Fleetguard intros user-friendly filter

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – You can spin it on and take it off with ease, and when you set it down, it won’t tip over. It’s easy to grip, won’t slip and won’t tip. Heck, you can even run it over with your truck and it should pretty much look the same as it did fresh out of the package. These are all claims from Fleetguard, a global filtration, exhaust, coolant and chemical specialist for diesel and gas powered equipment, about its new user-friendly oil and fuel filter.

“We are pleased and excited to introduce the Fleetguard user-friendly oil and fuel filter – the first of its kind – to the marketplace,” said Pamela Carter, president of Fleetguard.

The new user-friendly filter is made of advanced polymers to help make it more dent-resistant than metal filters. In fact, Fleetguard officials say the unit is so strong, “you can drive over it with a truck and it will still retain its shape.”

Even with the company’s promises of increased durability (both scratch- and dent-proof) the filter is actually 50 per cent lighter than most metal filters. During testing, the filter successfully passed ISO tests, SAE tests, fire and thermal shock, vibration, dynamic impact and direct mechanical impact.

“This is a durable, robust new product that’s been designed to meet the needs of customers and service technicians for years to come,” said Jeff Hamilton, chief technical officer of Fleetguard. “The material is strong, the technology is state-of-the art, and it’s backed by Fleetguard’s reputation for excellence in OEM and aftermarket filters.”

The filter also features an easy-grip surface with ribs to help make installation and service easier, even when the filter has oil or grease on it. The textured surface is designed to give some extra leverage when tightening or loosening the filter by hand.

The filter’s flat bottom is a new take on the traditional dome-shaped bottom usually found on most metal filters. The design is intended so it can be set down without the risk of messy (and dangerous) spills.

For all the advances on the outside, the media inside remains virtually unchanged because Fleetguard officials say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Though the filter traps metal and dirt particles, preventing them from reaching moving parts in the engine, because the filter has no metal parts itself, the company says the danger of metal shards or shavings coming from the filter itself is eliminated.

Fleetguard says one of the key features of the user-friendly filter is how easy it is to install and remove. Since the filter’s patented socket hole only works in one direction, the company says it’s impossible to over-tighten the filter. Also, because the filter threads are made of polymer, they can’t strip the metal threads on the engine’s filter spud. If for some reason the filter gets cross-threaded, the filter, not the spud, would need replacing. And because polymer threads can’t cause spud thread wear, Fleetguard says the fit should always be like new even after years of changes.

The recessed half-inch socket hole molded into the bottom of the filter is designed to make removal as easy as turning a wrench. Officials say it comes in handy when the filter is in a hard-to-reach place.

When disposing of the product, the filter can be drained and sent to a landfill or put in a compactor as with most filters. But the advantage of the polymer material is that it can be incinerated and used to create heat and energy in an environmentally responsibly manner.

Development of the product was two years in the making, with an extensive 18 months of testing and a $1-million price tag. The company said that customer tests indicate a ready acceptance of the new filter, particularly the socket removal feature, stand-up feature and the lightweight nature of the polymer product.

“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the ease of use,” said Doug Griffin, vice-president, GM Americas region, liquid filtration.”We’re very proud of our new product and our new technology and we hope customers will have a long, trouble-free engine life with our product.”

The new filter will be available to the on-highway, off-highway and marine engine markets late February.

The new product is entering the market just after Cummins, Fleetguard’s parent company, completed a banner year, finishing 2005 with its highest quarterly earnings ever. Cummins reported earnings just shy of $10 billion last year with $2.75 billion in sales in the fourth quarter, an increase of 17 per cent from 2004.

For more information on Fleetguard and its products, visit www.fleetguard.com.

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