Tag Archive | "Automotive"


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Independent wholesaler Marathon Distribution has acquired two warehouses bringing its’ branch network to 14 sites. The move comes as part of a business strategy to improve its’ Northern logistic operations.

The Warrington distribution centre has recently opened its’ doors to trade customers.

Meanwhile, construction work on the new Gateshead site is still underway and should be functional by February next year.

The opening of these centres has also sparked a recruitment drive, creating a number of job opportunities and an internal shake-up, as Adrian McComas, Sales and Marketing Manager at Marathon Distribution, elaborates: “Several colleagues from our Castleford and Redditch depots will be transferring over to the new Warrington site.” He continued, “Regional Director Lee Pearsall has been appointed to manage operations for this part of the country.”

More branches are in the pipeline. McComas concluded: “We will also be looking to expand into Scotland in 2018 to enable us to service our Scottish customers more efficiently. We’ve already got substantial business in the North East and West of England, so it will make it easier to service those areas and gives us an opportunity to develop the business more, with more frequent opportunities for our stockists.” We look forward to reporting on these new sites when they go live next year.

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Calcination Oven

Catalytic converter brand Revcoat Technologies has made a major investment in new processes and machinery. New equipment includes a calcination oven, automatic case seam welder and several types of automatic coating machines.

The firm produces various types of diesel particulate filters in addition to the converters for petrol engines and has spent over £200k on the new equipment.

James Slade, Director at the firm said: “Over the past 12 months we have researched and developed catalyst wash-coats using high oxygen storage chemicals and Nano-technology precious metal solutions to meet the requirements of today’s emission standards.”

“Combined with our specifically designed coating and canning technology we can produce emission catalysts tailored to any requirement. Our catalytic solutions and our proprietary catalyst coating technology are individually tailored to take advantage of the latest technology in raw materials.”

“Our investment in this technology for the development of automotive emission catalysts gives us the ability to offer solutions for present and future requirements of environmental legislation.” Revcoat Technologies is owned by by European Exhaust & Catalyst Ltd.

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Fabrication line in new plant

If you think of the Dunlop brand, you’ll probably come up with the eponymous Fort Dunlop, the giant building sat next to the M6 which I remember in my youth as being vast, foreboding and, well, old.

However, this building was a spring chicken compared with Dunlop Suspensions’ former building in Coventry’s Holbrook Lane. The WW1-era factory was sprawling, dark and low. It was also riddled with holes – some apparently from stray bullets sustained in the dog-fights over the city in the second war.

While the historic value was not in doubt, it didn’t really work as an avatar for a modern, high- tech business. “People visiting the site would think ‘failed 1960s UK manufacturer’ and once you’ve formed that view it is very hard to dispel it” said Ian Hamilton, MD of the company. A move was on the cards, and the view of the management was if they were going to be in the new site for as long as there were on the old, it made sense to build something bespoke. “We did as much as we could, because we were only going to do this once” explained Hamilton.

As such, plans were drawn up for a brand-new site at the Prologis Park industrial area. The build was projected to cost in the region of £5m once the plant was taken into account, and the new building would feature the latest environmental systems, such as integration of thermal processes and an advanced soak away under the car park. It was going to be the first of its type in the area, however, this came with its own problems.

“One of the problems with being ‘first through the door’ is it is you that tends to get shot” explained Hamilton. “For a start, we were stuck between two county councils, with most of the building being in one, and the car park in another”. Interestingly, the footprint of the new build is much smaller than the old, with 60,000 sq ft as opposed to nearly three times than at the old place. “We didn’t use much of it really” said Hamilton. “Although every nook and cranny was stuffed with things, because when you have the space, people will fill it up. I’ve learnt that in any future business dealings to buy the smallest space needed. It saves so much money, because if you haven’t got anywhere to put it then you don’t buy it!” he added.

It isn’t only the building that has enjoyed a reboot. Working practices and machinery have modernised to keep up with the times. Processes that once took thirty burly men to complete can now be done by machinery, allowing employees to concentrate on lighter and more technical work. On our visit, the firm was busy producing a batch of air suspension for a bus manufacturer on one line, and a number of aftermarket products for Range Rovers on another. It is also worth pointing out that there is real manufacturing going on here, with CNC machines buzzing and autoclaves heating. It is not simply an assembly and distribution centre.

The lean systems in place also allow for small batch sizes. “The rivals are on the volume trail” asserts Hamilton, adding that the items produced are not exactly bespoke, but ‘tailor made’, which allows the firm a USP. “We assume our competitors consider volumes of less than 100,000 not to be worth the engineering time” he said, adding that CEO Chris Davis could identify ways of producing strong aftermarket references.

