Technologies Transforming Automotive Service Were on Display at AAPEX
Automotive technology is moving at warp speed these days. Exhibitors at the 2015 Automotive Aftermarket Product Expo (AAPEX) did more than spotlight tools and products to help shops keep up with today’s technologies. They also gave visitors to their booths a heads-up on the innovations coming down the pipeline.
For example, Robert Bosch LLC’s Automotive Aftermarket North America division highlighted gasoline direct injection (GDI) and diesel common rail technologies in its AAPEX booth. Jarod Adams, group product manager for gasoline systems, says original equipment manufacturers are developing engines with both a port fuel injector per cylinder and a GDI injector per cylinder.
“Today it’s either a port system or a GDI system. By 2018 they’ll start going to dual port and gasoline, which is great for the aftermarket: more parts and more components to repair.” Although GDI is more of an intensive repair than a port system, Adams says the market doesn’t have to be afraid of it.
“We’re setting up a website that will show how to do GDI repairs. It will show step-by-step repair procedures as well as the parts we offer. Today about 42% of passenger cars and light trucks are equipped with GDI, by 2020 it will be 72%,” says Adams.
More diesel engines are on the way, too. “Common rail technology got us to a level to where diesel engines can start meeting emissions requirements in all 50 states,” says Ross Sandercock, director of diesel products. “We’re going to see more diesel sales. The federal mandate is 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. You need diesels to help get to that level.”
Common rail engines are less forgiving of poor repair quality than conventional engines, according to Sandercock. “Although there are many options for selecting rebuilt/remanufactured injectors that can save you money, there are also as many risks associated with choosing an injector from a non-authorized remanufacturer. Consumers and technicians need to know the risks and understand the choices they have in order to make an informed decision regarding diesel vehicle service and performance.” Bosch is helping to educate the market on diesel common rail technologies at a website called choosetherightinjector.com.
A section of the Continental Commercial Vehicles and Aftermarket booth was devoted to a pilot project involving a remote diagnostics system that also collects manufacturer-specific vehicle data. Tire dealers, service retailers, automobile clubs, fleets and service providers for networked driving can use the data develop services customized for their customers. The services are integrated into a shop’s Web portal or an app.
The company says the platform provides access to standardized diagnostics information and also to vehicle data specific to the manufacturer and model. Continental makes various options available for data transfer and configures the hardware for the vehicle concerned. The company says this means that shops have, for example, the option of reminding their customers specifically about necessary inspections, or of informing them about fault messages. “The value is not in the component; the component facilitates the service and the service is where the value is,” says Paul Schriro, program supervisor. “What we’re looking to do is enable companies to provide services for their customers.”
Bosch and Continental were among the 2,239 exhibitors in the Sands Expo Center Nov. 3-5. Here’s a look at some of the products and technologies on display, as well as what companies are doing to help techs stay on top of the latest trends.
Schaeffler’s new website has 3 advantages
Schaeffler Group’s North American Aftermarket business unit unveiled a website that delivers diagnostic, product, and repair information direct to distributors, counter personnel and installers.
The company says three advantages set the new Repxpert 2.0 website apart from similar offerings:
- Repxpert 2.0 features an online product catalog powered by OptiCat in real-time and updated daily;
- Repxpert 2.0 provides all content in one location; and
- Repxpert trainers offer customized training courses and sessions.
Repxpert is currently available for tablets. An app for Android and Apple phones is being developed.
To see the new sites, visit www.repxpert.us in the U.S. and www.repxpert.ca in Canada. A website with market-specific content for the vehicle population in Mexico is planned for late 2016.
“Schaeffler strongly believes a direct connection between suppliers and professional installers is the most important means of providing on-the-job support,” says Urs Stuckenbruck, director, product management and marketing, Automotive Aftermarket – North America.
Schaeffler manufactures and distributes products under the brands LuK, INA, FAG and Ruville including drivetrain, engine, and chassis system products.
Epicor Wants to Help You Sell Service
Epicor Software Corp. highlighted its integrated service estimator at AAPEX, and it’s a service Epicor says should be a handy tool for any tire dealership wanting to expand the auto services it provides to consumers.
After a technician or service writer enters the consumer and automobile information, he can enter in the name of a part that needs replacement. The system not only pulls the parts and labor information associated with that job, but it also provides a list of related jobs to consider. The parts pull up searches from the shop’s preferred parts vendors and provides real-time pricing and inventory information. It also incorporates information and images from the related parts catalogue, says Courtney Sobocinski, senior manager of product management.
A shop sets up its own labor charges in the system, so the correct rates are used to compute an accurate cost estimate for consumers.
“And it creates a professional-looking estimate to show the consumer,” Sobocinski says. The estimate prints with the shop’s logo and information in the upper left corner.
In addition, the system provides a color-coded inspection sheet, as well as service interval recommendations that are catered to the VIN. The result, Sobocinski says, is a tire dealer who spots a needed repair while servicing a vehicle’s tires has the ability to capture a service sale immediately. “That consumer is not walking out the door.”
Mahle expands A/C service equipment line
Mahle Service Solutions, a division of Mahle Aftermarket Inc., added two air conditioning (A/C) units that integrate with its TechPro diagnostic scan tool to its ArcticPro line along with three value-priced units.
The ArcticPro ACX1185 and ACX1285 integrate with the TechPro tool. The ACX1185 services vehicles that use R134a refrigerant, and the ACX1285 services vehicles that use R1234YF refrigerant.
