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MADE IN CHINA: THE PLUSSES AND THE PITFALLS

MADE IN CHINA: THE PLUSSES AND THE PITFALLS

Choosing where to site a factory is an issue that is as involved with peoples’ perceptions as it is with politics and cost

National brake pads

China is a country where it is cheap and easy to have products manufactured, but there are a number of things to consider if you want to get involved. “My view on producing in China is that it is very good, but if you allow local engineers to do it, they will do it their own way” said David Houlden, MD of National Autoparts. “The classic is if you give them a drawing and it will come back differently, because ‘it is easier’”.

Houlden is clear on a solution. “To overcome that you do it yourself. You have people out there on a very regular basis and keep those people in the factories. We employ a UK quality company to be out there and check stuff as well as our own engineers are there on a regular basis”.

He adds that the two factories that his company uses are owned in a joint venture with a local partner.

SKILL SET
When National took the decision to introduce pads, a new skill set was required. “Metal we understand, but for friction we had to take on someone for two and a half years” he said. “We didn’t know a lot about pads, so we employed a consultant who had OE experience, who is heavily involved in anything we do”.

However, manufacturing on the other side of the world is not without its problems. Even if the product quality is consistent, there is an issue of logistics to consider. Colin Smit, UK MD of Polish manufacturer Lumag, which sells the Breck light vehicle pad range in the UK said: “I wouldn’t want to place an order with five months worth of stock all the way from China”.

“From here (in Doncaster) we have a 98 percent pick rate and we can place a daily delivery on the factory if we want to. It only takes three days to get the stock from the factory” he said, adding that the warehouse had quite a high stockturn and there was no reason to tie stock, and therefore cash, up in inventory.

Producing in Europe is markedly more expensive, something Smit admits to being ‘a difficult sell’ to customers that are simply focused on price. “It’s a premium product, not a white- box product. We are targeting customers of premium brands”.

Meanwhile, some brake components are produced even closer home and are remanufactured in the UK.Brake Engineering has produced in Wales since it was founded in the 1980s. However, the days of needing to accrue a big stockpile of core for one reference before you begin are in the past. “Traditionally, a remanufacturer would stockpile individual references in cages until there is a large enough batch for it to remake” said Steve Willis, IAM General Manager at the firm’s parent company. Today, Willis says that this notion is obsolete. “If the car is on a ramp and needing a part, the garage isn’t going to wait for us to assemble a core pile, they will go somewhere else – so it is critical for us to service the need as soon as possible and Wrexham is all about making sure the highest service level is maintained” he said.

EXCHANGE PART SURCHARGE DEBATE

One benefit to producing new aftermarket stock in China is that you can bring a range of new-in-box product to market and not need to worry about collecting core returns. National’s David Houlden noted: “There’s an issue around surcharges where some companies look at a rack and say that it looks a bit pitted and there is nothing they can do with it, so they send it back to the factor, but what do they expect a factor to do with it?”

Surcharge aside, the benefits of remanufacturing are evident. First Line’s Jon Roughley made the point that investment results in an excellent product. “The demand for quality means that remanufacturers will have to keep re-investing as the gap between quality reman and ‘low-end’ parts continues to widen” he said. “Our customers want to fit premium quality, but at competitive prices and so remanufactured product remains attractive to the independent aftermarket”.

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SPOT-ON TESTING

SPOT-ON TESTING

One halogen bulb might look similar to another, but is there a real difference? We took a trip to Aachen to find out

Bulbs are checked at each stage of production

Anyone who has served time behind the counter of an accessory shop will tell you that bulbs will be a year-round staple of what they sell. Perhaps less clear to the vendors is the difference between them. There is a headlight bulb for every price point, with some halogen bulbs ranging between a couple of pounds up to around £30 for a top rated product.

However, the amount of light output from all bulbs has to be within a tolerance band of a certain percentage of each other, so how different can the bulbs be? We took a trip to Lumileds in Aachen, Germany to find out.

On our visit we met with Richard Armstrong, UK Country Manager for Philips Automotive and Juergen Melzer, a Consultant Engineer working for the firm.

One of the first things to address is the issue of ECE conformity markings. All headlamp bulbs sold in the UK and across Europe must conform and display the mark. “If the product doesn’t meet the standard, then the it must not be used” Melzer explained. “To get the product approved the maker needs to bring five samples to a test house to get the certificate for the conformity number from the authorities. If you own a factory, you need to declare that the product conforms”. Herein lies the problem, some suppliers, and even some well-known brands simply buy the product from various sources and the conformity, known as Regulation 37, is lost. One magazine test a couple of years back even found that a ‘matched pair’ of bulbs in a packet had been made by different producers.

TESTING
However, very little in bulb testing is subjective – and such discrepancies can be uncovered certainly in terms of testing the output and beam pattern of a halogen bulb is straightforward if you have access to the right equipment, and in this case the ‘right equipment’ is a light tunnel, more correctly called a goniophotometer, which reads the spatial distribution of light.

