Tag Archive | "Batteries"

ECOBAT TO EXHIBIT AT AUTOMECHANIKA B’HAM

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ECOBAT TO EXHIBIT AT AUTOMECHANIKA B’HAM


PROMO ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF ECOBAT TECHNOLOGIES

There is a lot more to the ECOBAT group than meets the eye. Besides being Europe’s largest specialist battery distributor, it is also the world’s largest producer of lead and lead alloys, supplying battery manufacturers all over the world. As a result, more than 50 million batteries are produced containing its lead and alloys annually.

This specialism means that ECOBAT Technologies is also a global leader in metallurgical processes and R&D for battery plate construction enhancements, continually developing the use of alloys to improve battery performance, such as:

  • Cranking and Capacity
  • Cycle life
  • Charge acceptance
  • Reduced gassing
  • Operation in extreme temperature environments
  • Reduced corrosion

This commitment has led to many of the key technology advances and product patents, but the company also works with leading battery manufacturers, adding its expertise to their own.

In 2009 the group began investing in battery distribution, and today the division – ECOBAT Battery Technologies (EBT) –  supplies more than 2.5 million batteries to OEM and aftermarket customers, many of which will inevitably contain its advanced lead and alloys, ensuring optimum performance and product longevity. EBT is not simply a specialist battery supplier, it is part of a manufacturing and technology group with a battery specialist division.

In the UK, EBT is active in virtually all battery markets, with wide sector coverage and comprehensive product ranges with leading brands such as VARTA®, Lucas and Numax. The quality of the products, combined with a nationwide distribution network, focussed customer support and high stock availability, are all contributory factors to the success of the company.

To demonstrate all things EFB/AGM and encourage technicians to look to the future and benefit from the changing world of batteries, EBT is teaming up with long-term partner VARTA for this year’s Automechanika Birmingham.

As it has done previously, the company will also be using one of the event’s technical presentations – to be delivered from the Technical Training Hub in the show’s ‘Garage Quarter’ – to give technicians a glimpse of the future by addressing the realities of the growth in lithium battery technology and the responsibilities faced by workshops as the global trend for electric vehicles continues.

At the same time, current technology must not be overlooked as the market transitions from traditional to hybrid vehicles, which puts greater demands on the vehicle’s battery management system and requires vehicle specific repair solutions.

Technicians are at the front line, not only when it comes to diagnosing problems and making the repair, but also in educating motorists who are largely unfamiliar with this new technology. EBT will therefore be challenging them with the question: are they equipped for an electric future?

Back on its stand (H81), alongside the market-leading VARTA range, EBT will be displaying the formidable Lucas portfolio, as well as its very own Numax offering, to demonstrate the depth and breadth of products in its substantial armoury.

“Automechanika again provides us with the ideal occasion to connect with our customers and end-users, to help them gain a clear understanding of the challenges – and accompanying opportunities – that the latest technical developments present,” explains the company’s Sales Director, Paul Payne.

“Start/stop equipped vehicles, the continuing trend towards fully electric alternatives, environmental responsibilities and the wider opportunities outside of the traditional automotive sector are all points of interest that many visitors will want to discuss and for which EBT has many compelling solutions. We therefore look forward to welcoming visitors to both the technical presentation and our stand, to demonstrate how we can travel the road together and look forward with confidence to a bright future.”

For further details, please contact ECOBAT Battery Technologies on: 01743 218500 or visit: www.ecobat.tech

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CHARGING UP BUSINESS MARGINS

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CHARGING UP BUSINESS MARGINS


There are plenty of battery charger brands out there, but how are firms standing out from the competition?

Noco Genius series

Consolidation is the buzzword of our industry at the moment, but it isn’t just reserved for the factor groups, suppliers are part of this trend too. “There has been a lot of consolidation of battery brands with only a few major players left in the market.” said Gary Vincent, Sales Manager of American battery charger firm Noco.

While battery brands are shrinking, he says the opposite is true of chargers, “In terms of battery chargers, there is an increasing number of battery charger brands entering the market from the far-east with little actual battery charging experience and just looking to make quick money on places like Amazon,” he said, adding that this has had a knock-on effect on product quality and safety in the marketplace.

TRAINING
To maintain quality standards and be one of the ‘go-to’ brands for battery chargers, Noco has heavily invested in a number of marketing initiatives, technologies and training programmes to maintain customer retention while providing new clients with the technical know-how to up-sell its chargers in store. “Technical training forms part of the Noco on-boarding process for new customers so they can confidently advise and sell across the range,” said Vincent. “We see a continued trend towards lithium-ion batteries in all markets, and all of our chargers contain a specialised lithium charging mode. However, most competitors focus on their attention on charging fast, whereas we focus on return of capacity whilst restoring the specific gravity to optimal level, which can sometimes lead to slightly longer recharge times.”