Dunlop Suspensions (officially known as Dunlop Systems and Components Ltd) had an interesting time in the last century as it was one of the pioneers of the disc brake and claims to have invented the ceramic disc. The company worked on many automotive projects, including the four wheel drive Jensen Interceptor FF. However, it was the rubber cone suspension on the original Mini, which had been designed by Alex Moulton and was produced by Dunlop Suspensions that captured the public’s imagination. The firm produced parts for the Hydrolastic and Hydragas systems that were standards on BMC cars of the era, but a disastrous merger with Pirelli indirectly lead to the whole Dunlop group of companies being sold to BTR in the 1980s. BTR gradually split them up and sold them off, with the Systems and Components division transferring to Trelleborg AB at the end of the 1990s. However, a management buyout in 2007 allowed the company to modernise, culminating in the building we are looking at today finally being completed in 2014.

As the old proverb goes, it is an interesting time to be a manufacturer in the UK. The effects of currency fluctuations and the threat (or opportunity if you like) of leaving the single market is hanging over those in the supply chain. Nonetheless, this company has shown that it can adapt to the pace of change – and long may it continue to do so.

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The website, is free of charge to users, available round the clock and kept up-to-date, giving workshops a genuine advantage, allowing them to develop a greater level of technical competence, which will contribute to the overall success of their business. HELLA, one of the world’s leading original equipment (OE) component and system suppliers, created the easily accessible portal to provide technicians with complete online support, including the latest range extensions, which are updated monthly, technical product information and HELLA Online Training – in short – to assist workshops to future proof their businesses.

TECH WORLD also links to the company’s online catalogues enabling them to browse all that HELLA, Behr Hella Service and Hella Gutmann Solutions has to offer. In addition, briefing notes are available, which give detailed information on product features and specifications, as well as links to supporting Apps, such as the ELIVER light comparison App and Behr Hella Services Compressor App.

Technicians can also access a range of practical technical training modules for lighting, electric and electronics and thermal management, and take advantage of the detailed technical information, with access to a know-how tool in which HELLA reveals how components work.

With this insight, they are able to more easily identify the cause of a fault and through this technical background knowledge how to rectify it. What’s more, technicians have the option to view technical clips and diagnostic tips to assist with the repairing process. To optimise the whole repair process, HELLA has continued to invest to provide excellent product availability and depth of range to help technicians complete their work to the highest possible standard. HELLA’s commitment to make the workshops day-to-day business life easier, faster and ready to face the future, demonstrates that the company really is the ‘workshop’s friend.’

To experience HELLA TECH WORLD please visit – www.hella.com/techworld. For more information about the OE quality products available from HELLA, please call customer services on: 01295 662400 or email hella.sales@hella.com

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Getac has recently launched its A140 fully rugged tablet, designed with a leading automotive manufacturer.

“Working with our customers, Getac is continuing to develop devices that really meet their evolving needs. Now more than ever, automotive organisations are concerned with giving their workers rapid secure access to critical information, while working in a diverse range of challenging environments,” explains Chris Bye, President of Getac, UK. “The A140 delivers those capabilities to our customers.”

“Take for instance automotive technicians,” continues Bye. “With increased vehicle functionality comes increased complexity, so technicians need fast performance, the ability to quickly see more data displayed and to operate technology with disposable gloves or other protective wear. They are constantly on the move, so the A140’s optional multifunction hard handle serves as a support stand and cradle when stationary, and an effective way to grab-and-go when time is critical.”

The device offers the most robust suite of security features of any fully rugged tablet, such as TPM 2.0, which monitors and protects system start-ups by ensuring the device is tamper-free before releasing control to the operating system. Optional Absolute DDS allows the user to remotely disable the system if it is ever lost or stolen. Multifactor authentication options, including fingerprint, RFID or SmartCard readers, allow users to take full advantage of Microsoft Windows 10 identity and access control features, including Windows Hello, Microsoft Passport and Credential Guard.
Taking full advantage of Intel’s 6th Generation Skylake Core i5 and i7 processors, the A140 delivers the highest performance in its class. Combined with Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 technology, and a hot-swappable battery design, users will experience maximum around-the-clock performance.

The large sunlight readable HD display incorporates Getac’s revolutionary LumiBond® 2.0 touch screen technology that is more durable and readable and supports touch, rain, glove and pen touch modes. Durability is synonymous with the Getac brand and the A140 fully rugged tablet continues the tradition. The tablet is MIL-STD810G and IP65-certified to withstand drops of up to four feet and survive rain, moisture, vibrations, shock and extreme temperatures from -21°C to 60°C operating temperature and -40°C to 71°C storage temperature. It is backed by Getac’s industry-best, three-year bumper-to-bumper warranty that includes accidental damage and environmental exposure.