To demonstrate, the team show us into an internal room that is windowless by necessity. The room features a bank of headlamp clusters from different vehicles, aimed at a number of reference points over the on the far wall. “The standards specify a beam with a sharp, asymmetric cut off preventing significant amounts of light from being cast into the eyes of drivers of preceding or oncoming cars” explained Richard Armstrong. We then have a demo of Philips’ brand and known competitor bulbs, both halogen and Xenon. The meters clearly show that while the various products differ in the amounts of light produced and the colour of the light, the essential requirements of the beam and cutoff points are similar.

However, this isn’t the case when we are shown the results of some spurious bulbs. Although they bear the E-mark it was immediately obvious that the first we are shown (an H7) would be likely to dazzle a driver coming from the other direction as there was no clearly defined cut off. Apart from being a safety problem, such a headlamp would certainly fail an MOT.

A set of Xenon bulbs were similarly off-pattern, and such was the intensity of the beam that they were similarly likely to dazzle oncoming traffic.

While we are there, the team showed as an ‘explosion test’, which is just as alarming as it sounds. A pair of bulbs are switched on in a blastproof box. One is the Philips product and one is a competitor product. While the bulbs are still hot, cold water is sprayed on them. The competitor product shatters immediately, but the Philips- branded product remains intact, thanks to the properties of the quartz glass.

HIGH OUTPUT
An interesting point is the popularity of bulbs that offer increased output. These are upgrades keenly purchased by car enthusiasts and command a healthy premium over standard bulbs, which makes them popular for the retailer as well. However, some customers might not be aware that increased performance will result in a shorter life. “Sometimes the consumer doesn’t understand (that it has a shorter life) and sometimes the consumer believes that the product will have an all- round better performance, including a longer lifetime. If I could manage this, I’d be rich and wouldn’t need to work anymore” noted Melzer wryly.

He adds that such a product is referred to in Germany as an “Eierlegende Wollmilchsau” which literally means an animal that can lay eggs as well as produce milk and wool and is obviously impossible.

“We need to explain to people that if you bring more light to the road that the product will have a shorter lifetime. We can explain what we are doing to compensate this” said Melzer, saying that a number of points can further reduce the lifespan of a bulb. One is that some vehicles that have a voltage output 0.5v more than specified.

He adds that it is also important to identify what the customer wants from their bulb. If the motorist owns one of those Renaults that seem to require keyhole surgery to replace a lamp and it is driven mostly in town, then Melzer remarked that a product such as the long- life Eco Vision might be the most suitable. “You need to think about the bulb you’d reccomend that fits their needs. Of course, Racing Vision will give them more light, but I wouldn’t want to recommend a bulb that they wouldn’t be happy with. So it isn’t black and white” he said.

Final visual check

We round off our visit with a tour of the on-site production facilities. We visited the production line of an H7 bulb and saw the entire process from taking glass tubes (which are also produced locally using quartz crystal) through to the finished product, Along every sep of the production process, the components are tested, with around 20 production checks in total. This is completed with a final electronic test with a computer recording performance to ensure consistency, as well as a further visual inspection by a team of operators each equipped with a jeweler’s magnifying glass.

So to answer our original question, it seems that while one bulb will look much like another, the difference in performance can be very great indeed – and a good point to explain to customers who want to know the difference between one product and another.

Structure of the company

The current structure of the company that produces Philips automotive lighting needs some explaining.

Back in 2005, Philips took control of Lumileds. a San Jose- based producer of LEDs following previous joint ventures.

Ten years later, Philips took a decision to focus on its healthcare business, so it sold the LED and automotive lighting business and the newco would be called Lumileds and would continue to produce Philips-brand products under licence.

A deal struck with private equity firm Apollo Global Management, confirmed on July 7 of this year, saw the former take 79.9 percent of shares in Lumileds, while Philips retain the remainder.

Nonetheless, the products are made in the same factory as always and the only visible is the Lumileds sign above the gate.

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KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES

With so many diagnostic tools available, when is the right time to upgrade? 

Nowadays with advanced vehicle technology, diagnostic tools have become an essential
piece of kit for garages whether the job involves re-f lashing ECUs to pulling out fault codes However, with the wide range of products and updates on the market, are workshops keeping their tools in check?

TOOLING UP
“There’s a lot more realisation now with anyone possessing old kit that they’ve got to look into upgrading” said Dave Richards, Managing Director at Launch UK. “The older kit predates the electronic park brakes where service resets were just a part in the dashboard. But on a Range Rover, it’s a programming function where you have to re-program five ECUs to reset all the service lights.” Julian Goulding, UK Marketing Manager at Delphi, points out that there are some older devices being used by technicians. He says, “There are still old and out-of-date tools out there, however, with the coverage we provide, that is dependant on the workshops updating to the latest software”, adding that the firm is continually stressing the importance of using modern units to trade customers.

HGS Mega Macs tool

From a tyre dealer perspective, Colin Webb, MD at TPMS firm Bartec Auto ID, advises technicians to consistently update their diagnostic equipment and software, due to the ongoing growth of new passenger cars and sensors making their way off factory lines. “The market is moving very quickly so tyre shop technicians need to have their tools updated as soon any new car comes onto the roads, otherwise, they will have trouble repairing the next car coming over the threshold”, highlighting that this could incur loss of business to OE franchise dealerships.

