TM Factors’ Andy Mason, a qualified vehicle technician, discusses his experiences of brake manufacturer TMD Friction’s two-day factor training event and how this has benefitted his team.
TMD Friction hosts regular training with motor factors, to help distributors understand more about its Textar and Mintex products, their benefits and how to share this knowledge with mechanics. The training provided to motor factors also supports mechanics, and can help to reduce the amount of returned stock due to incorrect fitment, while improving relationships between factors and mechanics.
Factory tour and test facility
Earlier this year, I undertook some of this training in order to learn more about TMD Friction products. The two-day event involved a factory tour, offering the chance to see how brake pads are made, along with a day spent at TMD Friction’s test facility.
I found the tour to be very informative and a great opportunity to understand the processes behind how brake pads are manufactured. From what I have seen, there is a tendency within the industry to assume that all brake pads are the same, so it was certainly eye-opening to see TMD Friction’s approach, and how all the processes work together to create unique products. My tour guide, Scott Irwin, Head of Technical Training, also talked me through the company’s investment into research and development and how this informs the manufacturing process, with techniques being tweaked to overcome issues identified in testing before the product reaches the shelves.
I was staggered to learn that the factory produces 125,000 pads per week, which equates to around 12,000 per shift. However, after seeing the quality machinery and the seamless process the brake pads go through, it is obvious upon first impressions that the factory is incredibly effective.
Dan Force, TM Factors’ Assistant Branch Manager also shares this view, commenting, “TMD Friction’s training not only allows me to have an understanding of the fast paced, ever-evolving motor industry, it gives us the insight and knowledge to really understand the benefits of the manufacturer’s products and how they should be fitted.”
Brake Replacement Process
The final element of the training days involved reviewing the correct procedure for replacing brake pads. This is something I was very much looking forward to, as it gave me the opportunity to brush up on key techniques, which ultimately helps the team at TM Factors to advise mechanics. We sometimes see products being returned due to a perceived issue with the part, when in fact it is a fitment issue.
Scott took me through the entire brake replacement process, covering how to look for uneven wear on the discs, removing rust and residue from contact surfaces, greasing the newly cleaned contact surfaces with a non-metallic lubricant, fitting the new brake discs and putting the pistons back into the caliper. We also covered aftercare and how new brakes require approximately 200 miles to become fully conditioned.
It was great that TMD Friction took the time to review the process with me as it is a common technique used by our customer base and one, with the help of TMD Friction, that we can help to advise on, should customers experience issues with a part.
The benefit to TM Factors
The amount of testing that goes into the products is a huge benefit to us as a motor factor as it helps us to advise our customers on the quality of TMD Friction parts. It is much easier to recommend products that you know are reputable and have been through stringent testing before they reach the shelves. Experiencing the manufacturing process firsthand also gives me the confidence to explain this to customers, who I have found to be very interested in how the pads are produced.
How else does TMD Friction support TM Factors?
It’s not only through events such as these that TMD Friction supports us. The team visits customers on our behalf who are experiencing difficulties and helps to rectify any technical problems. The TMD team also runs presentations with our team and customers, as well as providing marketing collateral such as posters and leaflets. I personally feel we have full backing and support from TMD Friction and the team is always on hand to help with any issues we may be experiencing.