The design and packaging can also bring many plusses to retailers stocking them as Vincent highlights: “Our chargers and packaging is extremely compact, which typically saves retailers upwards of four times in retailer footprint. These not only allow retailers room to add additional SKU’s, but also saves on logistical costs.”

NEW PRODUCTS
Taking a slightly different stance on battery charging is Swedish battery charger firm CTEK. As previously mentioned in CAT, the firm recently introduced its ‘CT5 Time To Go’ device, which informs users when their battery is fully charged, through a series of LED lights that monitor the state of charge of the battery. The tool is used in conjunction with the firm’s new ‘Battery Sense’ dongle, which tracks the vehicle’s battery health. The concept behind this was to encourage more motorists to check their battery regularly in order to prevent further breakdowns, particularly during the colder months when this component is at its most vulnerable. Sten Hammargren, Consumer Business Unit at CTEK, elaborated: “The Battery Sense tool is easy to install and data is delivered through a free to download iPhone or Android App. Battery Sense means no worrying about charge levels or when to charge; providing valuable information about the vehicle’s battery in a simple, user-friendly way.”

In addition, the maker is conducting ongoing training sessions for factors and distributors via its Skillsbase programme, allowing them to gain a thorough understanding of the firm’s wares. This is further supported with marketing materials such as product sheets, brochures and promotional films for additional advice and guidance. “Understanding how our products can be used to meet the needs and demands of the end user is a strong factor in choosing the right products to generate sales opportunities”, said Hammargren, “Our Skillsbase programme is helping our customers to gain comprehensive CTEK knowledge and develop essential skills and understanding to maximise profit margins.”

In a similar vein, Banner Batteries is raising awareness and the importance of battery chargers and maintenance to its retail network in the form of ‘visually appealing’ display units and marketing materials including a pocket guide leaflet for its Accucharger range. Lee Quinney, Country Manager at Banner, elaborated: “Developed to ensure that modern lead-acid batteries attain their anticipated long service life through regular and necessary equalisation charges, each Accucharger is more than capable of powering up any starter battery easily, fully automatically and safely. In addition to their functionality and suitability for all 6/12V lead acid batteries, they are appealing in terms of their design aesthetics and have already been widely adopted by Banner’s distributors and their customers.”, he concluded.

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THE COMPLETE BATTERY SOLUTION FROM HELLA

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THE COMPLETE BATTERY SOLUTION FROM HELLA


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF HELLA

With the UK currently enduring some fairly hostile weather conditions, for the country’s motorists, it’s the battery that takes the brunt. This fact was underlined by the RAC as it issued a stark warning this week stating that they expected to receive more than 3,000 battery related callouts on the first day back after Christmas alone.

The weather is however an opportunity for HELLA customers as its supply agreement with ECOBAT Battery Technologies ensures that the HELLA battery offering meets the challenge, because alongside excellent availability, it is both comprehensive and incorporates the latest products to reflect current technology. In addition, with the market-leading Hella Gutmann Solutions (HGS) mega macs range of diagnostic tools, which possess the software required to correctly install the batteries used for start/stop enabled vehicles, HELLA has all the necessary elements to provide a full battery replacement programme.

Bearing in mind that battery related issues remain the most common cause of breakdown, whatever the season, battery health should be a priority for workshops. Therefore, as a matter of course, technicians should carry out a battery check on every vehicle that enters their premises, which allows preventative maintenance to be undertaken. Alongside this practical action, technicians should be recommending that customers who use their vehicles infrequently or make only short journeys, charge the battery on a regular basis, which will substantially reduce the risk of electrical related breakdown.

Due to the competitive nature of the sector, proactivity is the watchword for batteries, so it is vital for factors to make sure they are supplying the correct replacement for the vehicle, which is why an accurate application guide is a must. However, it is good practice for counter staff to check whether any extra high demand electrical equipment has been added to the vehicle, as this could affect the specification.

As the number of vehicles incorporating a start/stop function will only increase, the demand for AGM/EFB batteries is projected to grow rapidly and these must be installed correctly to prevent their premature failure. Unlike the traditional SLI battery, AGM/EFB batteries require a specific fitting procedure and the use of a specialised tool to integrate them into the vehicle’s complicated electronic system. Moreover, as vehicles become evermore reliant on electronics and the demands on the battery subsequently increase, the correct diagnosis of the cause of electrical related issues is vital.

