In the personal watercraft industry, Short Block Technologies, Incorporated (ie. SBT, Inc.) in conjunction with Watercraft Superstore is the largest supplier of aftermarket and OEM personal watercraft parts in the world! From the newest addition of Marine Mat, to Watercraft Superstore, Blacktip Jetsports and the company that started it all SBT, Greg Pickren’s family of PWC businesses have been servicing the needs of the jet ski world for almost two decades.
Pickren and SBT have a secret weapon; in their arsenal they own one of the only engine dynamometers among the litany of personal watercraft parts manufacturers out there. This (not-so-secret anymore) weapon has helped to make them the number one supplier of aftermarket personal watercraft parts and remanufactured motors in the world. We recently visited SBT to highlight the advantage their dyno gives them over the competition and benefit to you, the consumer. Once there, we realized there was more to Mr. Pickren and SBT beneath the surface; so first, a little back story:
Greg Pickren founded SBT, Inc. in 1997 and built the company to become what it is today. Pickren, at the time a seasoned industry professional in the automotive parts business, was intrigued by the fact that there were no suppliers of remanufactured engines for PWCs. After studying the intricacies of the PWC market, SBT was launched. Although Pickren was not a PWC expert at the time, the concept would mimic what had been done for decades in the automotive business; high quality remanufactured engines for a fraction of the price of new engines.
From the ground up, a factory was created, nestled away in an old part of Clearwater, Florida. In their first year of operation SBT remanufactured over 2,000 engines. In the next four years, they grew to over 10,000 engines per year, and in 2005, the company transitioned from an engine only company to the full line personal watercraft parts supplier that SBT is today: the PWC world’s AutoZone!
Being at the top of any market takes a commitment to product quality and reliability, and SBT does not take this responsibility lightly. With one of the only personal watercraft dynos in the industry, SBT has not only set themselves apart from other parts companies, but they have the ability to test, tune and hone-in on making the best aftermarket motors and parts we as enthusiasts and customers can buy.
CJ Lammers, President of SBT, Inc. told The Watercraft Journal, “SBT uses our dyno both for quality checks and for preliminary runs for development. Having the ability to put an engine on a dyno and running it quickly gives faster results than having to install (parts and motors) in a ski and run, especially when going through small iterations.
SBT has found the dyno invaluable for increasing our quality and reliability. Every 4-stroke engine is run on the dyno before leaving the company, ensuring that we are shipping high quality, fully functioning engines.”
Upon arrival, the first thing CJ had on our agenda was a full tour. As we entered the front of SBT’s facility, we started to get a sense of the enormity of the task SBT takes on with each used part and motor core that enters the factory. First is the disassembly process of each core to decipher which parts are usable and which are beyond repair. Next, the disassembled parts are sandblasted and put through a thorough cleaning process.
As we made our way towards the back of the their facility we entered the remanufacturing section filled with heads, cranks, cylinders and etc. from every make and model watercraft imaginable. As you might expect from a modern aftermarket and remanufactured PWC parts and engine supplier, the big 4-stroke motors get a lot of attention.
CJ then turned us around and walked us back towards the front of SBT’s facility. There were two separate rooms quarantined from the rest of SBT’s factory. We had entered the reassembly room where several technicians were working diligently putting today’s motors together. From there we could see through the clear plastic covering the next doorway into the dyno room. These two areas are the culmination of hours of work and preparation for what we came here today to highlight; your motors being readied for the dyno before packing and shipping out to you, the consumer!
SBT’s dyno is quite the feat of engineering. You can not just go out and purchase a jet ski dyno; they had to remanufacture one for this specific application. Each watercraft brand has it’s own engine stand to mount the motor on, water lines cooling the beasts off during testing and specially built electrical and mechanical couplers to hook the engines up to the dyno.
Although the dyno is the last step in SBT’s aftermarket parts manufacturing chain, it is one of the most important tools in the entire process leading to your new motor winding up in your PWC! Every remanufacturing process and part in the factory is developed and extensively tested on their dyno. Every motor is ran and tested before it is boxed up and shipped to you, the customer.
Real world testing under riding conditions is important, and something that SBT does almost everyday of the year for hours each day. This kind of testing gives the consumer peace of mind that the process, parts and SBTs complete engines are reliable and stand the test of “on the water” conditions. However, before anything with the SBT name on it is installed in a PWC, it has already gone through rigorous engineering, testing and multiple changes in detail, with attention given to the intricacies that can only be flushed out in the numbers the dyno provides.
So what does this mean for you, the consumer? This means that the SBT parts have been engineered and remanufactured in detail, and honed by dyno results. Those parts are used to build SBT test motors that are brutalized for innumerable hours in real world conditions. Finally those engineered, honed, remanufactured, dyno and water tested parts are assembled into complete motors, and tested again to make sure they are fully functioning to correct specs on the dyno.
All of this is what goes on behind the scenes at SBT. Before the phone rings for an order and before a single part or remanufactured engine leaves through SBT’s doors (at a fraction of the cost of a new engine), this one-of-a-kind company has put your product through the rigors of testing like no other company can! SBT dynoed your order as a part of the engineering and manufacturing process, prior to water testing, and will dyno it again before your order leaves the factory. As you’re jetting across the water you can rest easy knowing it’s a runner!