Tag Archive | "Klarius"

NEW BROOM SWEEPS THROUGH KLARIUS

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NEW BROOM SWEEPS THROUGH KLARIUS


 

“We’d like to invite any and all of your readers to see the plant and we can show them exactly what we do and what our processes are,” Klarius’ Business Development Manager Paul Hannah said to us after we had concluded our tour of the Cheadle production site.

Klarius is on a PR drive, and there is a reason why. The Directors are facing a charge relating to selling catalysts and DPFs with incorrect type approval numbers. Whether or not this was done knowingly is up to a court to decide when the case comes to trial later in the year, but right now, new MD Mark Brickhill has the task of showing us exactly what the company produces today.

In fact, it has four distinct areas of business, namely KMT Machine Tools, Emissco solvent manufacturing, AutoLogistiks distribution and the design and production of Klarius branded products.

On our visit we were shown around by Brickhill, someone entirely new to the company and as we discovered, a man whose enthusiasm for improving processes and the corporate culture in British manufacturing was infectious.

Brickhill, who previously held senior roles at Goodyear and Turtle Wax, was keen to emphasize that his role was to put in place processes that mean happy staff and satisfied customers. “Customer, team, execution have always made for a successful business. Once you compromise on these things, you are going to trip over,” he said, adding that one of the first things to do on joining the company was to put together a plan for the next three to five years, during which he plans to take the company to a £50m turnover with a 10 percent EBIT margin, a target he describes as ‘not an outrageous number, but is broadly double the turnover and double the profitability that we had in 2017’.

To achieve this, Brickhill reviewed every process across the business and used feedback from customers and staff on the areas to improve. As a small example, boards found around factories that use the Kaizen method have for years had illustrations of good vs bad practice, but Brickhill has redesigned the boards on the production floor so they show things that merit a ‘yellow card’ or a ‘red card’ metaphor. It goes further than rugby metaphors around the plant though. “You are never going to delight your customer if you don’t have a fantastic team of people focussed on that as a key objective,” he yelled, over the noise of exhaust pipe production. “I think the most important thing a leader can do istosetoutaclearsetof directions that everyone can understand. There are two parts to it. One is the business plan and the other is the culture of the company,” he furthered.

UNCONVENTIONAL

Throughout his career, Brickhill has been keen to look at problems in an unconventional light. For example, when he was appointed European MD at Goodyear one of the issues he was faced with was the issue of lacklustre sales of heavy truck tyres. Rather than simply telling his reps to go out and try harder, he developed a new marketing campaign entirely. “We called it ‘free tyres’ because the better rolling resistance of our product meant that over the life of the tyre, it would more than pay for itself,” he said. The strategy worked and profitability increased.

Walking through the site, the KMT production area was busy making some sort of enormous jig, similar in appearance to one of those car rollers used for DIY car restoration, but painted bright yellow and about 60 feet in length, apparently used in the production of railway carriages. This is the heaviest of heavy engineering and the production ‘line’ such as it is can be configured to make any number of heavy tools. Other than heavy rail, clients include manufacturers of earthmoving equipment and ship builders.

Moving through the plant, the R&D department is housed in another building, and an area that the management are particularly keen to show us. On our visit, a Skoda Octavia was on the ramp having a new OE exhaust system tested, presumably to benchmark its performance against the aftermarket unit in development. Brickhill was keen to stress that the VCA inspector was in ‘almost every week’ and that all new to range exhaust systems are type approved as is required in most of continental Europe. The CAD team were busy drawing up the new reference so it can be uploaded to the electronic catalogues.

The company also has use of a piece of private road that winds around an adjacent area of farmland. While it might be an overstatement to call it a ‘test track’ it is nonetheless a useful way of trying new products for fit and rattles etc.

STANDARDS

After the briefest sight of the sun, it was into the main factory where exhaust systems are produced. A substantial investment has been made over the past eighteen months in hardware for rolling and bending steel tube, and the changes needed around the factory to accommodate new machinery gave Brickhill the opportunity to implement various changes to the factory and to the production method after scrutinizing every aspect of a time and motion study. “If you don’t aspire to an exceptionally high standard, you might have something that is functional, but is it excellent and great? That’s the challenge” he said. The factory, in common with other comparable businesses, is now able to make product in extremely small batch sizes if necessary, meaning that on some occasions products can be picked for delivery

New MD Mark Brickhill

within hours of being fabricated.

From a logistics point of view, exhausts are the poster child of ‘ugly’. Spindly, pokey, easily crushable with lots of loose parts, the products are difficult to store and transport. To this end, the firm established its own delivery company, AutoLogistiks, a few years back to get the products where they need to be overnight, and in the condition they are supposed to be in. On our visit, transport managers were busy loading various vehicles with stock. We didn’t want to disturb them, so we moved to the final building of the complex, Emissco.

While we were aware that the company’s Emissco arm produced a number of chemical products, such as brake cleaner and maintenance spray, we didn’t realise that they are developed and canned on site. “It’s massively exciting,” said Brickhall as we looked around the canning plant. Setting up an

installation such as this requires the line to run for as many hours of the day as possible to get ROI, so it wasn’t surprising to see other brands’ products being produced under contract. However there is, as Brickhill enthusiastically told us, ‘plenty of scope for expansion’, so talks with more clients are ongoing.

