Putting Filtration to the Test

Putting Filtration to the Test

CVW finds out how Parker Racor ensures its aftermarket filtration products live up to the same standards as the company’s OE range equivalents.

There are many beliefs that aftermarket filtration products are simply not of the same standard or quality as OE products. Of course, in truth, this very much depends on whose filters are being purchased. At Parker Racor, the company’s products are first-fit choices for the OE sector, with the exact same ethos of quality applied to its aftermarket portfolio.

One of the reasons for this consistency is Racor’s R&D and testing capabilities. The company’s intensive testing regime ensures that the qualities of its OE filtration products translate to the aftermarket, delivering reliable and smooth running, whatever the engine technicians are working on.

Celebrating consistency

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of Racor, which today has a global presence as a Tier 1 supplier. The company can provide products to suit any market or engine application, from fuel, oil and air filters, through to automatic transmission filters and crankcase ventilation filter systems, to list but a few. Racor currently has over 100 active patents, outlining its position at the vanguard of engine filtration technologies.

All products manufactured by Parker Racor delivered to the independent aftermarket are made with the same materials, design specification and engineering excellence as the original equipment – as CVW found out on a recent visit. At its European manufacturing facility in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, the company’s high-specification laboratory and testing centre can be found. In order to meet the requirements of OEMs, continual investment in R&D is needed to ensure customers are provided with optimised solutions.

There is a high level of investment at Dewsbury, with advanced test rig equipment in place to assess key filtration performance criteria such as water separation, particle removal efficiency and vibration tolerance. Each test rig is designed and produced to simulate actual applications in the CV environment.

The facility also houses an advanced engine test cell – capable of testing 500kW diesel engines – which is located in a dedicated area of the laboratory where exhaustive test cycles take place. Parker Racor’s engine test cell is able to simulate real working conditions, taking into account vehicle loads, performance requirements and environmental factors. Covering all engineering disciplines, the test centre helps Racor develop innovative and patented filtration systems for current and future engine generations. An idea or concept can take up to two years before it is ready for sale on the commercial market. With this thought in mind, a programme for a new system may require 20 to 30 types of tests.

Whether the filter is for the OE or aftermarket, the extensive range of tests is the same. Racor can simulate temperatures as cold as -40°C, assess stop/start pressure pulsation, analyse the concentrations of biodiesel in fuels, and understand how different water disruption curves effect water separation by measuring droplet sizes as small as 1μm.

Ultimately, the company believes its investment in testing enables its products to be robust, reliable and guarantee that the highest quality of filtration is maintained throughout the life of the product.

Why a Racor is a Racor

Derek Martin, Market Development Manager – Aftermarket, says: “For the aftermarket, our testing facility is the one ‘visible’ claim we have to justify why a Racor is a Racor! When you walk in and see all the equipment necessary for various testing to assess service intervals and longevity within engines, you cannot help but be impressed.”

The difficulty with the service interval is its dependence upon the actual working environment, which is why a Racor filter is designed to cover as broad a scope as possible, demonstrating the company understands the needs of its market. After all, if the filtration does not perform and results in a breakdown, the costs could consume the whole profitability of that truck for an entire year – a problem no fleet wants to encounter.

Key customers specify the company’s proven technology as first-fit filtration products on their vehicles. Parker Racor therefore argues that it does not make commercial sense for a workshop to select an inferior product, as it would fail to protect investment in the truck.

Crucially, Racor always works very closely with research centres and universities to ensure its products continue to evolve in line with key market trends and developments.

Ultimately, the purchase decision for aftermarket filters should not be based on price or how they look, it should be based on facts. And one of the stand-out facts with Parker Racor is the amount of comprehensive testing that goes into every product to ensure it achieves the necessary standards and levels of performance demanded by the aftermarket of today, and tomorrow.


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