Cardone’s teamwork leads to innovations, product launches
New Ultra Premium Brake Calipers borne out of installer feedback, department collaboration
Philadelphia—With what began as a small department two years ago, CARDONE Industries’ Innovation Team has gathered momentum, increasing its size and impact in leading the company’s remanufactured and new product launches..
“We want to grow the business with new products, which was the impetus behind our Innovation Team,” said Raquel Wenger, CARDONE’s director of advertising and promotion. “It’s solely focused on researching new products, market trends, and using information and feedback from our Tech Councils.”
The Innovation Team is an extension of CARDONE’s Product Management Team, which always examined expanding existing product lines, and had an eye on new lines, though that wasn’t their primary focus, she said, adding that their focus was more on the day-to-day and managing lines, such as order fill.
The Innovation Team includes engineers, who also work closely with the company’s engineering department and report to the vice president of engineering, Wenger said. CARDONE often selects products to remanufacture by inspecting damaged cores and tracking common failures. “For our new EGR cooler line, our engineers noticed that a particular OE application had a high failure rate due to clogging from soot and debris. We upgraded the internal core of the unit from a radiator style to stainless steel tubing, which effectively prevents the clogging problem,” she said. To prevent leaks caused by compressed seals, CARDONE also upgraded the O-ring material on all EGR coolers to Viton, which provides greater resistance to extreme heat. “We’ve done that with many of our products, where trouble areas are reinforced with higher-grade materials. Our Tooling Department will identify a part’s pain points and tool-up the faulty components.”
The Innovation Team will weigh input from the Tech Councils, which hold meetings throughout the year that consist of a diverse cross-section of shop owners and service managers who use Cardone products. The combined result of the collaboration has led to products with improved performance and durability, she said, such as installer insights regarding Japanese vehicles that have remote reservoirs for power steering pumps. “Many times it’s the reservoir that’s the problem, and technicians have suggested that when CARDONE sells the pump, a new reservoir should also be offered. The original reservoirs become contaminated, which can then contaminate the new pump and causes a warranty issue.”
Cardone’s just-released Ultra Premium Calipers are also a result of Tech Council feedback and Innovation Team collaboration.
For example, Wenger said input from a service dealer revolved around a concern of installing new remanufactured calipers on customers’ cars, only to have the client return for service months later to discover they became rusted. “We were already in the process of developing the CARDONE Ultra Calipers with a protective coating, but the feedback we received reinforced the product’s development,” she said.
Most aftermarket calipers are hot-oil dipped, which provides minimum protection, Wenger said. Cardone Ultra Calipers are powder-coated with a silver coating to protect against rust and corrosion, offering performance, as well as a premium appearance that complements all wheel types.
Cory Lippert, CARDONE marketing coordinator, said, “No one uses steel wheels anymore, and today’s vehicles feature new, stylish wheels. There’s customer willing to pay extra for a higher-grade caliper with a weatherproof coating. It gives repair shops a better option.”
According to a company test, CARDONE engineers conducted a side-by-side comparison with four leading competitors in a humidity chamber designed to assimilate a year of average driving, and while the other brands experienced corrosion, the CARDONE Ultra Caliper remained unchanged.
Wenger added that 100-percent testing guarantees proper braking function with SAE-specific seals for like-new performance. Additional benefits include new bleeder screws for trouble-free bleeding and a positive seal, and a plastic cap plug in the brake port line protects threads before installation.
Additional feedback has accelerated the inclusion of mounting hardware and secondary part items such as new banjo bolts. “Anything we can do to make an install easier and faster we’ll include,” Wenger said.