ATC have been remanufacturing / reconditioning ECUs since 1988. ECU technologies have evolved over the years to the point where the state of the art ECUs are specifically configured to the individual vehicle (in addition to the immobiliser code matching).
Regardless of the process involved the key principle for our engineers and designers is to create a product that is at least as reliable as the original design and to exceed that standard wherever possible.
How is this achieved?
A more reliable product can be achieved by introducing higher specification components in key areas that are more robust than the original. ATC have the advantage of being able to analyse failure patterns in the original ECUs and upgrade the specification of components to avoid the same failure in the future.
How does a remanufacturing process differ from a simple repair?
Every ECU in our remanufactured range has a specific design profile: this means that every ECU of that part number is subject to the same rigorous reconditioning process regardless of its individual failure pattern. The remanufacturing design profile is derived by collating data from a vast array of faulty ECUs and analysing the failures.
As an example, consider an ECU profile that stipulates the replacement of say, 50 components. Once these 50 components have been replaced, the ECU is tested for the first time. Through analysis we know that 99% of the remanufactured units will pass. Some of the 50 components changed during stage one of the rebuild may not actually be faulty at that time.
So why replace them?
There are 2 reasons for doing this:
- The remanufacturing process incorporates changing components which have been identified as being unreliable in ECUs of this part number over the years.
- Changing fewer components, say just 25, may produce a first time pass rate of say 75%. The cost in diagnosing and rectifying the remaining faulty components is higher than changing the 50 in the first place.
The very small percentage of ECUs that do not pass first test can be analysed individually. The reason for the problem can be investigated and a decision made as to whether the ECU can be reliably recovered.
The key stages of remanufacturing are:
- Visual inspection: is there any physical damage to the outer casing, are all the location lugs and flanges intact. More importantly, is there any corrosion or damage to the ECU pins which will affect the reliability of any test result AND possibly damage the test harness.
Deconstruction: dismantling the ECU to separate the PCB from the outer casing, seals and insulation sheets. At this stage any water ingress and / or damage from electrical overloads will be observed. The extent of the problem can be assessed to establish whether or not the PCB is beyond use.
Component replacement: the specific design profile for the part number as highlighted earlier.
Testing: running the ECU on the test machine in a semi assembled state to ensure any external earths, heat sinking devices and insulators are in situ. The testing process can take several hours and the ECU can be subject to extremes of temperature to stress its’ resilience. Assuming at this point the unit passes 100% it proceeds to the next stage.
Conformal coating: a layer of protection against water ingress is applied to seal the PCB with a thin, clear outer skin.
Reconstruction: the metal / plastic outer casing is prepared and painted prior to reassembly with the main PCB. Rubber / silicon seals are applied at this stage.
Final test and inspection: running the ECU on the test machine in its assembled state gives a 100% guarantee that it is working reliably. Only at this point will the ECU be fitted with the ATC label ready for dispatch.
The staff at ATC Drivetrain UK take great pride in producing a remanufactured item that is a credit to the company, and will give many reliable years service for our customers and beyond.