PRICE DRIVEN
Neil Hilton, Head of Business Development at Hella Gutmann Solutions, notes that many technicians are driven by price when it comes to upgrading their toolbox and do not necessarily understand the differentiations and benefits between what a budget and a premium tool can bring to the workshop. A challenge the firm is consistently educating garages and bodyshops about, as Hilton explains. “The comparison is you pay a little extra and buy a better quality machine that has more capabilities from day one and also has a longer lifetime”. He continued. “A customer who buys price driven compared to a customer who buys one of our HGS devices, the HGS customer has spent less in the long term because he’s purchased a machine that’s seen him through five years plus whereas the alternative customer has brought two or three more in that space of time and had less coverage”.

Delphi’s Julian Goulding agrees and expands: “There are still some technicians driven on price and this feeds through to diagnostics. What we try to stress to people is look at return on investment, what price you pay and the capabilities it gives you across a wide range of vehicles”. Similarly, Bartec’s Colin Webb says the firm has developed a method to take the hassle out of reminding tyre technicians and fast fit centres through regular wifi updates. He explains more. “We offer wifi updates so the technician doesn’t have to remember to do the update so they will always be ahead”. He elaborates, “The TECH500 is our latest tool containing wifi and software updating on it as well as wireless charging”, adding that the gadget also allows users to detect vehicle faults and re-program universal sensors on a range of vehicle models.

BUYING TRENDS
Launch UK’s David Richards said the firm has spotted a buying pattern between technicians who are keen to upgrade their apparatus. Speaking about his findings, he said. “One of the trends which we are trying to address is that technicians are wanting to up their game but don’t want to wait around for the boss’s tool. Most of those guys are not looking to spend £2,500 so we have products in the £500 to £1,000 range, which are affordable for them because they’ll usually spend around £500 on a set of spanners”. He continued, saying, “We’re already seeing some cases where you almost get the tablet for free but you’re committed to five years of software updates. Launch UK doesn’t operate like that and instead, offers two years free software for the customer”.

Launch UK’s X-431 PRO 3

ADAS DIAGNOSTICS
It’s all well and good having a unit that performs general diagnostics, but garages may struggle if the system can’t detect faults on ADAS systems, according to Hilton, who says many workshops are unaware of the business implications this could cause in the future. “Through our ADAS awareness seminars, it is clear from the shocked faces that most of the workshops, bodyshops and to an extent, glass companies, are still not aware of these systems on the vehicles they’re working on and the risks it poses to their business by not carrying out the correct processes or procedures”. He concluded. “All of our HGS Mega Macs equipment is capable of calibrating ADAS systems (some vehicles require additional hardware). We also offer a diagnostic tool that is purchased as a standard tool but also incorporates the required software at no extra cost to have the capability to calibrate ADAS vehicles”.

Although suppliers seem to hold a certain level of responsibility to encourage workshops to keep up with the times, it is crucial in this day and age for technicians to take charge by familiarising themselves with not only the diagnostics and software available, but not allow pricing to get in with the way of potential ROI opportunities.

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AUTOMECHANIKA IN REVIEW

AUTOMECHANIKA IN REVIEW

For us at the magazine, it is funny to think that 2017 was only the second time Automechanika has taken place at the NEC, such is the amount that we have written and speculated about it. Nonetheless, this is only the second time the show has happened here, and it seems much of the aftermarket holds an opinion about it.

For me, the proceedings started the day before the event as SMMT had invited a handful of journalists to dinner at a nearby country pile to talk about the show, the aftermarket and the motor industry in general. One interesting stat that Chief Exec Mike Hawes raised was that the British public now spend more online on car accessories than they do on cosmetics. I haven’t been able to verify this yet, and I suspect it includes replacement tyres and servicing booked online, but even so it goes to show that the new generation of motorists are less willing to do things the old way. A point to ponder perhaps.

After the show was opened, complete with ribbon cutting and the traditional comedy big scissors (I wonder where they come from?) the show got underway and we grab show organiser Simon Albert for a few words. As the show had only just opened, he didn’t have much to tell us that we didn’t already know, such as the longer opening hours, increase in aisle space etc. However, he did confirm his hit list of companies that he’d like to see attending in the future and, of most significance to us, confirmed that the show would return next year.

On the Valeo stand

This surprised me a little, as I’d assumed that the show would become biennial in the years that the Frankfurt show was not held. However, I was keen to get going as my appointment book was full and I was running late before I had even started.

The first visit took me across Hall 19 and into Hall 20 where I could have a quick look at some of the stands as I scurried past. Liqui Moly and Auto Repar had particularly amazing looking stands. Schaeffler had used a space right next to the main entrance to build a gleaming white stage where cutaway versions of various products had been mounted on plinths for the reps to demonstrate. Valeo meanwhile, had approached the concept of having a stand in a different way, as it had simply brought a huge truck and trailer kitted out with demonstration models of various things into the hall.

MEANDERING
I won’t trouble you with the details of every meeting I had or what everyone said, except that on the first day a number of stands reported that footfall seemed a little low, which could be down to appalling weather that day as well as a crash blocking one of the motorways near the NEC that may have put some off attending. I should add that if the attendance was low on the first day, I didn’t notice it. From my point of view, Hall 19, where I spent the bulk of the time, seemed annoyingly busy with meandering people with a tendency to stop in front of me filling the aisles.

