Sunday, March 13, 2011

East Coast Vs West Coast made products

You would expect a machine from Europe to not work the same and require modification
To be able to be used in the USA
But would you expect the same thing when a West Coast machine is installed on the East Coast?

As a trouble shooting electrician I often get called upon to hook up and commission machinery a customer may have bought either 2nd hand or from a country other then the USA and of course you would expect issues when it comes to making everything compatible and working as foreign countries often use different power systems than we do here in America.
For example our traditional power system to a home is 120/230 60 Hz while in Europe it is 230 50Hz they supply to homes and business. This can be overcome several different ways and as long as all the rules of electricity is followed different machines from different countries can run with no problems. With this thought in mine you would think that when you buy a machine or system here in the USA it would work just as well in California as it would in Florida or Pennsylvania but this is not always the case.
Take the gate system one of my clients bought to use with his mini storage facility. It was installed in may and ran fine all summer long but when it started getting cold in October and then temperatures plunged in November the gate started acting up. After some investigation it was determined that the gate manufacturer was using a active IR beam system that was designed to make the gate stop and reverse should a child or object be under the gate when it closes an excellent safety control but however fatally flawed. The active IR beam was only meant to be used in climates where it is above 32 F
And in November in Pittsburgh it often goes well below 32F at night. Thus the problem,
when the gate manufacturer was contacted about the problem and it gets so cold here they seemed surprised. Supposedly they tested the gate to 0 F and had no problems. But then again that was in a lab not Pittsburgh with wild temperature swings daily some times
the end result the beam needed changed to a beefed up unit. which could handle the cold.
Now a manufacturer that makes a product that is supposed to be able to be used any where in the USA you think would do the research and field testing before sending out a product but this is apparently not the case as I hit this problem all the time. Take the Burglar Alarm panel a manufacturer from Oregon was selling in the Pittsburgh area in early 80’s These panels had all kinds of great new features but had continual problems of causing false alarms and arming and disarming by themselves. The problem was ultimately found to be that while the panels worked fine on the West Coast where they have good clean electrical power where when they say an outlet is providing 120 volts it actually is . But on the east coast the power is not as clean and as solid some times only 108 might be coming out of an outlet the result the panels advanced microprocessors could not withstand the imbalance and problems developed. To make the panels work properly you needed a filtered /regulated power supply transformer and the panel worked great only problem these transformers at the time cost as much or more than the panel cost. End result they stopped selling product on the east coast where bought and sold several times and are out of business.
So then you have to ask your self where was the research and development at with these products? Well apparently there was none. What they should have done is send units out to various parts of the country for what is known as Beta Testing .
This is where Alarm dealers like myself test the equipment in the field to discover if there are problems. Honeywell Security does this and I participate as one of there Beta testers and occasionally we find problems not encountered in the lab and it provides positive feedback
To Honeywell so that they do provide a superior tested out product before releasing it for general sale.
Sure these programs cost money and can be a pain to run but in the long run it saves money and face.
So why are more companies not doing it?
It comes down to the same old thing everything comes down to Money and incompetence.
This is just one of many reasons why when companies try to expand and go national or world wide they often fail .Because they do not put enough money into research and development and it comes back to bite them.
It’s the old story” Plan your work- work your Plan “ “ or fail to plan –plan to fail.

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