Media Release

South Africa's Leading International Trade Fair for the Automotive Industry targeting Trade Visitors from the Sub-Saharan Region

6 - 9 May 2015
Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec

18th May 2015

Roger Houghton
Fax          +27 11 494 5004


Founded in the early 1990s, the Engine Rebuilders Association (ERA) strives to improve the overall levels of service in the engine remanufacturing sector. Strict guidelines are set out for any engineering shop wishing to become a member and a voluntary self-grading process categorises these members once they've joined. This helps ensure that customers are able to engage with the correct service provider, depending on their needs. The ERA is a registered constituent of the RMI.

The morning session of the ERA conference at this year's Automechanika trade fair for the automotive aftermarket welcomed two fascinating and informative speakers. Prof At Von Wielligh, a revered expert and regular attendee of the conference, as well as Paul Grosvenor, from Mahle UK.

Prof Von Wielligh has spent a lifetime studying and consulting on all things engine-related. His address this year was titled, 'Hang the Right Man', and explored the need for accurate fault diagnosis. With a focus on diesel engines, the Prof zoomed in on fuel quality, fuel contamination, test bench reliability and replacement parts, amongst others, as the chief reasons for engine failure.

Contradicting what is often and incorrectly diagnosed as injector failure, Von Wielligh cited poor quality and dirty fuel as the first offender. These issues cause injectors to malfunction resulting in catastrophic engine damage. Problems as complex and as far reaching as additives added at the fuel depot to additives being left out of a prescribed fuel mix can cause injectors to stick open and over-fuel the combustion chamber.

The Professor went on to relate a personal experience where test bench results show injectors working perfectly, only to see those same injectors failing when fitted and on the road. The jury is still out as to why this would be. Other problems such as carbon deposit build up on the exhaust valves can cause those valves to stick open or fail to close quickly enough, severely and terminally damaging engine internals. Incorrect replacement parts are another weak link - a stern warning going out to engine rebuilders to use OEM specified parts and not to fall into the "cheap import" trap.

An interesting conclusion to At Von Wielligh's address was an introduction to high tech, cutting edge gas engines currently being used in Germany for electricity generation. With the search for alternative power sources being foremost in many a South African mind, the wood-chip burning gas generator - powering a diesel style 12 cylinder motor - looks like a system warranting further investigation.

Paul Grosvenor, here from the UK to attend Automechanika Johannesburg, lead us through what Mahle sees as the future of the petrol engine. With CO² emissions and the need for better fuel efficiency driving the changes, downsizing has already made a huge impact on the international and the local market. Smaller cubic capacities and reduced numbers of cylinders are a starting point. Turbocharging these mini-mills is a must.
What follows is a search for "small, incremental improvements" touching on reduction in individual component weight, heat management - individual and separate cooling systems for the head and the block as an example - and improvements in turbo technology. A Mahle designed and built 3 cylinder 1.2-litre engine on long term test in a Volkswagen vehicle is producing 120kw and over 280nm of torque, and is doing so reliably.

Grosvenor says the petrol engine is here to stay. Whether on its own, in conjunction with an electric motor in a hybrid vehicle or as a range extender in a full electric car, this tried and tested (but now massively refined) technology seemingly still has its place.

Background information on Automechanika Johannesburg

Automechanika Johannesburg is part of the global group of Automechanika automotive aftermarket business- to-business trade shows and business events with its portfolio of 15 trade fairs in 14 countries (4 continents).

Automechanika Johannesburg is licensed to SA Shows Messe Frankfurt (Pty) Ltd, part of the Messe Frankfurt Group. It is the largest event of its kind on the African continent and serves South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa since 2009

For more information visit

Background information on Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt is one of the world's leading trade fair organisers, generating around €550* million in sales and employing more than 2200* people worldwide. The Messe Frankfurt Group has a global network of 28 subsidiaries and around 50 international Sales Partners, allowing it to serve its customers on location in more than 160 countries. Messe Frankfurt events take place at more than 30 locations around the globe. In 2014, Messe Frankfurt organised a total of 120* trade fairs, of which more than half took place outside Germany.

Comprising an area of 578,000 square metres, Messe Frankfurt's exhibition grounds are home to ten exhibition halls. The company also operates two congress centres.

The company is publicly owned, with the City of Frankfurt holding 60 per cent and the State of Hesse 40 per cent.

Further information on the company can be found at
* preliminary numbers (2014)

Paul Grosvenor - Mahle UK Prof. At von Wielligh

For more information contact:

Roger Houghton on 012 998 1771 or at

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