It was pleasing to see that many exhibitors had brought in things other than their products to keep people amused. Sales-i brought an Out Run arcade machine for example (a game that I spent too much time on in my youth). Denso brought a VR racing car simulator, which I quite fancied trying out, but decided not to as the racing driver Rebecca Jackson was looking on, and I had no wish to humiliate myself. Other stands brought various cars and bikes from series that they sponsor as well as the usual show novelties.

Holding an event after the show is always a risk, because while there will be a ready supply of people in the industry who are in the same place, there is no telling that they will be in the mood to go somewhere else after spending a day at the show. Even if they do, there is every chance that someone else has invited them first. With this in mind, I was curious to see how many people went to an event held by Motaquip at Warwick Castle on the first night. The answer as it turned out was a lot of people as the event was full. It was one of the more fun events that we’ve been to, with two apparently empty suits of armour jumping off the wall and alarming diners by staging a battle between the tables.

STAGES
Back at the show the following day I would have liked to have had more time to attend some of the industry and technical seminars that were taking place on a number of stages across the halls. Big names from the world of diagnostics including Frank Massey and James Dillon had been brought in as a lure to get technicians to the show (which by all accounts worked) while the heads of the garage associations talked about the various threats and opportunities du jour in the aftermarket. I did manage to get over to hear the winner of the Garage of the Year announced, which turned out to be Motorserv UK, which readers who have been paying close attention might recall we visited this time last year.

One notable absence from the show was TMD Friction (who are on record saying that they have ‘no plans’ to exhibit). However, the company did rent a plaza suite just outside of the main halls to hold a Pagid Live event in association with Euro Car Parts where a number of garage owners and technicians (the majority of whom had been brought down for the event) who, after a day at the show spend a couple of hours enjoying presentations on the benefits of the Pagid Expert programme and on ECPs garage scheme (see Hot Story).

If your reason for visiting the show was to find new products, you wouldn’t have been disappointed. Delphi brought a new bit of diagnostic kit for high- pressure injectors, European Exhaust and Catalyst introduced a 6-in-1 fuel system cleaner at the show and in a similar vein, Forté launched a 4-in-1 cleaning machine. Essentra Components launched something called a ‘High Tech Fluid Absorption Plug’ and I’m sure there were many other things never before seen at the event.

Throughout the show, I spent most of my time in the three aftermarket halls, but on the final day I had a meeting with Stericycle (a company that manages recalls for the VMs) and so I spent a while exploring the area dedicated to the automotive supply chain. It was markedly quieter than the aftermarket halls, although it should be noted that while the supply chain market as a whole is huge and worth big money, the number of buyers within it is relatively small, and stands dealing with VM services were of little interest to technicians, so it might be unfair to judge its success on the amount of feet in the room alone.

‘Billy’ character on Bosch stand

However, the highlight of the show for me came late in the afternoon on the final day when Helen Watkins from Bosch, who was manning the Extra stand, was accosted by a strange small man who kept offering her some of his special ‘home made’ sweets, much to the amusement of onlookers – apparently he’d been coming on the stand and doing this at various points throughout the show. However, just when Helen couldn’t stand the embarrassment anymore, the fellow took off what turned out to be a wig and false teeth to reveal himself as a well known customer of the firm. Apparently, his alter-ego ‘Billy No-Mates’ is a character that he regularly performs for some of his unsuspecting suppliers, and it was much to the amusement of the crowd that had built up.

It was almost time for us to leave in order to high-tail it back to London while there was still time to vote (remember that?) One point that is inescapable is the topic of the show frequency. As a conservative guess, I reckon I spoke to 40 company bosses during the show and the overwhelming majority said that they thought the show should run once every two years, preferably during the non- Frankfurt years in order to keep costs reasonable and keep the momentum of the show. From the point of view of the whole CAT team, we could have happily stayed there for a month if we could – there were so many people to see. However, I’m always curious to know the experience of our readers. Did you go? Were you exhibiting? What were the highlights, and what would you have liked to have seen? Give me a shout at greg.whitaker@haymarket.com.

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TRAINING TO KEEP THE AIR CLEAN

TRAINING TO KEEP THE AIR CLEAN

Ever-tighter rules mean workshops need to take advantage of training opportunities

Klarius exhaust portfolio

With talk in the news of dirty air affecting public health means it’s down to the independent sector to have the tools and technical know- how to service these parts or risk losing business to other garage networks and franchise dealers. But where can they go to learn about the latest systems?

EMISSIONS TRAINING
Julian Goulding, UK Marketing Manager at Delphi, says that technicians can benefit from enrolling onto the firm’s ‘Understanding Emissions’ course, that focuses on helping workshops diagnose and fix petrol faults without hassle. “Delphi’s ‘Understanding Emissions’ covers diagnosing petrol faults using the exhaust emissions data, looking at gases coming out of petrol vehicles and related ECU controls”, said Goulding. “It’s a one day course and the aim is to be able to accurately diagnose engine management faults”, adding that the firm also runs a ‘Diesel Emissions Exhaust After Treatment’ programme, allowing garages to repair EGR valves, DPFs and AdBlue systems effectively.