This is where HGS users benefit, as all mega macs diagnostic tools have the capability to introduce an AGM/EFB battery into the battery management system (BMS) of a start/stop enabled vehicle, to correctly initialise the replacement. Without this process, the battery will fail prematurely.

Further advantages come with their ability to diagnose other battery related problems, such as issues with the IBS (intelligent battery sensor), which is a vital component in the BMS and, will sometimes also need replacing. Usefully, in addition to its aftermarket range, HELLA is an original equipment (OE) IBS supplier, so has particular expertise with this increasingly used product.

In short, as a respected supplier of premium quality components and diagnostic equipment, HELLA’s battery programme naturally reflects the requirements of the market and provides the solution technicians need to undertake every battery related challenge.

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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AVOIDING THE BATTERY BLUES THIS WINTER

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AVOIDING THE BATTERY BLUES THIS WINTER


As the season of flat batteries creeps in, how are suppliers preparing garages this winter? CAT Reporter Daniel Moore finds out.

Battery labelling at Yuasa factory

Like all of the aftermarket, we wait in joyful expectation of a foggy and icy winter, but how are battery companies preparing for the oncoming season?

MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
The idea is of course to recommend a replacement before it fails to start the car, thus eliminating some of the seasonal peaks and troughs in battery sales.

Trying to achieve a similar theory but with a slightly different end goal in mind, Swedish battery charger firm CTEK has launched a campaign to encourage motorists to prolong the life of the battery by regularly giving it a maintenance charge (by using one of the firm’s switching ‘smart’ chargers of course). A new consumer product called ‘Time to Go’ has removed most of the process indicators on the front panel, instead simply telling the motorist how long it will be until the battery is charged. The product ties in with a Bluetooth dongle and smartphone app called ‘battery sense’, that gives the motorist real-time info about the state of health of their batteries – this could be particularly useful on vehicles that are rarely used over the winter such as classic cars or motorhomes. Sten Hammargren, Consumer Business Unit Manager at CTEK, said “It’s a reflection of the demands that today’s consumer has for household tools and accessories that can keep them in the picture – we’ve seen it with other household goods such as washing machines and tumble dryers and now you can have this type of information from your battery charger.”

TESTING TIMES
Of course most consumers will prefer the garage to check the state of health of their battery and Bosch Car Service member garage Spiros Motors, is one workshop that has followed suit by carrying out free of charge battery checks on every vehicle it sees. Dinos Christoforou, Master Technician at Spiros Motors, expands: “Every single service for any vehicle coming in, it’s one of the main checks that we do”, highlighting the tools used for the job, he said, “We use Bosch Bat121 Electronic Tester that measures the amperage of the battery. notifies us of how much amperage is in the battery before it needs to be charged up”, adding that a ticket print out is then issued from the machine. You might ask what the point of a printout is if the machine has it on the display, well, this information is then relayed back to the customer, complete with the printout as proof that the check has been carried out as described and notifying them of the steps taken before receiving the keys back to their vehicle.

To avoid breakdowns, Steve Hudson, Head of Business Development at Behr Hella Services, says garages should consistently advise customers to maintain their battery all year around no matter how much or little the vehicle is used. “Battery related issues remain the most common cause of breakdown, whatever the season, battery health should be a priority”, notes Hudson. “Technicians should be recommending that customers that use their vehicles infrequently or make only short journeys, should charge the battery on a regular basis, which will substantially reduce the risk of electrical related breakdown”. Lee Quinney, Country Manager for Banner Batteries GB, echoes Hudson’s sentiment suggesting ongoing training should be a number one priority of any garage, particularly with the eclectic range battery technologies flooding the market. “Giving the garages the training and support that is needed has never been more important, particularly as specifying the wrong start-stop battery for a vehicle can have serious consequences”, he replied.

BATTERY LOOK-UP TOOLS
When the time for battery replacement comes, a number of manufacturers have introduced online applications allowing workshops, suppliers and the like to source their models easily. Ecobat Technologies (formerly Manbat) is a prime example with its EBT Battery Finder that has helped extend its distribution network to many independents nationwide. “Users simply need to enter the registration number of the vehicle in the search box and the site will use a sophisticated VRM database to locate the correct car and provide access to its vehicle- specific details”, notes Paul Payne, Sales Director at Ecobat Technologies. “This information naturally includes the exact specification of the battery for which it is designed, and therefore provides an absolute assurance the battery is the precise replacement the VM has specified for that model”.

