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MiniPlus Article
October 22 2018
By Tim Deakin

Tim is Editor of routeone and has worked in both the coach and bus and haulage industries.

VOSC opens test centre to suit minibus industry

Refurbished and recalibrated rig in Wolverhampton is open to all and generating strong interest from converters and suppliers; it works hand-in-hand with various other members’ add-value offerings

The new testing centre is located on a science park in Wolverhampton

The minibus industry has regained a second well-equipped, independent testing facility for components relating to passenger securement with the opening of the Vehicle Occupant Safety Centre (VOSC) in Wolverhampton.

VOSC uses equipment that was previously owned by the Specialist Transport Advisory and Testing Utility Society (STATUS) and located at Manchester Metropolitan University. The test rig and all equipment was refurbished and recalibrated before the centre was opened.

VOSC is accredited by the Vehicle Certification Authority and the Wolverhampton facility is available to all converters and component manufacturers, including those in the latter category that produce seats, seat belt anchorages, wheelchair lifts and ramps.

“Several converters are already testing here for type approval work, along with other suppliers to the industry. We can handle all of the scenarios that they come up with,” says Engineering and Technical Director Russell Edmunds.

Mr Edmunds was speaking at an opening event in September, where customers and other stakeholders were invited to view the facility. Among those visiting were staff from a number of suppliers active in the accessible minibus sector along with representatives from legislative bodies.

VOSC’s rig uses hydraulic rams to exert force on the item under evaluation. Testing began in April and minibuses and their components already account for around 50% of activity, adds Mr Edmunds.

The state-of-the-art facility is located on a technology park owned by the University of Wolverhampton and users benefit from adjacent facilities that include conference facilities and a cafe.

VOSC says that a Midlands location was essential due to the area’s popularity among the automotive industry and suppliers. A central location also gives excellent transport links to the rest of the UK.

Converters are able to bring equipment and vehicle shells to VOSC. Seats and other components can also be tested independently using various mounting points on the rig.

“Our aim is to become the ‘go-to’ facility for the automotive industry with an added value of aiding clients from project planning to type approval. We are able to offer a host of wider member benefits, including homologation,” says Mr Edmunds.

Establishment of the testing capability at VOSC, and its popularity among businesses in the minibus and mobility sectors already, demonstrates the importance that the industry continues to place on ensuring that components related to passenger safety consistently meet current regulations, he adds.

VOSC’s annual membership subscription offers a variety of other benefits, including discounted test rates, access to advice and consultancy and newsletters that discuss legislative and approval updates.

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