As director of product management at MANN+HUMMEL, Donald Chilton oversees a vehicle filtration category valued at more than $800 million — covering filter releases from WIX, MANN, Purolator, NAPA along with numerous private label brands.
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Chilton, who travels internationally but is based in Gastonia, N.C., recently responded to a series of questions posed by Aftermarket Business World, discussing some of the particulars of the filtration segment:
Q: What are some of the complexities and other factors pertaining to engineering, developing and manufacturing a new filter product release?
A: New products are always a challenge to bring to the market. When a company does not make the OE part, we have to reverse-engineer the product. This involves extensive testing in the OE housing, prototype parts and, sometimes, new tooling. It can take months of proper preparation and testing before we will bring a solution to market. We ensure every WIX product is worthy of the name.
Q: Are new filter media inventions always being conceived and researched?
A: It’s imperative that companies in our industry stay informed of new trends and continue to utilize innovative technology, so that we can serve our consumers’ ever-evolving needs. WIX is proud to stay current in a changing industry.
Even as we speak, we currently are three-dimensionally modeling the media structures of the future. In addition, our access to simulations, laboratory tests and special analysis software to improve nanofiber coatings for customized applications allow us to ensure our newest products are both reliable and efficient.
Q: You do a lot of outreach and sponsorships related to racing; does the competitive track aspect significantly motivate non-racing motorists and aftermarket technicians to purchase and install your filters?
A: Racing is one of the harshest environments for passenger vehicle filters. This atmosphere allows us to showcase the abilities of a WIX filter design. Many of the world’s technicians enjoy racing in one form or another.
WIX Filters’ history in motorsports dates back over 50 years, with involvement in various organizations including NASCAR, NHRA, American Rallycross and Legends cars. In addition, one of our Team WIX programs even supports our local grassroots racing teams.
We want to ensure positive experiences with our brand, so that our racing teams recognize WIX for their high performance and top quality. If a racing team trusts our products, then you can rest assured that you can as well.