Following a one-year legal transition period, the new specifications on checking the headlight setting as part of the periodic technical inspection have applied since the start of 2018. Since then, only headlight setting systems which meet the requirements of the PTI Headlight Testing Directive (VkBl [German Transport Gazette] No. 05/2014) may be used. The Directive underlines the importance of the support surfaces of both the headlight tester (HT) and the vehicle, as well as their alignment to one another for precise measurement, and sets new standards in this regard. The rapid development of headlight technologies meant that this was long overdue – not least because vehicle lighting is still one of the most frequently complained-about defect groups during the periodic technical inspection.

Haldenwang, 20 February 2018. Even in the short history of car lighting technology, it is becoming clear how much the speed of innovation has increased in recent years. Due to the introduction of Xenon, LED and laser technology and even state-of-the-art organic light diodes (OLEDs), vehicles’ lighting systems have not only become more powerful within an extremely short space of time; they have also become increasingly complex thanks to numerous additional functions such as the automatic main beam control system or even the dynamic bending light. To eliminate the risk to other road users, precise setting and, if necessary, correction of the headlights is more important than ever before – and a significant task for workshops and test organisations if they are to ensure greater road safety. The PTI Headlight Setting Directive, which bindingly came into force on 1 January 2018, sets down what must be observed in this regard.

Ideally equipped with MAHA

Not only does the Directive include new headlight tester requirements; it also contains precise specifications with regard to the evenness and incline of the vehicle’s and the measurement unit’s support surfaces. Calibration of the test stations and the headlight testers (HTs) is mandatory before the initial commissioning process and afterwards too – at 24-month intervals. It must be possible to trace the measured values back to international standards in this regard. All of the legal requirements are naturally met with the “LK2” laser calibration unit developed by MAHA and the special measurement method established in cooperation with esz AG calibration & metrology, one of the most modern calibration labs in Europe with a lab accredited according to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025.

Manufacturer training is now required for Directive-compliant adjustment and calibration. MAHA is also perfectly prepared in this regard, as all of its service technicians have already undergone extensive training and have the appropriate authorisation for this.

Award-winning technology from MAHA

With the MLT 3000, MAHA is supplying an innovative headlight tester which was crowned winner of the Industriepreis in 2016, to name but one example. It records the reflection of the headlights using a high-performance CMOS camera and digitalises the results with precision. Within fractions of a second, a powerful microprocessor evaluates the light/dark boundary, illustrates its development on the colour display and – at the same time – establishes the relationship to country or manufacturer-specific requirements in real time. Thanks to the practical, optional track system, the measurement unit can be aligned to the support surface quickly and easily at the specified distance from the vehicle – an aspect that is both convenient and saves time!

Automatic compensation of floor unevenness

But now to the highlight of the MLT 3000: the integrated self-levelling function automatically compensates for even the slightest unevenness in the floor in the area around the HT support surface. A position sensor records the unit’s angle of inclination and the software automatically adjusts to any deviations from the horizontal plane when calculating the headlight position. This aspect is an integral part of the new guideline and the MLT 3000’s function is thus highly significant, since unevenness in the floor of just a few millimetres has a major influence on the headlight setting. The levelling plates from MAHA (“MLP 2000”) can be used to meet the legal requirements made of the vehicle support surface at the same time. They are a time and cost-saving alternative to time-consuming foundation work. The tried-and-tested headlight systems for units of the MLT series also enable quick and convenient alignment of the measurement unit to the vehicle.

Easy to use and convenient

The flexibly adjustable menu, which can be adapted to a wide range of requirements set by car manufacturers, legal specifications and country specifications, and the 7” colour touch display ensure user-friendly operation of the MLT 3000. The user is guided through the menu in a self-explanatory manner and receives visual support during the test procedure. The optional visual adjustment aid on the front of the unit allows mechanics to conveniently and correctly adjust the headlights using coloured LED indicators. With the light diodes, the position of the light/dark boundary can also be reliably monitored when adjusting the headlight tilt from the engine compartment.

With regard to adjusting the projection area in the HT at a right angle to the vehicle’s longitudinal axis, the equipment variant with laser alignment unit ensures maximum efficiency. The beam is simply projected onto the body via two symmetrical points, so that the measurement unit’s exact alignment can be checked at a glance.

In summary, the MLT 3000 offers pioneering technologies that will be capable even in the future of lawfully measuring and precisely adjusting ultra-modern lighting systems and light assistance functions regardless of the manufacturer or model. Maximum flexibility and the possibility of software updates means that car dealerships, workshops and test organisations are ideally equipped with the MLT 3000.