Prime Mover Magazine

Industry acts on poor quality heavy vehicle parts

Heavy vehicle industry part suppliers, OEMs and workshop managers came together this week to tackle safety concerns arising from a lack of enforceable quality and approval standards for heavy vehicle replacement (spare) parts in Australia.

More than 30 representatives met at the VACC in Melbourne on 4 December to support an Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA) project to raise awareness and provide guidance to suppliers and purchases about how to reduce road safety and enforcement risks by sensible replacement part choices.

ARTSA Executive, Dr Peter Hart, said that this creates a problem in that some safety and compliance-critical parts that are being supplied and fitted to in-service heavy vehicles have indeterminate quality and unknown legal compliance status. Consequently, there could be a road trauma vulnerability for some ‘safety-one’ parts. Also, operators and drivers of heavy vehicles could be vulnerable to enforcement violations and loss of vehicle productivity.

Dr Hart stressed that the project is not focused on trying to exclude non-OEM supplied parts from the market.

“We want to develop good practice guidelines that are applicable to all parts suppliers," he said. "There should be a level playing field so that consumers can be confident of getting a safe and compliant part at a good price."

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has provided funding to ARTSA under their Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative to develop information for consumers about how to assess the safety risks of heavy vehicle replacement spare part choices. The project will also develop a code of conduct and best practice guidelines to parts suppliers.

Sam Ellis, ARTSA Executive and JOST Australia Head Engineer, said that Australian suppliers of heavy vehicle parts and components spend million of dollars on the component testing required under Australian design rules and vehicle standards. Unfortunately, Australia does not have regulatory controls that exclude unsafe or nonconforming replacement parts. Therefore, industry must step up and guide the consumer to the low risk, best value purchase decision. In the first instance, heavy-vehicle parts will be classified as safety/compliance critical, safety/compliance relevant or low-risk. The project will initially focus on high risk parts.

“Consumers need to make better purchasing decisions and we will provide information that will show the benefits of sourcing and installing high quality replacement parts that meet recognised design standards, as well as explaining the consequences that can come from using parts that have no reliable quality information," said Ellis.

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