Similarly, exhausts manufacturer Klarius Products has run its IMI accredited scheme for over a year, with further plans to launch a second level instalment later this year. Doug Bentley, Head of Research and Development at the firm, explains more. “The Emissions Control Training is a scheme aimed at technicians operating in independent garages. The course is modular and runs over two days; covering new technology, best practice, legislation and failure modes regarding exhausts, catalytic converters, DPFs and additive systems”. He adds. “The course is held in various locations around the country with four modules offered in level one”.

DIAGNOSIS AND PROLONGIVITY
Although it seems imperative to train-up staff, Mark Blinston, Commercial Director at BM Catalysts, mentions that a large proportion of garages are still misdiagnosing DPFs, usually ending up with the clogged filter returning to the workshop or sent off for regeneration. “The issues garages are typically facing is a lack of understanding and awareness for the DPF to go faulty in the first place”, said Blinston. “One problem factor we hear of is that a DPF comes to the end of its life cycle but the technician forgets to reset the ash counter on the ECU during replacement. The car then thinks it’s still full of ash and before you know it, a warning light appears on the dashboard”. Delphi’s Julian Goulding agrees. He said. “The main issue is the correct diagnosis of what has caused the issue on the DPF to fail”.

UPCOMING TECHNOLOGY

Speaking about its catalyst and exhaust portfolio, Paul Newby, Commercial Director of EEC, explains that the
manufacturer’s parts contain a 409L (low carbon) steel grade providing added corrosion protection and durability while complying to industry standards. “All of our catalytic converters metal work elements are formed from stainless steel” said Newby. “The 409L steel grade features a specific amount of nickel and chromium on the substrate with high temperature corrosion resistance characteristics. Our exhausts, flanges and hooks are typically stainless steel coated with aluminum for high level corrosion resistance as well”.

In the near future, petrol- powered vehicles may have filters akin to a DPF fitted as standard. VAG plans to fit the first GPF (gasoline particulate filters) on the Tiguan and Audi A5 from next month, while the Group predicts around seven million of its models will incorporate this technology by 2022. VAG also claims that the new filters contain the same properties found in modern diesels and can reduce soot particles up to 90 percent.

Meanwhile, there will be many opportunities for workshops to clean or replace DPFs for some time yet, as despite the bad headlines, new diesel registrations are relatively unaffected. “As with the introduction of any new technology, significant uptake is going to take time for full EVs with a technology yet to be fully proven .” said Klarius’ Doug Bentley. EEC’s Paul Newby concurs. “We’ve seen strong growth in DPF sales and for the foreseeable future we will continue to see an increase in this area”.

As the old saying goes, ‘It’s better late than never’, a slogan some garages may act on if they don’t get to grips with the new emission laws, technologies and training soon to remain competitive and in business.

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TIGHTENING UP EMISSIONS

TIGHTENING UP EMISSIONS

Do you know your Lambda from your EGTS? Here’s a factor’s guide to what those small box parts actually do.

With the existing laws set by the Euro 6 legislation, the pressure for vehicle manufacturers to invest more resources into developing better vehicles that complied with the legislative guidelines are continuously scrutinised. Emission pollutants such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), total and non- methane hydrocarbons, as well as various particulate matters were expected to be reduced with the use of modern automotive technology.

Effective reduction of pollutants goes beyond ensuring that emissions control systems such as CATs and DPFs are up to scratch. Vehicle electronics and engine management systems are integral in optimising a vehicle’s efficiency and in turn, lowering its carbon footprint. With a wide array of products that support the lowering of harmful emissions, we thought it would be worth sharing some points about the significance of the various sensors that you deliver to garages everyday.

LAMBDA SENSORS
By the simplest definition, lambda sensors monitor the air- to-fuel ratio within the exhaust and relays the information to the ECU. Lambda sensors are vital to ensuring a vehicle’s optimal performance and aid to reduce harmful carbon emissions.

The perfect air-to-fuel ratio for optimum engine efficiency is known as the stoichiometric ratio. The stoichiometric ratio for a petrol engine is 14.7:1 in which 14.7 grams of air is needed for every 1 gram of fuel. This ratio allows for optimum fuel efficiency, wasting less fuel and in turn, producing the least amount of emissions.

Traditionally, lambda sensors produce a voltage signal based on the volume of air detected in the exhaust. If the mixture is too rich (too much fuel supplied), the sensor produces a voltage of around 0.9 volts. When the mixture is too lean (insufficient fuel supplied), it produces around 0.1 volts. A perfect stoichiometric ratio produces 0.45 volts. To compensate for imperfect mixture ratios, the ECU adjusts the fuel mixture by adding more fuel when the mixture is lean, or using less fuel when it is too rich.

Whilst traditional lambda sensors do the job of regulating the stoichiometric ratio, it was unable to provide the ECU with an accurate reading of how rich or lean the air-to-fuel ratio was. Lambda sensor technology needed to keep up with the demand of the tighter euro emission standards.

