With a history spanning almost 30 years, LUMAG was founded in Poland in 1988 by CEO Marek Żak, initially focusing on the production of brake linings before later implementing its own brake pad manufacturing technology. Over the years the company has achieved enormous technological progress, through applied engineering solutions as well as the continuous rise of quality and safety standards.
Colin Smit, Managing Director, took some time to help us to get know Lumag. Colin has been working in the aftermarket friction segment since 2011 and is currently responsible for the strategy, sales development, and general operations for the UK/Irish subsidiary of Lumag z.o.o.
What makes LUMAG brake friction materials and products stand out in the marketplace?
With brake pad manufacturing consisting of numerous friction materials – from binders and fibrous components to lubricants, and metallic and mineral fillers – and with such a high number of components required for every friction material formula, the process demands extremely precise weighing, mixing and delivery of ingredients. In line with our R&D objectives, our operations now include a processing line of our automated mixing facility, which has an annual production capacity of 14,000 tonnes of friction mixture. This investment is one of its kind globally, as it includes many technological solutions never tested before in the real-life manufacture of friction mixtures, ensuring full automation and complete elimination of manual operations.
In addition, our cutting-edge testing station also enables us to successfully develop friction materials meeting OEM requirements and to launch their mass production. It is investment in cutting-edge machinery such as this which allows LUMAG to eliminate almost all technological limitations and has helped form its well-established reputation as a key market player implementing innovative solutions, and providing products with a true OE pedigree.
What are the dangers associated with purchasing imitation or counterfeit products in this market?
While forged car parts may be cheaper, the potential long-term cost could be a lot more, which goes beyond just being financial. If ‘bargains’ on the internet seem too good to be true, then they probably are, providing extremely poor performance and even worse – a dangerous game of Russian roulette.
For a supplier, imitation parts can damage its reputation as a provider of high-quality replacement parts, which could negatively impact on sales as well as jobs. Counterfeit parts typically have a shorter lifespan than original parts, meaning more frequent replacement. If they don’t match a vehicle’s specification, mechanical issues and system failures can also occur. This can undermine a garage’s reputation as well as result in major inconveniences and costs for the motorist. However, all this pales into insignificance when compared to the potential safety risks involved with fake car parts, with drivers’ lives being placed in danger.
LUMAG’s own tried-and-tested formulas and a repeatable manufacturing process underlines its commitment to quality, delivering OE quality parts, whilst our vigorous R&D activities enable us to offer safe, modern and high-quality products to our customers. As a result, the recent increase in fake brake products and car parts in general is of grave concern not just to LUMAG but the industry as a whole. Counterfeits are often produced using inferior production techniques and inferior materials, and as a result are extremely dangerous. We urge anyone who has any suspicions regarding counterfeit brake products they may know about or have unknowingly purchased to get in touch with us or Trading Standards immediately.”
Any examples that you have seen/know of?
The number of examples that we could share is terrifying. We regularly see counterfeit parts with the friction material crumbling and coming away from the back plate due to poor adhesion of the underlayer/mechanical anchoring mechanism. We’ve even seen substandard brake pads exploding into flames in the brake caliper whilstunder fully loaded conditions. These scenarios have played out both on the test bench and in service – making the reality of what can happen when counterfeit parts used a scary prospect.
What kind of quality control/testing measures do you employ?
LUMAG’s own tried-and-tested formulas and a repeatable manufacturing process underlines its commitment to quality. Our quality-assurance procedures are adhered to as part of our day-to-day operations and are compliant with the PN-EN ISO 9001:2009 and PN-EN ISO 14001:2005, PN-N-18001:2004 standards as well as the ISO/ TS 16949 technical specification.
Additionally, all raw materials including minerals, lubricants, fillers etc are chemically batch tested with every delivery. Each stage of the production process is also subject to quality measurements and is tightly controlled. Finally, we test our materials against competitors from both OE and the aftermarket to ensure that ours continue to set the benchmark.
What kind of investment do LUMAG make into research and development?
R&D is a huge part of our business, and is constantly challenging us to evolve and offer more innovative braking solutions. As a business we are constantly investing into R&D, and pride ourselves on benchmarking every day of the week. Currently we have two Dynamometers in constant use – enabling us to test our applications for both passenger and commercial vehicles.
Within our dedicated R&D department we are able to invest the time to evolve and develop new materials; materials that enable us to offer safe, modern and high-quality products to our customers. No wholesaler can boast such facilities and we know that this commitment to R&D helps us to stand out and demonstrate our commitment to the market we represent.
Where do you recommend potential customers learn about/purchase your products?
Quite simply – get in touch! Contact us directly on 0121 520 1160 or email [email protected] where we can provide details of our official distribution network of motor factors.
What kind of maintenance procedures do you recommend for brake pads? Can LUMAG support customers with this?
Being susceptible to a considerable amount of wear and tear, it’s crucial that brake pads are periodically maintained. Regular brake pad checks are the easiest and fastest way to diagnose any issues. LUMAG provides a handy troubleshooting guide that helps pinpoint braking issues and the probable causes. We are also on hand to support distributors with training if and when required.
What kind of environmental management systems or standards do LUMAG have in place?
Our implementation of an environmental management system compliant with the ISO 14001 standard assures our OE customers and aftermarket clients that LUMAG operates in conformity with environmental protection regulations. This extends beyond safe manufacturing, which we consider a prerequisite for any responsible manufacturer, to recycling and waste disposal. We have also eliminated the use of any heavy metal compounds, which could potentially pose a threat to both the environment and motorists, and all our products are ECE R-90 and R-13-certified.
Are there any benefits in terms of efficiency that result from using LUMAG brake pads?
All BRECK products are supplied with fitting kits, wear leads, and associated accessories, meaning they are not required to be purchased separately – a cost and time-saving exercise!
But more than that it is also simply about OE quality. When you use a LUMAG or BRECK brake pad you are using an OE quality pad with OE characteristics.
Do you have a final take-home message for our readers?
Brake safe, brake LUMAG!