The A140 comes with a range of options, including a full HD webcam for crystal-clear video conferencing, an 8MP rear camera with LED flash for crisp images and video, and 4G LTE wireless for fast and reliable connectivity. A slim-profile vehicle dock maximises cab space and allows tri-pass-through antenna ports to simultaneously connect to high-gain WWAN, WLAN and roof-mounted GPS antennas.

For more information about the new Getac A140 fully rugged tablet, visit www.getac.co.uk.

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Distribution centre is now completed

German parts maker Ferdinand Bilstein is holding a recruitment open day, taking place at its Markham Vale plant on Saturday 14th October.

The event will run from 10am until 16:00pm where potential employees will be given a tour of its new distribution centre in North-East Derbyshire, plus a rundown of all the job opportunities available on site.

The component manufacturer said up to 140 jobs will be up for grabs with full training provided to  candidates that make the cut.

For those interested in attending should get in touch with a member of the Bilstein team as soon as possible through the company website.

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Voting now open! 

Click here to cast your ballot




This year’s categories are:

Factor Team of the Year – Sponsored by Breck
Individual  branch team for recognition

Factor Chain of the Year – Sponsored by Boswell Aftermarket
For factors with two or more branches

Independent Garage of the Year – Sponsored by Euro Repar Car Service
The best independent garage

Garage Chain of the Year – Sponsored by HaynesPro
For any garage with two or more workshops

Retailer of the Year – Sponsored by Haynes
Celebrating your favourite retailer

Supplier of the Year – Sponsored by PG Automotive
For suppliers that have gone beyond the call of duty

Outstanding Achievement – Sponsored by NOCO
For individuals who made the aftermarket what it is

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BEN, the not-for-profit organisation, has launched its new project that aims to improve and spotlight the importance of physical health to individuals working in the automotive sector.

The ‘Get fit for work and for life’ initiative will be conducted through a number of activities throughout this year including a series of articles to improve health and wellbeing, some of which have been published on the BEN online News Hub. In addition to this, the foundation will also launch a new health programme that will be available later this year. The inventory will include checks for blood pressure test, body mass index (BMI) as well as body fat percentage and resting heart rate test based on National Health guidelines.

Speaking about the latest campaign, Zara Ross, Chief Executive at BEN said. “By focusing on preventative measures and offering advice on subjects such as healthy eating and exercise, we can help people maintain a good level of health and fitness. As part of this, we’re really excited to be launching our physical health checks later this year to support businesses in helping their employees get fit and stay fit for work and for life”.

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Pri Chauhan shows us around a recruitment business that has an unusual point of difference.

Pete George and Pri Chauhan (R)

Imagine for a moment that you own a successful recruitment business and you wish to expand, what would the next step be? Perhaps you’d hire more staff and find a larger office? You might want to reach out to more potential clients through social media such as LinkedIn or Google Circles.

PG Automotive, a firm that wanted to expand from a small business suite wished to do all of these, but simply renting a f loor of an office block must have seemed too pedestrian for the management duo of Pete George and Pri Chauhan. Both are huge petrol-heads and the recruitment business that they own is focussed on the aftermarket… So perhaps it wasn’t such a huge leap of logic that they decided to expand into car detailing. The idea for the business was hit on following a meeting with Reep CEO Chris McDonald.

The industrial unit chosen for the expansion is a lofty building, which PG fitted out with an upstairs area used for the recruitment agency offices. These are what you might expect, but it is the ground f loor that is altogether more interesting. A reception area resembles a boho New York loft, complete with contemporary furniture and lifestyle magazines. This leads through to a number of client rooms, which have floor to ceiling internal windows that look over the detailing bays. These rooms, which are also tastefully furnished can be either used for clients visiting the recruitment consultants, or for people wanting to watch and wait as their vehicle is detailed. “We did a lot of it ourselves” Chauhan recalled. “It cost Pete (George) a bad back and me a double hernia”.

Don’t confuse this operation with the sort of hand car washes you see in closed-down petrol
stations on trunk roads around the country. Reep comprises of some of the highest-end detailing products in the industry including Swissvax UK, Koch Chemie and Gtecniq. Indeed, it does not refer to itself as a distributor of car cleaning materials – the website prefers the term ‘world class surface technology’.

