are changing – so too is the role of the mechanic, who is evolving into an engineer. His mechanics have long since accepted the new educational mission and are continuing their training. As one Andrea speaks, the other nods – Andrea Lupi is already thinking ahead in terms of MAHLE Service Solutions: “Standards will continue to rise in workshops. In the future, their need for innovative equipment, training, and information will grow – and we’ll continue to give them proactive support in this process.” But whatever the technology of the moment, one thing remains the same for everyone involved: their passion for cars and for solving problems. This passion is embodied in the names Gallidabino and MAHLE. The former for over 50 years, the latter for 100 years – and for a good 150 successful years altogether.
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