CVW recently took a trip up to Ring Automotive in Leeds to find out how the company ensures its products continue to deliver a high-quality, reliable performance via its Quality Assurance testing facilities.
Faced with extra demands such as high mileage, rough terrain and specialist applications, commercial vehicles need components that perform every time. To add to this, the technicians working on these vehicles need tools and equipment they can rely on, that deliver exceptional performance and durability.
To ensure that its products meet these high standards, Ring has invested in on‐site, state‐of‐the‐art Quality Assurance (QA) facilities at the company’s headquarters in Leeds. These laboratories contain some of the most advanced testing equipment in Europe, says the company, achieving the highest standards in QA, having been independently assessed by BSI, attaining an ISO:9001:2015 accredited quality management system.
Lighting the way
Ring’s lighting testing facilities allow the company to independently test its 24V vehicle lighting, ensuring that all the bulbs comply with regulations, including ECE reg 37, and meet the performance expected. This includes testing the colour temperature and lux output in the Bentham Instruments IS100 Integrating Sphere, and confirming that the headlamp pattern is correct in the beam laboratory, using the Pro‐lite IC‐PMI8 Imaging Colorimeter camera.
The Colorimeter camera measures light at over 8.1 megapixels – this precision allows Ring to be confident that all its bulbs meet the high standards necessary. Cross line laser levels are used to position each bulb in the headlamp to ensure that comparison between beam patterns from different headlamp units can be done accurately – Ring tests its bulbs across a range of headlamp units to ensure they perform in all the required vehicles.
Bulbs are also tested in the vehicle vibration simulator, which replicates real‐world driving conditions to ensure that they can withstand tough usage. This is particularly relevant for commercial applications, with vehicles often being subjected to uneven or rougher surfaces, meaning the bulbs have to be able to withstand the extra pressure.
The tools Ring provides for commercial workshops are also put through their paces, with customised testing specifically created to replicate real‐world conditions. To test the RAC900 Professional High Power Air Compressor, it is set on an automated loop, inflating and deflating a 20L air tank until the compressor failed. After 1400 inflations, corresponding to over 58 hours’ inflation time, the compressor showed no reduction in performance. These tests ensure that in a workshop environment, the compressor can consistently deliver.
Ring’s LED inspection lighting is also thoroughly tested. The light output of all the company’s lamps is measured in the laboratories, and they are put through drop tests and battery life tests to make sure the light output remains consistent throughout use. This is vital for technicians working in dark conditions. Angela Bailey, Ring’s QA Manager, is responsible for quality at Ring. She is focused on ensuring accurate, robust and extensive testing on all the manufacturer’s products. She says, “The equipment we have in the labs is essential, but it’s also the skills, processes and agility we have that makes the QA facilities such a valuable asset. We go beyond just product testing, and work with our partner factories, customers and product development teams from the very beginning, to ensure any potential issues are addressed as the product is developed.”
“It’s not just new products that we test. We also review existing ranges, and spot check incoming products to make sure that all of them – whether it’s the first, the 50th or the 5000th – perform to the level we demand for our customers.
We can also compare our products to competitors, to see how well we are performing and stay ahead of the curve.”
Ring has already invested over £60,000 in improved facilities and new testing equipment for the QA laboratories in the past 12 months, with further investment planned for the future. As the demands of commercial environments change, the business asserts these facilities will keep pace to ensure that the products Ring delivers meet the expectations of its customers.