Shaftec says that if garages never want to turn away business, they should encourage their suppliers to stock remanufactured calipers, or at least choose a supplier that can meet the needs of an ever-growing market. PMM speaks to Chris Journet and Tom Curtis to get the lowdown.
“Price-wise, with goods arriving from factories across the globe, the caliper market is extremely competitive. Range-wise, currently the best way to guarantee that your factor can always supply the part you want, when you want it, is to either go down the remanufactured route, or choose a supplier that can meet all your needs.” explains Chris Journet, Shaftec’s UK Sales Manager.
“We need to dispel the myth that a remanufactured part is somehow inferior. It’s not. The only thing on a brake caliper that is remanufactured is a lump of metal,” says Tom Curtis, Shaftec’s Director. “Everything else is brand new. And the core is only remanufactured if it passes the stringent quality tests – namely that there are no cracks or weak points in the metal. Following the remanufacturing process, each part is thoroughly tested in exactly the same way as a new part would be. “Every way you look at it, we believe it really is the way forward. It’s cheaper, it uses less energy – therefore improving your environmental footprint – and it’s often the only way of ensuring that the part you need for the job in hand is readily available.”
“Our biggest competitors now are those who import cheaper product from the East – from factories with unproven track records,” Chris continues. “But aside from the major issue of vehicle safety, nobody really knows where these parts are produced, or what methods have been used. Suppliers buy in those parts which they believe are guaranteed to sell quickly, as they don’t want to be left with ten years of stock sitting redundant on the shelves taking up valuable space and not generating any income.”
While this model may work to a degree, the UK car parc is growing in complexity every year, and is continuing to age. The average age of a vehicle on UK roads is now 7.7 years, up from 6.7 in 2005. These figures show that people prefer to hold onto their cars for longer, rather than sell them to buy new cars. Furthermore, each year there are more vehicle manufacturers producing more and more different models. Many of these vehicles can’t use these fast moving parts sourced from abroad as they don’t fit. In a nutshell, using remanufactured parts is often the only way to keep an older vehicle on the road.
As a TecDoc certified data supplier, Shaftec offers a range in excess of 5000 remanufactured part numbers from its Midlands-based modern production facility. The business moved to these premises in January 2015, swapping a less than efficient collection of nine individual units for the 42,000 sq ft space. “All the sorting of the core, the remanufacture of the original casting, through to the reassembly using OE quality replacement parts and product testing – including pressure testing past normal working conditions – is done under one roof,” explains Tom. The business also operates a ‘Recon & Return’ facility. This means that for niche and unusual parts, the garage can supply the core, Shaftec can produce the part, usually within a day inside the UK. In addition, Shaftec also offers remanufactured calipers – including EPB calipers – in a range of generic colours. In order of popularity, the colours are: red, black, green.
“For both affordability and environmental reasons, there is plenty of room for market growth of remanufactured calipers,” says Tom. “New calipers, particularly EPB calipers, are becoming more expensive. Remanufactured product represents excellent value without compromising on quality. In addition, with more and more emphasis being placed on recycling to aid the environment, the future is looking bright.”