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Ryco spends big to stay ahead
Leading oil filter supplier installs world-leading laboratory to guarantee quality
26 Jul 2013
By IAN PORTER
GUD Automotive, owner of the Ryco filter brand, has invested more than $3 million in a new Australian office, laboratory and warehouse set-up designed to maintain market leadership.
And the new laboratory will not only help Ryco improve the design of its filters: it will also play a part in maintaining the lifestyle of an Indian tribe in Arizona.
The highlight of the new premises at Altona North, near the Toyota assembly plant, is a $400,000 state-of-the-art filter-testing machine that can test oil, fuel and hydraulic fluid filters.
Speaking at the opening ceremony today, GUD Automotive CEO Bob Pattison said it was unusual for a company that does not manufacture filters to have such a precision unit.
“Our design philosophy is to design and develop filters that meet or exceed the performance in the key areas of efficiency, life and flow of the genuine product,” he said.
GUD Automotive used to make filters. It was established in 1940 as a filter manufacturer and, over the decades, made original equipment filters for all Australian car-makers until it was no longer viable.
In 2005 it contracted out production to Chinese suppliers, at the same time setting down the stringent quality standards that helped make it the leading filter brand in Australia. The new filter-testing machine would underwrite product quality and help develop improved standards in future.
“We want the 20,000 independent workshops who are competing against the Ford dealer or the Toyota dealer to stay in business, so that servicing your car remains competitive.
“They’re relying on us to give them a filter they are sure will give them the performance they need,” Mr Pattison said.
“When a vehicle owner has the vehicle serviced by an independent, the manufacturers don’t try to cancel the warranty when the independent uses a Ryco filter.”
Mr Pattison said the new machine, supplied by Bonavista Technologies of Tulsa, Oklahoma, would speed the research and development process and improve speed to market.
This was essential given the flood of new models that reach the market each year, he said.
“We are in the filtration business. We are very focused and we cover the total range of filters oil, air, fuel, transmission and cabin filters.
“We have 1800 stock keeping units and each year, with the diversity of the car park, we are adding between 100 and 200 new numbers.
“And there are not too many numbers that fall off. We are still selling the original Holden FX oil filter, the R3P and R4P models, believe it or not.”
He said a measure of Ryco’s leadership position in the market was the fact that everyone else in the local filter business uses Ryco’s catalogue numbers.
“I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
The founder of Bonavista Technologies, Dr Gary Ferrell, is highly regarded in the filtration industry and was a member of the team that developed the International Standards Organisation’s oil filtration standards.
He said the ISO set down standards for all manner of elements in the filtration industry, including the dust that testers use to contaminate oil before they test a new filter.
“We use an international standard test dust, believe it or not.
“There is an Indian tribe in Arizona that makes a living off of this dust. They sell it to a company in Minneapolis and they refine it and sell it around the world at international standard.
“It is literally called Arizona Road Dust, ISO 12103, A1 or A2, depending on whether you want fine or medium test dust. It has been used since the 1930s.
“It costs $US150 for a 4 kilogram container.”“I sat in a meeting in 1995 with the French and the Germans, the Americans and the Brits, all arguing about whether to call it Arizona Road Dust or not.
“They didn’t like it, but they finally agreed to call it that, and it is the international standard.”
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