While simply mentioning the name of this company makes some in the industry bristle, there is no doubt that thanks to the work of Mark Brickhill and the team, the company as we see it in front of us today is committed to producing decent, British engineered products. But there is no reason why you should take the word of a magazine writer with little technical knowledge. We’d suggest the cynical take up Paul Hannah’s offer of a plant tour and then you can make up your own mind.

 

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ROW ERUPTS OVER CATALYST TYPE APPROVAL

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ROW ERUPTS OVER CATALYST TYPE APPROVAL


Four catalytic converter suppliers have issued a statement regarding the legality of fitting certain products supplied by UK manufacturer Klarius.

The statement, from BM Cats, EEC, TP Cats and Euroflo, follows from Klarius’ admission on  23 December that it had inadvertently incorporated ‘incorporated the wrong monolith into manufactured parts‘.

The statement from the four reads: “It is our belief that these parts are in effect not Type Approved Catalytic Converters and therefore cannot be sold as a Type Approved product under the The Motor Vehicles (Replacement of Catalytic Converters and Pollution Control Devices) Regulations 2009.  Anyone doing so may be subject to a fine of up to £5,000 per parts seeks their own legal advice before doing so”. The companies had previously issued a more detailed statement about what constitutes Type Approval.

Klarius says that “Immediately on discovering (the wrong monoliths) we have entered into discussions with the relevant authorities to seek a solution”. The firm’s statement adds that it has been’a long standing campaigner for stringent application of Type Approval’. An update on the situation will be issued on 9 January.

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Announcement from Klarius: Catalytic converter supply

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Announcement from Klarius: Catalytic converter supply


Klarius-logo-blackAs a result of discovering some administrative anomalies we have immediately suspended all production and deliveries of Type Approved converters while we implement the appropriate corrective actions.

Having closely reviewed our production and disassembled some of our stock we are disappointed to report we have discovered anomalies where we have incorporated the wrong monolith into manufactured parts.

Please note the monoliths incorrectly incorporated are fully functioning and correctly loaded with the appropriate metals. The error has been an internal issue.

Immediately on discovering this we have entered into discussions with the relevant authorities to seek a solution.

We apologise unreservedly to our customers and the independent aftermarket as a whole for this error.

We will communicate individually with you as over the next 48 hours as more information and solutions become available, and we thank you for your support and understanding through this short period.

Klarius is recognised in the market as a premium product which has the lowest quality returns rate in the market. We have not benefited financially or commercially from this error and the distributors and end users have not knowingly been supplied the wrong component. As a long standing campaigner for more stringent application of Type Approval we are keen to implement corrective actions as soon as possible.

Please note that our exhaust, DPF, CAT front pipe, and our non-approved Catalytic Converter supply remains absolutely unaffected.

It is hoped we can implement all corrective actions over the Seasons holiday period. We will of course keep you fully updated.

Immediately on discovering this we have entered into discussions with the relevant authorities to seek a solution.

Details of the type approval requirements and the consequences for non-conformity can be found by CLICKING HERE .

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Clarification on catalytic converter homologation

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Clarification on catalytic converter homologation


36317carFollowing recent developments surrounding the homologation of catalytic converters produced by a UK-based manufacturer, four emissions-based manufacturers have issued the following joint press release to clarify a number of key points.

Homologation independently as a direct fit manufacturer

Manufacturers of direct fit catalytic converters are able to obtain approvals for their own parts using their own R&D and choice of approval houses at significant costs. This process means that the manufacturer has complete ownership of the certificates. The homologation number allocated is unique to that manufacturer and can only be used by that producer. It is not possible to transfer those numbers to other part numbers/manufacturers without an application to the issuing body. The manufacturer is the owner of the certificate.

Homologation through extensions

Manufacturers who own their own approvals (as per point 1) are able to extend these certificates for additional brands for a small fee. The extension is made by the owner of the certificate applying to the issuing body for the additional brand to be added to the approval. Once accepted by the issuing body, a new homologation number and certificate is created and the certificate owner is able to manufacture and supply the applicable references noted on the documentation. The brand name does not have any control or ownership of the certificates.

Production Requirements

In both types of homologation, the requirement is on the owner of the certificate to use the correct raw materials and production methods to ensure performance is in accordance with the original tests conducted to achieve the certification.

If under an extension a manufacturer has only supplied a universal cat, allowing a brand to finish production, then the brand can only use these parts for the approval number to be valid. The brand cannot produce parts bearing the approval number using universal cats not supplied by the certificate owner.  If a brand does manufacture without the correct universal cat then the parts would, in effect, have no approval.

If a certificate is withdrawn, no further products can be produced and parts in the market may be subject to a restriction of sale depending on the reason for withdrawal.

Consequences for Non Conformity in the UK

The supply of non-approved catalysts (for vehicles first registered on or after 1/3/01), or catalysts without a valid homologation number, is currently up to £5,000 per offence.

Links to Legislations

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009/1899/pdfs/uksi_20091899_en.pdf
http://www.unece.org/trans/main/wp29/wp29regs101-120.html

We, the undersigned, all agree with the above statement and operate within the above framework

BM Catalysts, EuroFlo, European Exhausts & Catalysts and TP Cats

Posted in Greg Whitaker's diary, NewsComments (0)

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