Schaeffler Regional Sales Manager – CV, Neil Bailey, speaks exclusively to CVW about trends, technology and how the manufacturer and supplier is helping technicians keep up to speed.
Q. Neil, how would you summarise the commercial vehicle (CV) sector at present?
Neil Bailey (NB): The CV sector is changing at a rapid pace, with fleet operators having to consider electrification, autonomous driving, telematics, low emission zones and having to completely rethink how the supply chain and logistics will look in the future.
Not only are the fleet operators having to adapt to market trends, but so is the commercial vehicle motor factor; more and more small independent factors are joining trading groups, whilst medium-sized family- run businesses are being bought out by large international companies. As all this is happening, vehicle manufacturers are creating their own all-makes trade parts programmes.
Q.Technicians on the passenger side of the workshop are being forced to stay ahead of the curve, thanks to the evolution of the industry. This means they face the prospect of being left behind if they don’t keep up – is that the same for CV technicians?
NB: Absolutely, trucks are becoming as sophisticated as cars, with ‘travel adjusted clutches’ and on-board computers requiring software recalibration after each clutch installation. Workshops need to be up-to-date with new technology, investing in the right tools, equipment and training so that they can continue to work on the latest components and systems.
Q. What challenges do CV technicians face?
NB: The biggest obstacles to overcome are digital technology, sophisticated telematic systems and the increase of electrically- driven vehicles.
Q. How is Schaeffler assisting its CV customers with these?
NB: Schaeffler has the products and the expertise to answer these trends, be it a hybrid wheel hub or a digital wheel bearing. With more fleet operators looking at the total cost of ownership, Schaeffler is providing 21st century repair solutions for 21st century technicians.
Q.Can you provide a few examples of the parts Schaeffler manufactures and supplies to the CV sector, and why they are popular among technicians?
NB: We manufacture and supply all types of CV wheel bearings and hub units, as well as our popular Repair Insert Unit (RIU); a maintenance free truck hub repair solution that is pre-greased and pre- assembled at the factory. The FAG RIU range is very popular with CV technicians, as they are faster to fit, reduce fitting mistakes and, as mentioned previously, are completely maintenance-free.
Another FAG innovation is the recently launched SmartSET replacement solution for hubs equipped with tapered roller bearings (TRB). With its black Durotect®B anticorrosive coating and included fitting tools, this product is unique to the aftermarket as it offers a genuine easy-to-fit alternative to a TRB kit.