With more than 25% of commercial vehicle downtime caused by engine problems related to belts, hoses and starter motors, Gates talks to CVW about solutions to resolve issues for fleets and workshops.
Truck racing deal
Gates, manufacturer of belts and tensioners, has just become one of the latest workshop brands to sign up as a 2017 Truck Racing sponsor. The season- long sponsorship agreement with the Rooster Truck Racing Team is being supported by a media campaign that will highlight the brand’s Original Equipment (OE) connections and draw attention to a wide and developing range of parts solutions for commercial vehicle workshops.
“Gates is best known as a belt systems manufacturer in the passenger car market, but we are OE on accessory belt drive systems with the top seven truck and bus manufacturers in the world,” says Regional Marketing Manager Catriona True. “The Rooster Truck Racing Team is a fantastic platform to promote that and to showcase our products. It’s a completely new angle for us.”
Vehicle manufacturers see developments in accessory belt technology as a route to improving vehicle comfort and safety levels. This is because modern accessory drives provide the power for increasing numbers of on-board systems. The improvements are also seen as a way of achieving the increasingly lower engine emissions targets set by national and international Government agencies. This is primarily due to the latest designs by OE suppliers being more reliable and delivering greater opportunities to reduce overall vehicle weight.
All of this contributes to overall savings in engine emissions.
These factors are among the reasons why Gates has recently enjoyed significant OE success with DAF systems on the truck manufacturer’s MX-11 and MX-13 Euro 6 engines. Moreover, that success appears to confirm forecasts made last year that further OE success would be the platform for an extension of the Gates aftermarket range.
For 2017, nine Gates Extra Service Micro-V kits have been added.
These kits cover replacement parts for the DAF Euro 6 models concerned. The parts extension brings the total number of kits available to 93, although it should also be noted that belts, tensioners and idlers are also supplied as separate items.
By exploiting its OE pedigree, Gates hopes to influence fleet engineers and workshop managers into viewing its kits, belts and tensioners as OE products available at aftermarket prices. The truck racing deal provides a new and high profile opportunity to emphasise Gates OE connections.
The economic crisis of 2008 was the signal for a significant drop in OE maintenance agreements. This trend, plus the rise in the number of multi-brand service concepts in the heavy-duty automotive sector since, shows that operators are becoming more and more receptive to different approaches that might reduce maintenance costs.
Drive system kits, belts and tensioners are often seen as ideal solutions for Vehicle Off Road (VOR) and breakdown situations, but Gates is far more interested in promoting the added value to be gained from employing its technology in a preventive maintenance scenario.
Gates can point to evidence from its passenger car servicing business and show that preventive maintenance strategies work best when belts and tensioners installed together as an OE fit, are all replaced at the same time as part of a kit. The brand is making a strong case that by fitting kits that include belts, idlers and tensioners as part of a preventive maintenance programme, that the 25% engine downtime figure may be reduced.
The company’s Extra Service Micro-V kits are available at larger CV parts distributors. Gates says this is making it easier for vehicle maintenance units that service large national fleets, as well as the local independent workshops, to source all the parts for the job at the same time from a single box.
Hoses and thermostats
A new hose ‘icon’ has been added to the online catalogue GatesAutoCat.com. This means that when used in conjunction with the OE cross-referencing tool, the identification and selection of the appropriate replacement hoses is now much easier. Filters narrow down searches by hose length, by temperature or pressure range and whether they are straight or pre-formed.
Gates is also likely to use the Rooster Truck Racing Team angle to promote the merits of its latest product range for the heavy-duty replacement market – OE-design thermostats. After all, good drivers must remain cool under pressure.