With the extensive amount of gadgets and promotions on offer, workshops and retailers can be rest assured that by investing in some of these wares and services will enable them to avoid those battery blues this winter while picking up some extra revenue along the way.

CHARGING UP FOR THE FUTURE
While technology in vehicles becomes increasingly complex, we were interested to find out how this could impact the battery market in the years to come. Although we have touched on the aforementioned start-stop technology, it is the now and future as battery maker DBS Energy’s MD Henry James, points out, “The market in automotive batteries is moving towards ‘All Electric’, but the current future is in stop-start technology, which is having a positive outcome on sales of AGM batteries due to larger amounts of stop-start cars being on our roads”, he said. “There has already been a huge swing to sealed maintenance free flooded batteries also, which has already started to take place in the commercial vehicle sector too.”

Ecobat’s Sales Director Paul Payne concurs and expands. “In the short to medium term, the replacement market will remain dominated by the 12-volt battery. Clearly AGM sales will increase and [traditional] batteries gradually fall back, but any significant growth outside this core sector, is still several years in the future.”

Yuasa’s James Douglas says before investing in future wares, workshops must first identify and understand the different setups for each model on the market, something that is still a little unclear among some garages. He said, “The key issues is there hasn’t been a massive volume of start-stop cars going through garages needing their battery replaced, it’s only now that it’s beginning to increase. We are still pushing that message and explaining to garages that it’s a completely different setup. If a car has EFB battery then it needs to be replaced with EFB and likewise with AGM as opposed to a conventional one.”

Whatever the weather, it looks like there is still good business in battery services for a while yet.

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LUCAS BATTERIES SPONSORS GRAFF LEMANS CAR


Ecobat Battery Technologies, which uses the Lucas Batteries brand under licence, is to sponsor a LeMans racer.

The Graff Racing Gibson V8 powered ORECA 07 LMP2 racer will be driven by former Formula 3 champion James Winslow, who is in his first season in driving for Graff Racing.

Commenting on the association, EBT’s Steve Sheppard said: “Since the formal consolidation of our various battery businesses spread throughout Europe, which was completed last year, we have been looking for an opportunity to promote the pan-European nature of EBT.

“Le Mans is a truly global event and therefore provides us with just such a platform, while also providing the opportunity to raise awareness of the Lucas battery brand to both our many trade customers and the wider motoring public.

 

 

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HELLA RE-ENERGISES ITS BATTERY PROGRAMME


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF HELLA 

hella-battery-range

As one of Europe’s leading original equipment (OE) manufacturers and system suppliers for the passenger car, commercial vehicle (CV) and agricultural industries, HELLA also offers a huge range of aftermarket products that naturally reflect the quality implicit in a major OE manufacturer.

Battery related issues remain the root cause of most vehicle breakdowns with battery performance reduced by as much as 35% as temperatures hit freezing. Therefore, batteries are a particularly important product across all sectors, so as would be expected, the HELLA range is designed around quality.

To ensure its entire range remains at the very top of division when it comes to performance and durability, HELLA has recently reviewed, updated and expanded its range to provide the most appropriate solution for the varying needs of drivers.

The renewed car, light commercial vehicle (LCV) and CV battery ranges are included in HELLA’s latest Power Promotion, which runs until the end of the year and means the more batteries that a wholesaler orders, the greater their rebate.

As well as high quality products supplied by a reputable OE manufacturer, another major benefit for wholesalers distributing HELLA batteries is the no minimum order quantity stipulation and with next day delivery, factors only need to order what they need, when they need it.

The re-energised battery range consists of four models: Classic, Premium, Supreme and AGM, to cater for every conceivable application, from passenger car and LCV to heavy duty and agricultural.

The Classic range is designed for smaller capacity engines and older vehicles, providing a cost effective solution for these applications because of its reliability and maintenance free convenience.

For general purpose applications, HELLA has designed the Premium range for all classes of vehicles. It is one of the top selling models in the range and offers matching OE performance and a long service life, which is why the range proves so popular.

With the Supreme, HELLA provides a higher than OE specification solution for vehicles with extremely high energy consuming demands. Particularly ideal for diesel engines and vehicles with a large number of electronic devices and energy sapping additions, its robust design and optimised performance ensures reliability and a long service life.

The HELLA AGM range is ideal for the growing number of vehicles featuring stop-start functionality, as it is designed to cater for this technology due to its excellent cyclic capacity as well as providing up to 50% more starting power.

For more information about the OE quality products available from HELLA or for BEHR HELLA SERVICE, please call the sales team on: 01295 662400 or email: hella.sales@hella.com

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