Tag Archive | "Comline"


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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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Is there a healthy future for dual mass flywheels and conversion kits? Daniel Moore investigates.

Dual mass flywheels (DMFs) absorb excess torque and dampening vibrations to allow smoother engine running at lower rpms. This process is carried out by storing rotational energy and releasing it over short periods of time, which, in turn, provides a silkier ride for the motorist while conforming to VMs’ objective to lower fuel consumption and emissions.


However, some problems can occur if DMFs wear, usually manifesting in a noisy and unpleasant journey for drivers, along with potential damage to the gearbox and crankshaft before the DMF fails alltogether. Nick Symons, Clutch Product Manager at ZF Services UK, notes. “Driving in high gear at low rpm or running the engine while stationary for long periods (to maintain air conditioning while parked for example) can cause premature wear to the dampening mechanism of the flywheel due to low-speed oscillation”. Frank Massey, Owner of ADS Automotive expands on Symons’ statement. “Most DMF clutches are wet clutches that require services and oil changes. Incorrect servicing and oil being used, or the wrong tools used for transmission work can be contributing factors to DMF failure”, he said.


Miten Parikh, Product Manager at Comline, explains that a trend towards VM’s fitting DMF’s on newer vehicles could result in increased labour time and a cost for the garage, especially if a replacement clutch is needed. He elaborates. “Vehicle manufacturer production lines are increasingly utilising the more complex DMF clutch options with around 50 percent of all new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles are equipped with a dual mass flywheel. From the garage perspective, this means more DMF clutch issues arriving in the workshop requiring increasingly complex and time-consuming repairs”.


During a time where most consumers are driven on price, there’s also been an uptake in solid mass flywheel (SMF) conversion kits entering the market, often used as a budget alternative and time-saving option to replace worn DMF’s and their associated components. Some may recall the four-piece clutch kit developed by clutch maker Valeo, introduced in 2005 that was produced as an alternative to cut out expenses and fitment times for workshops.

However, technicians are still faced with a dilemma whether to replace a similar DMF originally manufactured for the vehicle or order in a conversion kit to complete the installation procedure. According to Malcolm Short, Technical Services Manager for Schaeffer Automotive Aftermarket UK, there can be risks involved with installing conversion kits that don’t match the same criteria as the DMF taken off the vehicle. “Fitting conversion kits, essentially a solid flywheel conversion, doesn’t have the same conversion or capabilities that a DMF does. You can run the risk of damage to the gearbox and crankshafts”.

Malcolm White, Product Director at FirstLine, which owns the Borg and Beck brand, believes there is space in the market for conversion kits and DMFs to co-exist with one another. Speaking about his firm’s range of conversion kits he says, “This has been made possible by the development of the long travel damper, which uses advanced vibration clutch damper technology to create a damper capable of 40 degrees of torsional movement and is therefore comparable with the movement that was typical from the equivalent DMF at the time of the vehicle’s original manufacture”.

Comline SMF Clutch Kit

Aisin Europe’s Pierre Grégoire said the firm has developed a twin disc technology specifically for its SMF conversion kits. He elaborates. “Aisin Europe has developed a conversion kit to a single mass flywheel (SMF). What sets our conversion kit apart from our competitors is the utilisation of our unique twin- disc technology, a quality alternative for the price conscious customers who do not want to compromise on reliability, driving comfort and fuel efficiency”.

So the question on a stock vendor’s mind is ‘will there be market growth for DMF’s and conversion kits in the near future?’ As anticipated, there have been mixed responses from clutch makers and suppliers primarily down to electric cars that won’t require conventional transmission.

That said, LuK’s Malcolm Short notes: “There will definitely be market growth for DMF’s especially with the P2 Hybrid Electric Motor that is going into production this year which features a DMF on it”. First Line’s Malcom White takes a different view, saying that there will be a decline in the DMF and clutch market with the uptake of plug- in hybrids that incorporate an automatic or CVT transmission. “The growth of the latest petrol/ plug-in hybrids will represent a reduction for Dual Mass Flywheel and in fact clutch” said White. “VW being the exception as they continue to offer the DSG alternative on vehicles like Golf where customers are still looking for the manual experience”.

Peter Horton, Marketing Executive at Motaquip concurs. “Electrical vehicles don’t use conventional drivetrains, however are intelligence suggests we’re still over two decades away from electric vehicles making a Aisin Europe clutch disc significant impact on the clutch aftermarket”.

There are other opportunities as well. “Double clutch is now fitted to VW, Ford, Hyundai, Kia and Fiat”, LuK’s Malcolm Short tells us. “We’re doing double clutch training every week now to emphasise to garages that this is something they should be getting involved with”. FLG’s Malcolm White takes the same stance as Short, noting that DCT is the next largest development project underpinned by VMs worldwide. “The growth of Double (Dual) Clutch Transmission is predicted to be more than 11 percent per until 2020”, he said. “These clutch solutions offer increased fuel efficiencies as well as an improved driving experience for motorists”.

Whatever the future brings, you can be sure that the long running debate over DMFs and solid f lywheel conversions has a little while to go yet, as the number of vehicles fitted with these transmissions runs in the tens of millions.

Some may remember the introduction of centrifugal pendulum absorbers on the BMW 320 in 2010. Although still classed as a newer technology, LuK’s Malcolm Short told CAT that the firm has developed this technology further by incorporating it into its dual mass flywheels to dampen judder and improve the overall driving experience. He added. “We now have a pendulum absorber contained in our DMFs. This started out on BMW where we developed it for them but now it is being fitted to high end passenger cars like Audi and Mercedes which will get spread across the board as it becomes more popular”. When first introduced, LuK produced a one-off solid conversion for the BMW and fitted it to a car. Visitors to the clutch fim’s factory in Baden-Baden would then be invited to go for a spin in the converted car and in a regular one in order to feel the difference for themselves.

