The Canadian Transportation Equipment Association was created as the Canadian Truck Body Equipment Association (CTBEA) in 1963 in London Ontario. A few years later we adopted our current name. Up until 1990 the organization was run by volunteers. In 1991 the first employee was hired.
The 1990s were the formative years of the CTEA. A series of regulatory challenges made it necessary for CTEA staff and volunteers to focus on ways to collectively respond. Government safety regulations were either being enforced more vigorously or were being updated.
The Association’s responses lead to the development of programs and services to help our Members. All this activity increased the CTEA’s profile and importance within the industry. This, in turn, generated a rapid growth in membership. For example our 30 members in 1990 grew to 167 in 1995 and 315 in 2000. Our current membership is at 500+.
An essential component of the Association’s development of programs of most value to Members is our use of generic cooperative testing.
The Association recognized that many small-volume manufacturers lacked the engineering and/or financial capability to perform their own compliance testing to meet safety standards. In these situations it becomes advantageous for trade associations to perform what is known as cooperative testing.
Cooperative testing typically involves the development of a generic design and then performance of the tests necessary to assure compliance with the applicable standard. Individual companies then take this information and use it to assist in their design development, CMVSS compliance analysis and ultimately in the manufacture of compliant systems or components for their vehicles.
In this scenario manufacturers typically build specialty vehicles in their own local markets. Their project partners are generally not their direct competitors. If a group of manufacturers is large enough, and willing to pool their resources, the result is a win-win situation. The costs of conducting the testing, creating supporting documentation (drawings, specifications), etc. are divided by the number of participants. Compliance is assured at a reasonable cost.
Cooperative test projects usually involve the following steps:
- A survey of affected manufacturer Members to determine interest/support (who and how many will participate);
Distribution of a Request for Proposal to qualified test agencies/facilities;
- Approval of agency/facility test and documentation schedule;
Collection of money from Member investors;
- Completion of testing and documentation by test agency/facility; and
- Results are delivered to investors, typically consisting of a report on the design development, the test report and design drawings and often a CD-ROM containing AutoCad drawings, design application guides and test reports.
Large high-volume manufacturers are often reluctant to wait for the generic solution to be organized. It can take several months, if not longer, for the results to be delivered. So they often go it alone to keep ahead of their competition. However, lately some larger manufacturers have seen the risk management benefit of having a third party design and test a solution that they can use. Since the CTEA always has Transport Canada’s involvement in every generic project and will ensure they will accept the results, there is no doubt the proof of compliance will be acceptable.