HB Commercial, the vehicle service, parts, rentals and sales group have opened a new remanufactured caliper and brake-shoe profiling facility at their parts supply centre in Bury St Edmunds.
With their head office based in Ipswich, plus fully equipped workshop and support hubs in Harwich, Felixstowe and a further parts depot in Witham, the company services commercial vehicle traffic flowing through each ferry port and now, says the company, the new service aims to cut costs and improve reliability for operators across most transport sectors.
“As friction specialists, we have been re-lining brake shoes since the 1980s” says Operations Director Oliver Brunt, “so the addition of the new facility is a natural fit. Our customers are now benefiting from the low cost, wide choice and fast supply – which the new service brings.”
To ensure maximum reliability, HB Commercial use pre-made calliper housings which are first shot-blasted and then cleaned before checking for possible defects. The carrier, bushes, pins, sensors and general mechanism undergo a stringent quality inspection, prior to further scrutiny. “The process” says Oliver, “allows the core product to be adapted to suit the different vehicle specifications as required.”
“Being able to produce 90% of the market requirement on a same-day basis” continues Oliver, “enables us to quickly respond to a wide range of parts requirements at an affordable rate. Furthermore, operators can reduce running costs, minimise down-time and, by re-using the components, make a positive contribution to the environment.”
In this regard, Oliver points out that not only does remanufacturing remove the need for new calipers to be imported but also, existing units are effectively given a second life. Normal practice is for the ‘old core’ to be transported back to supplier hubs – most of which are abroad – which, coupled with remanufacturing and transporting back again, amounts to a great deal of unnecessary energy consumption. HB Commercial however, keep the whole process local, which apart from accelerating the supply process, avoids unnecessary transport and saves on emissions.
These claims are supported by Taylor Commercials Ltd who, based near Stowmarket in Suffolk, have been operating for over 30 years, offering full workshop facilities including breakdown recovery and maintenance, tacho calibrations and brake roller testing. According to Director Richard Taylor, HB Commercial’s remanufactured callipers are already their default choice.
“Vehicle operators of all sizes and descriptions have relied on our services for many decades” says Richard, “and as such, we take great care when sourcing replacement parts – especially where braking components are involved. Accordingly, we prefer HB Commercial’s remanufactured calipers because they only use good quality parts, are quickly available in a wide range and are sensibly priced – all of which enables us to provide a fast and efficient service, while our customers benefit from lower running costs and product reliability.”
Cost savings and reduced downtime also figure largely in HB Commercial’s new brake-profiling service, also based in the Bury parts centre.
In HB Commercial’s Ferodo Gold-accredited workshop, the old unit shoes are stripped and shot-blasted, using Ferodo-approved equipment, then painted and re-lined with OE friction material. Any distortions or warping in the outer casing – caused by the kinetic effect of braking – are rectified using a specialist profiling machine, which creates a new radius and minimises any tolerances between the shoe diameter and the drum.
Oliver Brunt explains further: “The profiling process creates a perfectly concentric circle which in turn, achieves 100% even contact between the two surfaces. This not only improves braking efficiency but also means the mechanism does not require the traditional ‘bedding in’ which non-profiled systems require prior to MOT testing and safe operation.”
Richard Taylor from Taylor Commercials is clear regarding the operator and workshop benefits:
“Unprofiled shoes and drums need a couple of weeks bedding-in time ahead of the MOT, which of course presents organisational difficulties in advance of each test. Profiled brake shoes, however, are machined to exactly fit and so can be tested immediately. This saves time in the workshop and reduces vehicle down-time, while improving braking efficiency and extending the life of the system.”
The newly upgraded facility in Bury St Edmunds also supplies a complete range of all associated parts for most vehicle types, including HGV, PSV, plant, vans and trailers – on a same or next day basis.
From its five locations, in addition to truck and trailer rental, sales and parts supply, HB Commercial provides a comprehensive range of commercial transport and PSV vehicle support services including 24 hour breakdown assistance, minor accident repairs, DVSA-approved tachograph centre for calibration and repairs, DVSA ATF testing stations, refrigeration services, MOT preparation, roller brake testing, quay fuel services, tail-lift servicing and repairs and vehicle washing. The company is IRTEC and ITRE-Workshop accredited.