With the introduction of the 5-wire lambda sensor, the ECU is not only supplied with a signal that relays if the air-to-fuel ratio is running too rich or too lean, it also conveys by how much. This precise information is swiftly sent to the ECU to allow the vehicle to rectify the air-to-fuel ratio more efficiently and effectively and increate the overall performance of the vehicle.

EGTS

In comparison to lambda sensors, exhaust gas temperature sensors are relatively new. An EGTS measures the temperature of the exhaust gas that is monitored by the ECU to help prevent long-term damage to components. The EGTS protects a vehicle’s exhaust system from overheating, which is especially important when a diesel particulate filter regenerates. The DPF reduces the amount of soot that is released with exhaust fumes by collecting and storing it within the filter. Over time, soot accumulates within the filter and needs to be incinerated at extremely high temperatures
in order to remove from the exhaust system and release it in the surrounding air, safely.

Cambiare sensor thumb

Typically, exhausts run at temperatures in excess of 900C in order to successfully regenerate the DPF. At these extreme temperatures, thermal overload becomes a huge risk. The EGTS monitors the heat produced from the exhaust, supplying the ECU with a signal to ensure that the temperatures reached do not fall outside a vehicle’s safety parameters.

Due to the extreme conditions that EGTS operates in, they are prone to damage during exhaust component replacements. Therefore, they need to be replaced simultaneously with a DPF and/or exhaust, as opposed to waiting for the dashboard warning light to illuminate.

Timely replacement of an EGTS prevents damage to the DPF and subsequent engine damage. Our firm’s EGTS use two types of technology – positive temperature coefficient and negative temperature coefficient. PTC increases the resistance with the increase in temperature. NTC, works in an opposite fashion with the sensor producing Temp sensor less resistance as the temperature of the exhaust increases.

EGPS
EGPS are differential sensors that measure the pressure of gas between the intake and outtake the diesel particulate filter (DPF). By measuring the pressure, the EGPS communicates a voltage signal to the ECU. This enables the system to detect the level of soot and particles collected within the DPF. This information enables the ECU to monitor and detect when regeneration is required for efficient emissions reduction.

As a result, a malfunctioning sensor can cause a variety of problems which impacts the increase of oil consumption and emissions. If the sensor is faulty, DPF regeneration can increase unnecessarily leading to the shortening of the DPF lifespan.

Cambiare covers a range of applications within its portfolio of lambda sensors and EGTS. Stocking more than 100 EGTS and 500 lambda sensors, they are available from FPS via same/next-day delivery.

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KEEPING SECURITY CONTROL

KEEPING SECURITY CONTROL

Ransomware is affecting the motor trade on an epic scale. We speak to an expert on how to kerb it.

Cyber expert William Taaffe

Security is a big deal in this day and age. You’ll know that the NHS is still reeling after the WannaCry virus hit a number of machines on its network last month, as happened to government and corporate networks around the world. In case you are not familiar, the so-called ‘ransomware’ encrypts the files on an infected computer and in this case, threatened to delete them unless a ransom, paid in Bitcoin is received. Even then, it is unlikely that you’ll get you files back as it will take someone, somewhere to manually authorise it… which they have no interest in doing after they have both you money and your files.

What you might not know is that this type of software has been affecting the motor trade possibly more than most industries over the past few years. It has mostly been targeted at dealerships, but wherever there is a mixture of weak security and sensitive data, hackers will pounce. To find out what can be done, we spoke to an expert in cyber security in the motor trade. William Taffe was the Cyber Security Business Manager (he has very recently switched companies) at RDS Global, a firm that started as the IT department of one of the main dealer groups in the 1990s, but has since become an IT support and consultancy brand of its own, following an MBO in 2013.

Our first question is why is the motor trade particularly vulnerable? Taaffe explained that the industry is a sitting duck for wrongdoers. “Turnover is what people are looking for. One reason is because the vehicles and stock are of a high value” he said. “The other reason is there is huge amounts of data that is collected, that data is stored in different systems. That data is a
big vulnerability”.

Another draw for criminals is that the consequences of cyber crime are less than street vice. “I saw a story on the BBC website where a frontline fraudster who was dealing in data was asked ‘why are you doing this?’. He said: ‘because I make more in a single day doing this than in a month selling cocaine.’ I thought it was a great quote – it just shows the power of modern criminality, and it revolves around identity fraud” said Taaffe.

So, what steps can be taken to secure your network? Taaffe recommends that each company should have a ‘cyber audit’, which in the case of very large chains could take several days. “One of the first things we do is look at the physical security” Taaffe explained, “I don’t just mean on the network, I mean who can physically walk into a site”.

There are a lot of quick and easy measures that can be taken to prevent random people from wandering into your main server cupboard, such as a lock on the door at the most basic level, rising to more sophisticated access control cards that can log people in and out of parts of your building (and for these, Taaffe recommends a firm called Paxton Access). However, the most sophisticated lock in the world is no use if it is left open. “Processes are one of the most important things you can do” Taaffe said. “It’s about accountability, such as who’s job is it to flag things up if there is a breech and is it mentioned in management meetings?” These ‘cyber essentials’ as Taaffe refers to them are obvious, but he explains how common it is to find firms that don’t even have a policy in place for the staff
to follow.

