Plymouth, MI - This week, Link Engineering Company released information on expansions to their test laboratories, added capabilities and new testing certifications for their US and international divisions.
"Link provides brake testing services to vehicle manufacturers, their tier-1 and tier-2 suppliers, as well as the aftermarket brake industry. We added seven new brake dynamometers to our global testing capability," reported Tim Duncan, Executive Vice President of Global Testing Services. "This was done to support the expanding test activities of our customers and to meet their program launch schedules." These dynamometers were distributed to Link's Dearborn Technical Center in Michigan, testing laboratory in Shanghai, and to its European testing facility near Frankfurt. Other capital equipment improvements to existing equipment including adding environmental controls for friction and brake noise investigations, ultra-high-speed sampling rates for Brake Torque Variation, and next-generation in-vehicle data acquisition systems, according to Duncan.
New testing certifications were obtained when RDW, the Dutch Vehicle Authority responsible for European vehicle safety, and compliance with environmental regulations, designated Link as a technical service provider for ECE R90 type approval programs for aftermarket friction materials, discs, and drums. Link initiated the certification process last June to keep in line with its mission to be the premier testing resource for the global transportation industry. Over the past six months, the company underwent a rigid process to obtain the RDW designation for ECE R90; which culminated in early December 2014.
ECE R90 was passed by the United Nations to regulate testing protocols and acceptance criteria for the European Community and applies to replacement brake parts on road-going passenger vehicles, buses, light trucks, commercial vehicles, trailers, and semi-trailers. The regulation specifies brake pads and linings are measured for cold performance, speed sensitivity, friction behavior, compressibility, shear, and hardness. For discs and drums, the ECE R90 requires testing and measurements for performance, thermal fatigue, high-torque strength, hardness, chemical composition, geometrical characteristics, and dimensional features.
"The long process was worth it," says Carlos Agudelo, Director of Technology Development for testing services. "Our facilities will be integral in supporting global brake manufacturers. Supporting them with their European sales goals will keep manufacturers competitive in the global economy. Link is the only independent testing service to offer a global network of testing facilities in Brazil, China, Germany, and Korea."
Link Engineering added two more dynamometers for RP628 Qualification of aftermarket friction materials installed in commercial vehicles in the United States. The dynamometer certification to support this industry program, administered by the Performance Review Institute from SAE, requires specific testing to verify the ability to control test inertia, torque, and cycle times for high temperature fade and recovery. The SAE-PRI technical committee provides peer-review of laboratory results before granting certification. With two more commercial vehicle dynamometers added to the list of those approved in 2014, Link now has nine dynamometers approved under the PRI programs. "This confirms Link's commitment with the aftermarket industry and its interest in providing better and safer friction materials." indicated Duncan.
"At the end of the day," he said, "we want to help our customers make better products and make sure they have safer brakes."