“Offering these units with TechPro integration allows technicians to diagnose A/C issues without having to hook up a separate scan tool and A/C machine, plus it automatically retrieves the VIN,” says Jon Douglas, general manager of Mahle Aftermarket Inc. TechPro is Mahle’s diagnostic scan tool that decodes a vehicle identification number (VIN) in one second with one click. The tool can be used with a technician’s current desktop computer, laptop or tablet.
In addition, Mahle has added three value-priced units to its ArcticPRO lineup: the ACX1120H, ACX1150 and ACX1150H. All three units service vehicles that use the R134a refrigerant and include new Eco Lock couplers which minimize any refrigerant leak in the atmosphere. Each also has a high-performance vacuum pump that saves four minutes off the service time compared to a typical double-stage pump.
New Purolator brand and products
Mann+Hummel USA Inc. announced a new branding program for its Purolator line of oil, air and cabin air filters. The company says the program will help customers boost sales with innovative new products; an exclusive, industry-first packaging design; bold, modern branding; and a renewed promise of “Nothing Gets By Us” for its Purolator brand.
As part of the brand relaunch, the company introduced PurolatorBoss, an oil filter that supports maximum engine protection for conventional, synthetic, and semi-synthetic blend motor oils across a wide range of viscosities.
The new filter will be available through commercial and retail distribution channels in the U.S. and Canada in the first quarter of 2016. The company says it is an ideal match for synthetic oils, where it can provide up to 15,000 miles of engine protection.
New exhaust components for diesel engines
AP Emissions Technologies LLC will launch two aftermarket exhaust components for diesel engines in 2016. A diesel particulate filter for medium-duty and heavy-duty applications will be released in the first quarter of 2016 followed by a diesel oxidation catalyst in the second quarter.
The company also introduced a loyalty program and mobile-enabled product training program for customers.
The training program will be a tool customers can use to pull sales through, according to Chris Ostrander, CEO and president. He says the company’s acquisition of Eastern Catalytic of Langhorne, Pa., in October was a first step in a long-term strategy to place more focus on the performance market.
EnerSys has new battery portable chargers
EnerSys Energy Products Inc. introduced a line of Odyssey battery portable chargers. With automatic six-stage charging and a wide range of built-in safety features, these new battery portable chargers facilitate full and proper charging, which may help to enhance the performance and extend the life of 12-volt flooded and absorbed glass mat (AGM) lead acid batteries. Charger safety features include spark-free connections, built-in over-voltage, overload, over-temperature, reverse polarity and ignition protection.
Denso is expanding thermal market coverage with 500 new part numbers
Denso Products and Services Americas Inc. is adding more than 500 part numbers to its thermal product lines in 2016.
“We are adding more than 500 new part numbers to our inventory of engine cooling and air conditioning components,” says Fran Labun, vice president of Denso’s sales group.
The new products will be available by March of 2016. Here’s a breakdown of the rollout:
- Compressors: One-hundred part numbers will be added to the First Time Fit A/C compressors, beginning this month.
- Radiators: In March 2016, 400 radiator parts will be available, which the company says will increase Denso’s market coverage from 30% to 70%.
A medical-grade borescope for your shop
Tight spaces are no longer an inspection problem with the ATS borescope from Automotive Test Solutions Inc. With medical-grade quality images, and the ability to shoot high-resolution videos and photos while also turning the probe tip, the borescope captures images you can easily view on a computer or tablet. The 6 mm probe offers both a 120-degree sweep or a full 360-degree rotation, and turning the tip is a one-handed job. The 3-foot-long length allows for inspection of air conditioning ducts, evaporator core assemblies, and more.
Tenneco expanding Monroe-brand Quick-Strut assemblies for centennial year
Tenneco Inc. is adding 100 part numbers to its Monroe-brand Quick-Strut assemblies in 2016, an expansion that will cover more than 132 million vehicles on the road in North America. Assembled in Arkansas and made of U.S. steel, the assemblies have been big sellers for the company, logging annual double-digit gains since the first models were introduced in 2003. In addition to adding market coverage, Mark Boyle, director of aftermarket marketing for Tenneco, says the Monroe brand will celebrate 100 years in 2016. There will be events for customers and employees, and celebrations at the company’s plants. Year-round promotion has already begun with the addition of a second shockmobile, a shock-shaped trailer that tours the country. Both shockmobiles will make stops at shops throughout the centennial year, Boyle says.
Wix adds Microban protection to cabin air filters
Wix filters by Affinia Group Inc. is partnering with Microban International, an antimicrobial solution company, and beginning in the first quarter of 2016 Wix cabin air filters will feature lifetime Microban protection from odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew. The innovation works to inhibit the growth of microbes by utilizing a charge disruption mode of action. It quickly reduces microbial loads and as a result works to keep the air inside vehicles cleaner and fresher.
The Microban protection will cover all Wix light-duty cabin air filters for automotive and light truck applications.
“Microban has exceptional brand awareness across many different industries, so we are very excited to partner with them in the automotive market,” says Jennifer Gibson, brand manager for Wix.
ACDelco simplifies brake branding
ACDelco announced a simplified naming strategy for its Professional brake line, a move aimed at showcasing the depth and breadth of the line’s all makes/all models offerings and helping installers and consumers better understand the choices within the company’s good, better and best tiers.
ACDelco also introduced products, line expansions and programs at AAPEX.
Highlights include GM OE Duralife rotors brought exclusively to the independent aftermarket by ACDelco along with enhancements to the Professional Service Center shop image program and technician training program. ■