SPARE PARTS, SOMETHING HAS CHANGED
Autopromotec News report: Spare parts
At Autopromotec optimism prevailed among the stands. The end user has changed prompting the appearance of new money-saving technologies, while remanufactured spare parts received greater space
Optimism, awareness and determination were the moods that could be felt throughout the stands of Autopromotec dedicated to manufacturers and spare parts dealers. In short, the word "crisis" goes out of the window. Not because of the still uncertain and shaky economic recovery, but rather due to a different consumer policy that is unlikely to return to the pre-2008 levels. The spare parts sector, for example, shows two seemingly opposing trends: on the one hand, the presence of hyper-technological products, which follow the evolution of the automotive market, especially high-end product ranges. On the other hand, a propensity to saving, responsible for the appearance of a growing number of companies dealing in remanufactured spare parts, not to mention “greener” and money-saving technologies.
New pillar vented brake discs with an original ventilation chamber are part of the first trend, where the pillars ( between 30 to 40 depending on the size of the disc and arranged on 3 bands) have a more elongated shape compared to previous models. Resistance to thermal cracking is thus increased by 30%, guaranteeing a longer disc life. Similarly, a greater air turbulence in the ventilation chamber reduces operating temperatures by 30%, contributing in a longer service life of the brake pads. Another advantage is the 10% mass reduction of the disk, favoring the reduction of both fuel consumption and emissions. While the reduced un-sprung weights favor performances, comfort and handling. Part of the "new technologies" chapter, deals with batteries as well as products dedicated to vehicles with Start&Stop systems, not to mention lithium batteries for motorcycles, three times lighter than lead batteries and capable of ensuring reliable and consistent performances even at low temperatures. Speaking of brakes, copper-less brake pads represented another outstanding technical innovation seen during the Bologna trade fair. This material, in fact, used for heat dispersion and to avoid squeaking and vibrations, is environmentally hazardous and has already been banned by some States in the Usa.
As automotive technology advances, during the Bologna event, parts such as air suspensions, cruise control, also as a retrofit device for vehicles lacking this type of technology, were strongly featured. Not to mention new generation parts like the Audi A8 All Led headlights technology with AFL (adaptive forward lighting), where the light beam adapts automatically to the road ahead. Noteworthy too, is the Mercedes AMG C63 air filter, with engines capable of releasing 510hp. The filter compartment is fully integrated in the engine, while the actual filter consists of cellulose fibers, able to retain even the smallest and potentially damaging particle, amazing for such a powerful engine.
And what about apps dedicated to repair specialists! Could they be missing at Autopromotec? Certainly not. Nowadays operations such as the mounting of dampers are made easier by a number of electronic instruments able to visualize instructions as well as technical datasheets, providing genuine online assistance.
As far as headlights are concerned, an interesting innovation is represented by xenon headlamps, capable of supplying up to 200% more light compared to halogen headlamps, with a considerable saving in energy. Noteworthy too, is the LARP headlamp that uses a laser beam to turn phosphorus into a superior light source, occupying little space, which will also affect future designing. In short, the Bologna trade show saw the beginning of the post-LED era.
Yet another technical development, featured during the Autopromotec event, was the overrunning alternator pulley which, thanks to its overrunning clutch, dampens any vibration caused by cyclic irregularities in the crankshaft, increasing driving comfort as well as reducing friction damages to the timing belt; and finally, allowing the alternator to “free wheel” or “overrun” every time the engine decelerates, guaranteeing a greater fuel efficiency.
Let us not forget, though, about the second trend mentioned, money saving. Here remanufactured spare parts took center stage, especially in relation to the steering unit: power steering (with a saving of up to a third compared to new parts) as well as axle shafts, couplings and steering boxes. Numerous Italian companies, very active in the remanufactured spare parts sector, were obviously present, many of which are currently even collaborating with automobile manufacturers supplying their official networks with remanufactured parts. A booming business sector according to all operators. Not so for engines though, where after initial hopes, the old engine reconditioning trend does not seem to have much of a future, with the exception of special or custom made vehicles.