Remember the old days when a car’s ignition had a distributor with a cap, rotor, points and condenser? About every 20,000 miles a car needed a “tune-up” – the replacement of the worn-out parts with new ones. Today’s distributorless ignition systems (DIS) can run basically trouble free for 100,000 miles. The distributor is gone and electronics with a wide variety of sensors now control the engine’s performance to minimize emissions and maximize fuel economy.
Ever since it was founded in 1919, Standard has grown and changed as the automobile industry and vehicles have changed. Standard today is the leader in automotive aftermarket, including electronics and sensors.
Engine management is just one example of the increasing use of electronics in automobiles. You’ll also find automotive electronics in cruise control, climate control, dashboard instrumentation, anti-lock brakes, air bag controls, transmissions, suspension and other systems. “The future is clear … more electronics, more sensors, more integrated systems, more complex vehicles,” says John Nodson, director of marketing services. “We look at the growth products to be both new and remanufactured electronics and sensors. We are market leaders with top quality products in these areas.”
Standard supplies engine management and temperature control parts for all makes of cars and trucks – domestic and imported, new and older vehicles. Its parts are sold throughout the U.S., Canada, Central and South America, Europe and Asia by traditional warehouse distributors and auto parts stores, as well as major retail stores.
Standard started in 1919 selling automotive replacement parts to repair shops. Back then, the company’s philosophy was to offer parts (piston rings, ignition parts, and starter and generator brushes) that were equal to or exceeded original equipment quality, a conviction that has carried through the decades as the company’s product lines have evolved to meet customer needs.
Standard introduced its famous Blue Streak brand of always-better-than-original replacement products during the depression of the 1930’s. The products were visibly and functionally superior … and higher in price. The line was an immediate success, proving that consumers wanted the higher value of products that lasted longer and performed better.
“When electronics started coming out in cars 30 years ago, we saw the future and moved into electronics … voltage regulators initially and then electronic modules after that,” Nodson says. During the last 10 years Standard has continued to strengthen its product offering by purchasing companies and investing in additional basic manufacturing operations:
1992 – Remanufactured electronics
1997 – Oxygen sensors
2002 – Fuel injectors
Today, the same commitment to cutting edge quality holds true and has made Standard one of the largest automotive parts manufacturers in the world. The company designs, tests, manufactures and distributes components at more than 20 factories and distribution centers throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, Europe and the Far East.
At their headquarters in Long Island City, NY, they make caps and rotors, as well as high energy ignition coils. Every aspect of production is totally controlled, from selection of raw materials through testing, inspection and packaging of finished products. Computers and robotics are integrated into every major production process to ensure consistency. The industry’s most advanced injection-molding machines, progressive-die presses, multiple bobbin-winding machines, automated assembly and other sophisticated production equipment and techniques maintain quality standards at the highest possible level.
The company’s manufacturing equipment is designed for quick set-up which allows it to run small lot sizes with short lead times. For example, suppliers may stop making a specific part for a carmaker; the carmaker may in turn ask Standard to produce a run of only a few thousand of a given part. All told, Standard Motor Products’ 3,300 employees make more than 100,000 finished part numbers packaged in its own and customer private brands.
Other North American engine management manufacturing facilities include an oxygen sensor plant in Wilson, N.C.; a 180,000-square-foot fuel injection facility in Greenville, S.C.; manufacturing for new electronics in Orlando, Fla.; windshield washer pumps and window lift motors are made just outside in Chicago, Ill.; wire and cable are made just west of Kansas City in Edwardsville, Kan., and in Reynosa, Mexico; and electronics are remanufactured in Ontario, Canada and Boca Raton, Fla.
The home of Standard’s new electronics operation is a 51,000-square-foot. QS-9000 certified facility in Orlando, Fla. Clean rooms, thick film screen printing, high speed pick and component placement, laser trimming and high speed optical inspection highlight the operation. On-site capabilities include the latest vehicle emission testing and a full vehicle cold room for testing to -40¡F.
Distributorless Ignition System (DIS) control modules for domestic and foreign applications are manufactured in this location.
Many of the electronic components are repaired rather than replaced with new units. New components are frequently not available and a quality remanufacturing process will identify worn out or weak components and return a unit to new condition and original performance specifications.
“We open them up, troubleshoot and put loads on various components, identify what’s wrong, replace those components and then retest to make 100 percent sure the unit performs properly,” Nodson explains. Standard remanufactures electronics for cruise control, climate control, dashboards, anti-lock brakes, air bag controls, body controls, transmissions and almost any electronic component. More than 5,000 part numbers are cataloged with specific vehicle applications and most other parts can be sent to these facilities for repair and return back to the customer.The heart of Standard’s operation is a 68,000-square-foot facility near Toronto, Canada, with a U.S. branch in Boca Raton, Fla. An engineering staff is located in Canada and they are 100 percent dedicated to the remanufacturing business.
Oxygen SensorsOxygen sensors send information to the engine computer to update the air-fuel ratio and maximize engine performance. The car manufacturers recommend these to be replaced every 30,000 to 100,000 miles. Standard has a 35,000-square-foot. manufacturing operation in Wilson, N.C. It is QS-9000 certified and has a dedicated engineering staff and extensive testing capabilities on-site.
The company manufactures Titania, and both heated and unheated Zirconia sensors. Production includes complex ceramics processing and sophisticated platinum electrode vapor deposition.
This is the newest addition to Standard’s manufacturing capabilities. In 2002 they acquired this 180,000-square-foot. manufacturing operation in Greenville, S.C., complete with a strong engineering staff and extensive testing capabilities. It is QS-9000 certified.
Today’s vehicles are complex … and getting more so every day. There are always new things to learn. Technicians have to go back to school or their knowledge would be very quickly dated.
To help professional technicians repair the vehicles, Standard maintains a dedicated 14,500-square-foot. training facility an staff just outside Dallas in Irving, Texas. The company provides training from the basics through advanced diagnostics at locations convenient to technicians anywhere in the country. And when even professional technicians need help on the really tough problems, the company offers a subscription hotline called the Standard Plus Club.
Standard ignition components include ignition control modules, voltage regulators, solenoids, distributor parts and related items for engine management, starting and charging systems, as well as switches, relays and connectors for lighting and electrical circuits.
Its emission controls meet the growing demand for computers, sensors, solenoids, actuators, valves, filters and other parts needed to service today’s vehicles.
For wire and cable needs, technicians turn to Standard Plus for all primary (low voltage), secondary (high voltage ignition), battery cables and all types of solderless terminals, trailer cables, tools, connectors and accessories.
They offer port and throttle body fuel injectors, plenum gasket packs, throttle body kits, carburetor repair kits, choke pull offs, choke thermostats, floats and related replacement parts.
Standard’s key growth areas of the future reflect its customers’ needs and megatrends in the automotive industry including electronics, sensors and fuel injectors.
“Over the years we have done well by taking exceptional care of our customers.” Nodson says, “As long as we keep listening to and thinking like our customers, we will continue growing.”