NOT what they seem
Nov 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By David A Kolman
Many counterfeit parts producers don't bother to go through compliance performance requirements, he said. There is no “due care ” — an understanding between the US government and vehicle equipment manufacturers that appropriate actions will be taken to ensure their products are in full compliance with the minimum performance requirements of all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
All North American manufacturers are self-certified, said Grote.
The problem of non-compliant lighting is worsening, said Truck-Lite's Van Riper, as more new electronic-based suppliers are entering the market with limited understanding on the need for compliance, little understanding of the “self certification” process, and no use of due care.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recognized the problem of non-compliant products and is increasing its enforcement activities, he said. The agency has identified 44 different non-compliant products entering the market last year with recall campaigns.
To help parts buyers know they are getting a compliant light, members of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) and the Transportation Safety Equipment Institute (TSEI) are voluntarily marking their products, which also helps provide traceability even when packaging is gone.
“A lack of marking is what we see on China-grade products,” Van Riper said. “It makes enforcement nearly impossible because there is no traceability to the supplier or manufacturer. No markings on lamps allows them to avoid accountability for quality issues, compliance or performance problems, and safety concerns.”
It used to be that the traditional competitors in commercial truck brake products were those who had experience in commercial vehicle braking, particularly in the North America market, and produced their own designs, said Kleinhagen of Haldex. These companies had application engineering knowledge and a large experience base from working with fleet and OEMs.
“They understood design tradeoffs between the dimensions of the parts, the materials used for those parts, and the manufacturing processes,” he said. “It takes all of those in combination to produce a part of equivalent quality to another part. And these products, typically before ever being released, were subjected to rather extensive laboratory and field validation testing that went beyond the industry recommended practices.”
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