CHANGING LAW
This brings us on to another point that firms might not be aware of. By 2018, every company with more than five people will have to implement a cyber security policy, or it will be breaking the law itself.

However, the problem of the day is not with people physically messing with the computers, but perpetrators in unknown countries infecting computers with malicious software, or ‘malware’ as Taaffe calls it. “It takes different forms, but what you are we’ve been seeing is ‘multi-faced’ malware” Taaffe explained. “It doesn’t have one specific line of coding, it has a group of different coding. It will sit on your network very efficiently and it won’t run any applications. You might have heard the phrase ‘zero data tag’ which means something that hasn’t been seen before, so it bypasses the anti virus software. It can get into your system and work out where the vulnerabilities are – and then work out what face to put on. Sometimes, with the right conditions it can lock your network up and ask you for Bitcoin to unlock it”.

Once the computer is infected, there isn’t much you can do. “The police will always advise you not to pay, but the reality of the situation is that it is not black and white: said Taaffe. “The cost to the company for being ‘down’ was £100,000 per day. Sometimes it is better to pay the ransom and then rebuild the network, rather than keep it offline for days and days”.

Taaffe recalls a recent experience where a hacker had exploited a vulnerability in a network to extort a ransom. “In this case, they had a process, but it just wasn’t followed. There’s no point in sending out a memo once a year it has to be followed up regularly” he said.

Another old tactic that has seen resurgence is phishing. This is where the user is duped into handing over data by someone pretending to be something they are not – and this has moved on a lot from the days of apparent Nigerian princes asking politely for your credit card number. “Modern phishing attempts are more advanced” said Taaffe. “Some will learn individual employee’s diaries and will pretend to be them at certain times of the day, asking for certain amounts of cash to purchase vehicles or whatever. You’d be surprised by the number of people that get taken in by them.”

As with so may things, training, vigilance and enforcing policy are the best guard against criminals. “There are two misconceptions in the market and the first is that you can solve security problems by throwing technology at it: You can’t. The second is that they go away if you install anti virus software, that just won’t cut it anymore” concludes Taaffe.

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FEDERATION CALLS FOR BAN ON USED TYRE SALES

FEDERATION CALLS FOR BAN ON USED TYRE SALES

AN INVESTIGATION has found that defective second-hand tyres are being sold to motorists, after figures showed 989 deaths or injuries have been a result of these models over the last five years.

Evidence was gathered when trading standard watchdogs posed as customers and bought samples from a number of dealers in County Durham. An Inspector at TyreSafe concluded that six out of seven purchases were deemed faulty while one was classed as ‘legal’ and over 18 years old.

Two were seriously damaged after being under-inflated. Two had damage to the bead, a reinforced rubber section inside the wheel. One contained water, showing it had not been stored properly. Five had no official ‘part worn’ stamp, classing them illegal according to a report in the Sunday Mirror.

Previous data collated from TyreSafe backed up the paper’s sentiment, highlighting that 98 percent of second-hand tyres carry no ‘part worn’ markings while 4.5m are sold to UK motorists year-on-year.

A TyreSafe spokesman, said. “Competence among used tyre retailers is questionable and the majority of used tyres are not properly inspected. A tyre is classed as a waste product until it’s been fully checked”.

The National Tyre’s Distributors Association (NTDA) has expressed its dismay, describing these practices as ‘appalling’ and a ‘ticking-time bomb’. The federation also calls for a ban on used car tyre sales in an attempt to reduce further accidents and deter rogue traders from selling on faulty products.

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DOING BUSINESS ON THE EDGE OF EUROPE

DOING BUSINESS ON THE EDGE OF EUROPE

BGA Automotive stand at show

Why go all the way to Turkey to go to a trade show? It was certainly a question on my mind as I hurtled for an hour along miles of bus-only expressways on one of Istanbul’s Metro buses, which are both terrifyingly fast and constantly carry a crush-load of passengers.

If you’ve been watching the news recently, you’ll know that the country has had a period of instability. Tensions between secularists who want the country to resemble Western Europe and conservative Islamists who do not, have been bubbling under the surface for years, leading to a number of chaotic and occasionally violent protests. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan politically survived an attempted coup d’etat last year, after which he purged the country of most of the judiciary and any journalists that dared to question his strategy were thrown in gaol – all of which puts the UK’s bickering about the snap election in the shade.

IMPORTANCE
However, the importance of the motor trade in Turkey cannot be understated. It is both a huge producer and a consumer of parts and complete vehicles, and so the organisers of Automechanika chose to franchise a show here.

The show has the look and feel of other non-Frankfurt editions with a mixture of big OE brands, smaller and more specialist suppliers plus a mix of diagnostic tool dealers, car wash suppliers and accessory brands – of which a disproportionate number seem to sell little but garish curtains for trucks, complete with tassels and pelmets. It takes little more than a cursory look through the programme guide to note that regional and Far-Eastern producers have the lion’s share of stands and space. Turkish companies were by far the largest exhibitors, in terms of number of exhibitors with the Chinese coming in second place. Between them, the two countries took up two-thirds of stands. So did other exhibitors get a look in?