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Salloway (middle) presented awards

There might be far fewer conventions and ‘jollies’ abroad these days, but we’re pleased to say that the A1 Conference took 85 delegates and 35 supplier’s reps to the delightful Grand Majestic Hotel on the shores of Lake Maggiore in Italy. Particular mention should be given to the five suppliers, which sponsored the convention, namely Tetrosyl, Comline, Trico, Platinum and FPS.

On the day of arrival, the guests enjoyed a trip on the lake, plus a decent evening’s feed. However, in the morning after breakfast it was down to work for the Supplier meetings. Members paired up and had strictly timed five-minute sessions with each supplier. Of course, if the discussions needed to go on longer then there was plenty of opportunity later, but the point of the exercise was to introduce members to suppliers that they may not have previously had a dialogue with.

a1_award_winnersThe evening event was a black-tie dinner. A1’s Head of Operations, Simon Salloway called everyone to order and announced the winners of the 2016 A1 Motor Stores’ Supplier Awards. There were only four to be made, and the accolade was taken very seriously by the suppliers as all the awards were voted for by the entire membership. See the side panel for who won.

Actually there was one more announcement to make and it was an emotional one too. A1 members Phil and Pauline Taylor from Motormania were retiring straight after the conference. Motomania has been a member of A1 for all but two years of the group’s existence and Phil had a few words to say before signing off. He said, “In all the years of being involved in membership and heading up the executive as Chairman in the past, I have never seen the group in such a healthy and exciting position. A1

certainly does have a part to play in our industry and I wish I could turn back the clock and still be part of it. I think Simon Salloway is bringing the changes and new initiative to A1 that we need and I’m sure the group will grow from strength to strength. Pauline and I would like to thank A1 members and suppliers, old and new, for allowing us to have such an enjoyable career and we wish you all success moving forward.”

We wish the Taylor’s all the best and look forward to another great event next year.

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Divyesh Kamdar invites CAT to tour Comline Auto Parts’ HQ in Luton

Queen's Award

Comline receives the Rose Bowl and Plaque signed by Her Majesty the Queen

Today marked a red- letter day on the Comline calendar as the firm prepared to receive the prestigious Queen’s Award For Enterprise: International Trade 2016.

It is undeniable that the past four years have notably been the firm’s strongest yet in terms of export and trade opportunities with sales now reaching over 20 countries in Europe and 40 countries worldwide. Since 2012 the company has trebled its oversees earnings and ranked in The Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table as one of the private companies with the fastest- growing international sales over a two year period. The acquisition of Motaquip from PSA in 2014 also helped contribute to the company’s expansion plans and recent appointment. Managing Director, Divyesh Kamdar explained: “Comline continues to enjoy considerable success here in the UK, but our export growth over the past four years has been nothing short of staggering”.

Like the other companies in the issue that have received the Award, the ceremony follows a similar pattern: The firm receiving the Award, plus guests are assembled in the largest space available, the Lord Lieutenant turns up, often accompanied by the local mayor and other council dignitaries and after making a speech and reading a proclamation, a rose bowl is handed to the head of the company along with the right to use the Queen’s mark for the following five years.

This was the case on our visit, with Her Majesty’s Lord Left Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis handing the bowl to Divyesh Kamdar. “What a moment this is for everyone associated with Comline” said Kamdar. “We are incredibly proud to be a British company, and I can think of no greater honour than receiving such an important accolade directly from HM The Queen”.

We were interested to have a look around and see what the company had been doing to earn the gong for export. We met Dr Keith Ellis, Director of Braking Product Development,who provided an overview of the in-house technical centre: “This is a facility we put together in the last 18 months because we needed some technical capability actually on site” he told us, while showing some of the equipment. Ellis also mentioned that the team perform rigorous testing on their manufactured products making sure they are of high quality before being boxed up and distributed to workshops.

After exiting the test centre, we took a tour of the 175,000 sq ft. facility containing long aisles of Comline’s wares. Divyesh elaborated: “Our biggest and fastest selling line is filtration which represents 40 per cent of the business, braking 40 per cent and all of our other products represent 20 per cent” Divyesh elaborated: “Filtration is our strongest product group because in that mid-market segment we have 2,500 part numbers. We rank high because there aren’t many other players in this segment”.

Ishan Kamdar, Comline’s Business Development Director, explained that the acquisition of Motaquip proved to be a logistical challenge following the acquisition of that company from Peugeot in December 2014, with the stock
having to be transferred from the French firm over to Luton during the Christmas break, something that turned out to be ‘fun and games’ for the first months of 2015.

Comline HQ in Luton

Comline HQ in Luton

Acquiring the Queen’s Award for Enterprise is only the beginning as the firm has many business ventures ahead to continue as one of the larger aftermarket distributors of European, Korean and Japanese parts. “We will be re-launching a couple of product groups, clutch kits as well as a range of new wheel bearing kits at the Automechanika Frankfurt show” said Divyesh, “We will continue our European expansion with France and Germany being our key target areas and increasing the importance of the eastern European countries that we still don’t serve”.

For those of you attending the Frankfurt show can visit the Comline stand in Hall Five to find out about its newest product lines or discuss any business opportunities with its team of professionals. Divyesh concluded: “We’re also planning to go to the Automechanika Moscow show to have a look and see if we can start up any trade opportunities there. As far as the UK’s concerned about Comline, with our raised profile and the fact we provide value, we hope the buying groups will take us more seriously as we go forward”.

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