Whatever you want to call the service, the vehicles on the work area f loor on the day of our visit show that PG’s networking skills have resulted in a client base that most independent garages can only dream of. The car nearest the door to us was a mid-1960s Mustang convertible and it was probably the least valuable vehicle in the building. Waiting in the queue were two Ferrari 458s, an Aston and several Porsches and while we were visiting another car, which we think was a Lamborghini Aventador was unloaded from a curtain side trailer.

Ferrari 458 looking shiny

Having the detailing business has worked well for the recruitment firm as Chauhan says it gives the firm a point of differentiation and links it inextricably with the aftermarket. “I’ve enjoyed bringing clients here and they get it straight away. If there is a particular car in that they like we’ll arrange to see them while it is in and they can have a picture with it – though they can’t sit in it!” smiles Chauhan.

The bays themselves are described as F1-themed, though to our mind they more resembled spray booths in a bodyshop. Each one is temperature controlled and evenly lit and none have anywhere for dirt or contamination to build up. Alongside usual detailing facilities, the Gtechniq ceramic protection mentioned by Chauhan has been popular as it is tougher and more durable than traditional paint protection offered by dealerships.

One area where the bosses don’t get their hands dirty is in the detailing itself. As a recruitment company, it wasn’t too hard to find experienced professionals that wanted to work in a place such as this.

Indeed, it hasn’t been much trouble in getting anyone through the door as the team found at a launch event on a cold, wet Sunday in February. A capacity crowd turned up at the industrial estate to see some of the exotic cars that had been brought by customers to the gleaming facility. We’ll be interested to see how this hybrid business develops over the coming months.

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We visit ‘Small Garage of the Year’ winner Simon Taylor

It’s fair to say Taylor’s winning streak has gone in his favour as when we arrived, there was a stream of customers and a logjam of cars waiting for attention on the forecourt. “We weren’t sure whether it was because of Brexit, or the economy or other reasons that we’ve been so busy”, said Taylor “But it seems to be lasting and we are getting more customers from further afield now”.

With a handful of garages and a Honda dealership operating in close proximity, we were curious to find out how this independent has ‘survived and thrived’ while others have been forced to roll down the shutters for good.

While the garage is not selective and will operate on just about anything and everything that is automotive, there are a number of specialisms. For a start, it deals with LPG conversions and all that entails as well as having a skill set and a whole lot of diagnostic equipment for JLR products, and Land Rover in particular. Nonetheless, Taylor’s team will trace the fault on whatever is presented to them. “Although it would be nice to say that we specialise in specific vehicles, our customer base is completely varied. Generally, we work on Land Rovers, classics and even agricultural vehicles including tractors for our farmer customers”, says Taylor, adding that the workshop, on occasions, has taken on work from the Honda dealership who have also diversified its range to remain competitive in the area.

The experienced in-house technicians have played a major role in the garage’s success, according to Taylor, who are equipped with years of industry knowledge and expertise between them.

To complement their skill-set, Taylor makes sure his workforce are fully trained with the latest diagnostic tools and software on the market to speed up vehicle turnaround. “We are part of the Delphi Diesel Network and utilise its DS100 tools for diagnosing faults”, he says. “We also use Autologic and Launch UK diagnostic platforms”, The firm has also upgraded to Haynes Pro’s system to source and install the correct components first time around.

The workshop space is home to both car and motorcycle bays and even a small waste oil burner (SWOB) that wasn’t in operation during the tour. The garage is one of a handful in Leicestershire that can MOT motorbikes. As is common in rural garages, there were vehicles crammed into every available space, with cars ranging from a pretty Triumph TR4, to a number of new looking 4x4s, right down to a couple of Hyundai Coupés from the last century. “The garage’s original structure was a butchers shop and later home to a petrol station”, Taylor explained, adding that an old fashioned law imposed by the local pub still prohibits anyone from drinking alcohol on-site.

Busy morning in the workshop

Winning the Award two years in a row has encouraged Taylor to give the garage a revamp with the addition of a new reception area and roof to be complete in the next couple of months. “I often apologise to customers who are sitting around and explain to them that it’s not as glamorous as the main dealer, but they said just because you take it to a main dealer doesn’t mean you’re going to get a good job”, Taylor continued. “It is a bit chaotic in the reception area but they know they will get a good job done because all they want is a good service and value for money”.

With the emergence of the Connected Car and hybrid technology, Taylor is in the process of enrolling staff onto training courses and considering installing an electric charge point as more of these models enter the parc. He concluded. “At the moment, I’m looking into how we can best deal with the technology that is coming through. Courses for these vehicles are getting better because initially, they were few and far between but over the next five years, we are going to see a lot of changes”.

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