The answer according to some of the other exhibitors was yes. “Everything here rolls on rubber” Paul Aylett, a Sales Manager at UK rotating electrics firm Prestolite told us, explaining why Turkey was important. His statement is correct, road freight makes up the vast bulk of the infrastructure in what is both a highly industrial and geographically vast country. A look at Istanbul, a city of some 15 million people, shows that there is seemingly no end to the number of light vehicles snarled up in constant horn-tooting traffic.

But why would any of Turkey’s distributors, all of which we noted were present at the show, choose to take on products from smaller UK brands? “It is about quality, but it is partly down to brand UK” said Chris Cameron from BGA Automotive. “The service people receive from British companies is noted for being consistent, 43,874 for international which is a strength”. This point is repeated when we visit Land Rover parts distributor AllMakes 4×4. Richard Howe, the MD is keen to tell us about the ‘added value’ that firms like his can provide. “It’s all about knowing the standards and service that you can expect from a firm like ours” he said.

That isn’t to say that doing business in Turkey is easy, regardless of whether you are importing or exporting. Wherever there is political instability, there will be a fluctuating currency and when considering the value of our own plummeting pound, it might be that the bulk purchase you shook on a few months previously, suddenly seems not such a great deal after all. A chat with the team on the Autopumps UK stand revealed that the prices of some castings from Turkey had increased by a third in recent months – and while the quality is good, there are other options.

Another point worth mentioning is the language. If you have ever been to trade shows further east, in Dubai for example, you’ll know that English is widely spoken and the de facto language of business. In Turkey, this doesn’t seem to be the case, so whether you are planning to exhibit, do business, or simply visit a trade show in the country it would be wise to bring someone who speaks the lingo with you.

CULTURAL BUSINESS
There are other cultural factors to be aware of when doing business in Turkey as well as Sezin Ata of FM Consulting told us, following a presentation at the show. “The decision process is long, but don’t push it” she warns, adding that people rarely like to say ‘no’… and you’ll find that out when they don’t say ‘yes’. She said that most business leaders in the country trust their individual contacts rather that written agreements – which is not unlike the UK aftermarket, but it does stress the importance of making the effort to get out here and shake the boss man’s hand, even if the deal value is low.

Sculpture in Tuap Expo Centre

Another point Ata made was the form of business meetings. “Very often there will be more than one person at the meeting – the boss and a senior engineer is typical. However, you might note that the engineer doesn’t say anything… Doesn’t he have anything to bring to the meeting?” she says.

“Actually, this is because businesses in Turkey often have a strong leader and submissive employees. They’ll give their opinion on the meeting when the boss asks them later” she explained.
All this sounds like it is a matcho culture, but Sezin believes that business in Turkey is on the whole ‘more feminine than masculine’ because of the numerous decisions based on human relationships, rather than simply the balance sheet.

It is ironic that as Britain has been seeking to leave the EU that Turkey has been attempting to join it – although the brakes seem to have been put on that process for now. As both countries are on the periphery of the Eurozone, it seems logical that both will want to do deals and ties with each other.

COUNTRY PAVILIONS
Noticeable by its absence was any form of UK Pavilion, although the UK businesses that were exhibiting were mostly grouped in the same hall.

Until recently, SMMT would arrange an area for members to exhibit at various international trade shows, under the banner ‘Business is GREAT Britain’.

The reasons for dropping this varied depending on who we spoke to, but what you couldn’t avoid noticing was ho ‘brand Germany’ brought it’s A-game.

The gleaming white pavilion with a well-designed and uniform theme was a focal point for visitors who made a bee-line for the Teutonic gear (although they always scattered every time I tried to point a camera
at them).

Another small but important point about the German stands was that the Board of Trade had been organised enough to produce some decent printed material in the form of a booklet that gave a short and serious explanation of each of the companies and how they can help. This document aped the style of all of the official Messe Frankfurt literature –
it was a top job.

Brexit means that British companies are going to have to seek business outside the EU and it is my opinion as Editor that the DTI should pay close attention to the Germans and offer something similar at cost price.

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GSF OPENS BRISTOL NORTH BRANCH

GSF OPENS BRISTOL NORTH BRANCH

Factor chain GSF Car Parts has announced the opening of a new store in Bristol.

Located at the Aztec West Business Park, Bristol North joins its South and central branches within the region as part of company expansion plans.

Following a similar setup to other stores, the 10,000sq ft. facility houses GSF’s fastest selling lines including braking, filtration and clutches with a strong focus on OE equipment for workshops.

“We’ll be looking initially within a 15 mile radius for deliveries”, said Simon McMullen, Regional Director at GSF Car Parts. “Our analysis suggests this gives us well over 100 garages and associated trades to target, so there are lot of opportunities for us” adding that the factor hasn’t ruled out building more sites across the city.

He concluded. “We’ve got experienced staff in place who know Bristol well. It’s been a great team effort to find and fit out suitable premises, put the staff in place and open with stock on the shelves – all in under a couple of months. We’re sure there’s even more potential for us around the area and we’ve been excited by the enthusiastic response already.”

For more information on deliveries and opening times, garages can head over to the GSF website.

Posted in Accessories, Batteries, Braking, CAT Features, Clutches, Factor & Supplier News, Filters, Garage News, NewsComments (0)

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