When we think of aftermarket parts, we assume these are cheap, knock-off, second hand parts designed in shoddy ship yards. Sometimes, this is the case. Other times, they are genuine car parts that are only available at a discount because of smart marketing.
Good aftermarket parts dealers form partnerships with original manufacturers and apply clever shipping strategies that deeply cut costs. These savings are then passed down to customers, allowing them to get high quality original parts at a fraction of official manufacturer prices.
There’s another side to aftermarket parts. This category covers specialist car parts that are used in many different brands. While a manufacturer may be responsible for the general look, feel, and function of the car, they find it more effective to outsource parts like filters, spark plugs and the like. These parts are universal, so they don’t need to be customised.
Similarly, there are auto companies that specialise in the manufacture of these aftermarket components. They dedicate themselves to perfecting a particular car part and establish a reputation that cuts across car brands. Such companies include Wabco and Hengst. Their efforts are routinely assessed at global trade shows and competitions.
The value of die-casting
Die casting is an important part of the vehicle manufacture industry. It’s not practical or cost effective to make multiple parts by hand, so a good die cast is developed and parts are manufactured from it. Die casting involves making a mould and pouring molten metal into it so that identical parts can be mass-produced.
The quality of these die cast products depends on the quality of the mould as well as the molten metal. It’s also important to supervise the process and inspect each die-cast part individually to ensure consistency between batches. In a bid to maintain industry standards, competitions are held to pit die-cast brands against each other.
This year, the International Aluminium Die Casting Competition was held in Nuremburg, Germany. For the past five years, Hengst has entered the competition and in all five years, they have achieved a podium finish. This year, for the 5th time running, they were awarded a ‘special recognition’ during the presentation ceremony at the Euroguss trade fair.
The die-cast part that won was the oil coolant module for DAF engines. It is used in DAF MX-11 engines which are installed in DAF series XF and series CF. Hengst oil coolant modules are also used in other truck brands like Peterbilt and Kennworth, as well as Solaris buses, agricultural equipment, and construction machinery.
Qualities of a good die-cast component
In order to function well, the almost net-shaped die-cast oil coolant module needs to be lightweight, have thin walls, and have high compression. It’s compressive strength and tightness must comply with stringent industry requirements, and each and every oil coolant module must be identically effective in terms of appearance, quality, and function. The winning Hengst oil coolant module is a verified lifetime component.
To maintain these superior standards, Hengst runs and in-house aluminium foundry located in Nordwalde (Münsterland), Germany. It’s considered one of the most modern aftermarket parts manufacturing facilities in the world.
Hengst invests millions in their foundry. In the next three years, they will pour in a further 35 million euros, with 15 million of that amount landing in 2018. The award is a suitable recognition of their efforts. The foundry has its own fikter production factory and warehouse.
The proprietor of the Hengst group, Jens Röttgering, says the award “confirms the strategy of combining development, engineering and production expertise under one roof.” He believes this strategy allows them to be innovative and timely, collaborating with vehicle manufacturers to develop and produce high quality parts in limited period of time.