Location: Jamestown, New York
NARSA Member Since: 2016
“I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t learn something new about heat exchangers.”
Matt Moore, TitanX Engine Cooling’s Vice President of Business Development and Strategy, could probably spend countless hours talking about cooling systems. “In a heat exchanger, the devil is in the details. A few degrees of angle on a part or a few tenths of thickness on something can be the difference of something that lasts a thousand hours and ten thousand hours in a vehicle.”
Moore began his career in the cooling systems industry in 1988. “Radiators are not what I grew up dreaming that I would spend my life doing. I thought I was going to be a rocket engineer and work for NASA,” said Moore. But something about heat exchangers drew Moore in as a young engineer, and thanks to new technology, the industry continues to fascinate him. “The field is so diverse. It touches so many different manufacturing processes. It touches so many different customers. It’s a global business, so that makes it very interesting for me.”
TitanX’s history involves several different companies. Its roots go back to 1895 when JW Thorell, a Swedish blacksmith, started his own business in Linköping. Then, in 1914, the Gabrielson Car Parts Company opened in Jamestown, New York. Another plant was founded in 1953 in Mjällby, Sweden. Those three plants were eventually acquired by Blackstone, then Valeo. Then TitanX was born in 2008. TitanX’s headquarters are in Sweden. There are also facilities in Brazil, Mexico, and China as well as Jamestown, New York. It was the Jamestown, New York facility that was the headquarters of Blackstone Cooperation that consolidated these factories in Sweden under one umbrella. There are roughly 1,000 TitanX employees worldwide.
Moore has spent half of his career in Sweden, the other half in Jamestown, New York. He says the advancements in technology he’s witnessed over the last several years has been remarkable. “We’re going through a technology revolution when it comes to the drive-trains and trucks that hasn’t happened in the last three generations,” said Moore. “This is the first time we’re fundamentally going to change from internal combustion engines to something else. I take a lot of pride and personal satisfaction that every day of my professional life, I work on making the planet a better place for society, a greener, cleaner place to be. And the challenges don’t stop. I think if you were to talk to any development team of diesel engines for the last 20 years, or electric vehicles going forward, they would tell you that the ability to transfer heat is one of those things that determines how successful those things can be. We get to stay right on the cutting edge of helping people improve those systems. What could be more satisfying than that?”
Like other manufacturers, TitanX has faced challenges related to the current COVID-19 pandemic, specifically the disruption of the supply chain. “A lot of us had emergency plans for earthquakes, floods, and fires, but a global pandemic was not one of those things that we were planning for,” said Moore. “There are a number of longtime, multi-decade suppliers that ceased to exist, and we’ve had to resource all those parts. And because all of our parts are custom engineered, all those had to be retooled and revalidated and we’ve spent millions of dollars rebuilding our global supply chain.” Then, the trucking market and the aftermarket came roaring back. “So we went from 0 to 100 miles per hour with no warning, that has really strained the global supply network,” said Moore.
Another challenge is commodity pricing. “Steel has almost doubled in the last 12 months. Aluminium is up. Copper is through the roof,” said Moore. “And there is a global shortage of the plastic resin that we used to make our tanks for radiators. We’ve had a number of suppliers leave the market either through bankruptcy or business decisions. And we’ve just had an overall lack of supply for plastics on the whole planet. We’re dealing with that shortage of nylon 66 in every market right now.”
As an essential business, TitanX is considered a major parts supplier to major freight companies. It also supplies equipment for critical medical services like ambulances and firetrucks. “Because we are a manufacturing facility, we buy metal, bind it, put it together, so you physically have to go and do it,” said Moore. “During the height of the pandemic, we made the decision to protect those factory workers by making everyone else work remotely. So, only people who were operating machinery were allowed to be in the building.” Up until the pandemic, TitanX had very few people working from home, but now, almost 50% are working remotely. “Coming out of COVID, we will be a very different style of employer. It’s definitely been an opportunity to adapt our HR policies and how we see employment. We won’t necessarily connect you to ‘What time did you punch in? And what time did you punch out? And did you sit at your desk?’ We’re much more task oriented. And as long as you’re efficient, where you work is up to you.”
TitanX has been a NARSA/IDEA member since 2006. TitanX’s Executive Sales Manager is one of NARSA/IDEA’s Board of Directors. He got his start in the cooling systems industry in 1970. “I was going to be a lawyer. That didn’t happen,” said Moore. “Long story short, I got drafted. I spent six years in the Army. After I got out of the army, I interviewed at what then was Blackstone in their test lab. Working in the aftermarket industry, I have really enjoyed it. It’s still a place where you can shake hands and agree on things. That doesn’t happen in the OE world anymore. Everything is very sophisticated, 20 pages long, agreements that take a lawyer to understand them.”
Moore believes NARSA/IDEA has been a great resource for networking. “It’s the old adage, ‘You don’t know what you don’t know,’” said Moore. “Being in NARSA/IDEA has proven to be very advantageous to us, because we can hear what the customers are actually looking for. It allows us to be able to plan. It also allows us the opportunity to better introduce ourselves to the industry.”
People got the chance to see exactly how TitanX operates in 2017 when the company hosted the Heavy Duty Conference. “It allowed us to learn from the NARSA members,” said Ed Moore. “We got feedback from every group that went through. It was an excellent interchange and exchange of information both ways. The value of networking is sharing information about a particular subject. What’s really hot with us is electric vehicles. And if NARSA members aren’t willing to engage with us in that conversation, then they’re going to have a difficult time catching up,” said Ed Moore.
“For the non-members who are trying to collect that information without the NARSA/IDEA network, they put themselves at a severe disadvantage. Being involved with an organization like NARSA, not only distributes information, but builds those networks for you so you can stay informed. It’s going to be more important than it was in the past,” said Matt Moore. “I don’t know how you can keep up in this industry. I would call being involved with an organization like NARSA almost a business requirement.”
“I don’t know how you can keep up in this industry. I would call being involved with an organization like NARSA almost a business requirement.”Matt Moore, TitanX
As for the future of the industry, Matt Moore believes NARSA/IDEA members have an opportunity to lead the change. “Some of the components we sell today are going to be deprioritized. Obviously, there’s no charge air cooler in an electric vehicle. There’s no turbo. There’s no pistons,” said Matt Moore. “On the other hand, the radiators are much more important than they ever were in a combustion engine. They have to be more precise. They must function. They must be maintained. And I think the allowable tolerance on how much the performance can degrade before they have to be changed is going to be much smaller. So I think our industry is going to have to get more accurate.”
“We’re going to have to be open to learning new things, just like we did with EGRs, just like we did with condensers, just like we did with Charge Air Coolers,” said Moore. “NARSA has proved many times that we can absorb new challenges like Diesel Particulate Filters and make them their own. I have no doubt that NARSA members will do it again.”