Inside the Diesel Technic Quality System - PARTNER CONTENT

Good quality can be found in the supply chain all over the world, but it needs to be checked, and checked again to ensure standards are maintained. So says commercial vehicle aftermarket parts supplier Diesel Technic

From the small town of Kirchdorf, in Germany, Diesel Technic supplies 150 countries worldwide with 40,000 different items held in stock. “One of our main competitive advantages is that we don’t focus on the engine, body or brakes, but a complete range, from bumper to bumper, and all brands – from Mercedes-Benz to DAF,” states Michael Pelzer, deputy head of engineering and development.

The DIN EN ISO 9001:2015-certified company enshrines that belief in its quality control laboratories at its headquarters. The site also holds stock in two high-bay warehouses, including an automated small parts warehouse alongside a large parts warehouse, from where stock is sent to reach European customers in a day or two. These products are the end result of testing carried out on site.

Inside its laboratories, staff try to extract all of a part’s data, using reverse engineering principles. Testing occurs constantly, with some 50 parts in test at any particular time. Two weeks might pass in testing a part from start to finish. A total of 20 people work in the lab.

The first type of tests cover functional operation. Some 20 test beds measure parts’ performance. One rig, for example, tests starter motors using a flywheel simulation that is connected to a brake to gauge operation, power consumption and torque. Water pumps are mounted and run on another rig to record pressure, speed and flow. A climate chamber tests thermostats and rubber materials.

Earlier this year, the Tuev-certified facility began doing its own materials hardness testing by installing special preparation equipment to take samples. Hardness tests are particularly important in the shafts, bearings and sealing faces of rotating components such as water pumps. Other testing protocols examine surface roughness. Taken together, the results of these tests (and others) can often indicate to the expert staff what alloys are used in the component.

Elsewhere, having used hand and workshop tools to disassemble the parts to their basic components, coordinate measuring machines and handheld equipment take measurements in a recently built climate-controlled facility.

Having compiled such a detailed understanding of a part, staff compile all of this information into technical drawings with specifications for global suppliers to produce the parts. Diesel Technic only buys from suppliers that have been audited (yearly) through personal visits by a team from headquarters. A small range of suppliers are chosen per product category, for diversity of supply.

Their products are, ironically, tested on exactly the same rigs, including the initial sample received in the warehouse, and then samples at certain percentages of shipments. “The key to achieving as high a level as original suppliers is not only to develop production processes, but also quality management processes,” concludes Pelzer.

The benefit is high-quality parts for its customers, for example as proven in the two-year standard warranty offered on the DT Spare Parts range.

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