The Federal-Mogul Motorparts Braking Division Test Centre in Prospecton has received accreditation for ISO/IEC 17025:2005 for Performance & Safety Testing by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS). This means that the test centre is recognised as a SANAS accredited test laboratory for the testing of light vehicle brake pads and commercial vehicle linings to the South African Regulatory Braking Standards (SANS 20090:2010).
SANAS was established to satisfy the need for testing laboratories to achieve national and global recognition as well as to achieve conformity against international standards. Testing laboratories that wish to pursue accreditation need to satisfy competency in a number of areas, namely implementation of a quality management system encompassing scientific and specific technical related aspects specified in ISO/IEC 17025, as well as participation in inter-laboratory proficiency testing.
The ABTI is manned by technically proficient engineers and supported by Federal-Moguls’ Global Technology and braking teams. The centre is fully equipped with dynamometers to meet various customer needs. The test centre is located at the Federal-Mogul Motorparts – Braking Division’s manufacturing plant in Prospecton, Durban.
Test Centre general manager, Mervin Paideya, explains that the main driver for pursuing the accreditation is the interests of safety in the South African automotive braking sector, as all friction materials have to comply with local braking regulations (SANS 20090:2010). These have been established by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specification (NRCS), which is affiliated to the Department of Trade and Industry. “We needed to prepare a policy system that had to be in place and implemented in terms of our testing requirements,” says Paideya.
The Prospecton Test Centre now joins the top league of similar Federal-Mogul facilities globally, as well as representing a significant expansion of the OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturer’s) testing capabilities locally. “It definitely also creates additional local capacity, as there are only two test centres in South Africa accredited to ISO/IEC 17025.”
Paideya also highlights that the flood of imported automotive components has raised questions about the certification and accreditation of such international manufacturers.
“It is the mandate of the NRCS to ascertain if all such imported products conform to all of the necessary requirements. We therefore decided to take the lead by extending our own testing capabilities in this regard.” In future, this will enable an efficient compliance testing process that could be of great assistance to the NRCS teams based here.
While the main aim of the facility is to ensure that Federal-Mogul itself is compliant in terms of all the regulations, it will also start testing for the open market in the near future. “I think that while we still have to investigate what the standards are in the SADC region (the Southern African Development Community), our long-term goal is to introduce this testing capability into the broader Southern African market,” Paideya concludes.