TAMPA, Fla — Last year, about 20,000 technicians gathered around the back of one of Stemco’s 40 training vehicles to learn how to install wheel seals and adjust bearings. Now they’ll be able to learn about brakes as well – for free.
The metal stand that extends from the back of each pickup truck is being equipped with a working S-cam brake. The spider can even be pulled out of the drum and turned to offer a clear view of the way everything works as air pressure is applied.
The training is offered free of charge to any fleet, regardless of size and even if its trucks don’t use Stemco products. Granted, it is still an important part of the company’s sales strategy. Sixty per cent of those who did not use Stemco products before taking the wheel end training ended up making a switch.
“We believe the (brake) category lacks leadership. We base that on the fact the training is not being done,” added vice president Jim Reis, referring to how brake-related issues continue to dominate out-of-service figures during roadside inspections. “It appears the category is being treated like any other commodity,” he said, referring to manufacturers who have been moving a larger share of production offshore.
Stemco does make Duraline products in Brazil, but it is looking to increase production in the U.S., perhaps on land that it has in Longview, Texas, he said. Its brake tables are already made domestically. The company is also looking for potential corporate acquisitions to round out its brake catalogue.
The company failed in an attempt to purchase Carlisle’s Motion Control Division about 1-1/2 years ago, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping its bid to play a larger role in the market segment.
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