Written on July 21, 2013 at 5:20 pm
Manbat: Committed To GROUPAUTO Members
AutoCare Trade Show
Manbat, the UK’s largest automotive battery distributor, was on hand at Stoneleigh Park for the AutoCare Trade Show and Conference, where the team were able to catch up with those actually tasked with fitting the batteries it supplies through GROUPAUTO members nationwide.
As well as taking visiting technicians through the products in the VARTA®, Lucas and Numax ranges, which are Manbat’s approved brands to GROUPAUTO members, the show also provided the team with the perfect opportunity to raise the question of battery technology and how it will affect them in the workshop over the next few years.
Start-Stop, otherwise known as micro hybrid, engines have become the preferred route for most of the vehicle manufacturers to follow in order for them to reduce the fuel consumption of their vehicles and achieve the European Union requirement for fleet average vehicle emissions. It is therefore, the introduction of Start-Stop vehicles that has driven the major change in battery technology.
The traditional lead-acid ‘starter’ battery is not suitable for this type of engine and therefore cannot be used. Instead it requires a battery that can deliver the starting power of a traditional automotive battery with the cyclic (charge, discharge, charge etc.) capacity of a specialist mobility battery. The result is the absorbent glass mat (AGM) battery, which was first developed by VARTA®, for whom Manbat is the UK’s largest supply partner.
With a Start-Stop vehicle fitted with an AGM battery, technicians cannot just replace the battery in the same way as a traditional battery. Instead as the battery is directly linked to the vehicle’s on-board electronics via a battery management system (BMS), it has to be integrated into the system and paired with the BMS, which requires specialist equipment. Without the equipment to assist the technician and introduce the battery into the system, the vehicle will not function correctly and is at risk of running in ‘limp’ mode or may not start at all.
To prevent these error messages and other installation related problems, quality Start-Stop batteries should be the first thought when being replaced, as these will have the necessary 2D codes to ensure the battery is a ‘match’ for the vehicle and be ‘accepted’ by the BMS/ECU.
Training is particularly important because the number of potential faults in a Start-Stop system is far greater than for a traditional electrical system. Because the engine is switched off as frequently as possible and only restarts when the vehicle needs to move off or when the state of charge of the battery drops to a predetermined level, the BMS is extremely complicated. Therefore the correct testing procedure and fault diagnosis is vital, and this is why Manbat has joined forces with eXponentia via its association with VARTA.
Experience Professional To Head The Team
Another development that will assist GROUPAUTO members is the appointment of Paul Payne as Manbat’s new sales director to replace Jon Bailey who recently returned to VARTA®. Paul has come from DENSO International Europe, where he spent five successful years as the company’s regional manager for UK and Ireland.
Commenting on his appointment, Paul said: “I know it sounds like a cliché, but I’m really excited to join such a well known and respected aftermarket business. Manbat has a reputation for doing things right and following ethical policies, which adds great value to the business.
“In every role in which I have had responsibility, I have overseen an increase in the sales and turnover of the business. I therefore believe that with the skills I have gained in the aftermarket over the last 20 years and the tremendous experience of the existing team, I can help continue the company’s expansion.
For Manbat, managing director, Steve Sheppard said: “In the current tough trading conditions it is important that we have a strong and experienced leader who can help to motivate and direct our team of knowledgeable sales managers and continue the growth of the business.
“Paul brings with him these attributes and an appreciation that our business is built on the twin pillars of providing our customers with exceptional service and high quality products. Over the last 60 years, this philosophy has allowed Manbat to grow from a local battery specialist to a major distributor within a global organisation.
“Paul’s previous experience with a number of aftermarket businesses, including large multinational companies like Unipart and DENSO will benefit Manbat by bringing a fresh approach, while maintaining those traditional core values. We are delighted therefore to welcome him aboard.”