Saturday, February 27, 2016

Quality assurance of the parts you fit to your ride, A layman look at the effects of ISO/TS16949:2009 certification to the End Consumer by an Anonymous Automotive Industry Insider

I'm very pleased to bring to you a new article that was written by a person who I shall name as the "Anonymous Automotive Industry Insider" who was keen to contribute to the aspect of educating the general motoring public on the importance of quality assurance on the parts we fit to our beloved ride. Both for the reasons of ensuring safety and efficiency, the consideration of the quality ensured by the manufacturer proven via achievement of certification is something I believe we should pay more attention to with the advent of a flood of cheaply mass produced items available on the market. Read on to learn the thoughts of your friendly automotive industry insider!

Title: A layman look at the effects of ISO/TS16949:2009 certification to the End Consumer

ISO/TS16949:2009 is one of the most important certificates that defines if an automotive component manufacturer's quality system meets the requirement of the global standard. It is probably the most popular certification sought after by ambitious manufacturers if they intend to carve a niche for their brand. To many laymen end consumers, this certification is mere jargon and seems to be nothing more than an ostentatious award that doesn’t translate into actual effects that can be felt. Contradictory to this common belief, this certification serves as an important backbone to ensure product quality.
What is the ISO/TS16949:2009?

ISO/TS 16949:2009, in conjunction with ISO 9001:2008, defines the quality management system requirements for the design and development, production and, when relevant, installation and service of automotive-related products. ISO/TS 16949:2009 is applicable to sites of the organization where customer-specified parts, for production and/or service, are manufactured. Supporting functions, whether on-site or remote (such as design centres, corporate headquarters and distribution centres), form part of the site audit as they support the site, but cannot obtain stand-alone certification to ISO/TS 16949:2009. ISO/TS 16949:2009 can be applied throughout the automotive supply chain.


Component manufacturers in automotive industry will normally upload their certification achieved online for potential customers to be able to view. The IATF (International Automotive Task Force)number will be printed on the certificate and their validity can be verified via the IATF website certificate validity check.
BREMBO is a world renowned brake specialist needing no introduction as a company with a solid reputation on engineering and quality. They have been diligently keeping up with the management of their quality system ensuring the parts delivered to your hands comply to their engineering specifications. Here is a picture of one of the kits they create:
Here is a picture of the ISO/TS16949:2009 certification of the plant in Curno (BU Performance):

IATF Number: 0217930 (Validity Check: )
To analyze how the achievement of this certification affects us as end users, here are some of the requirements and some of its related description:

ISO/TS 16949:2009 7.1 Planning of Product Realization
It is a requirement for component manufacturers to plan and develop the processes required for a product to materialize. This planning must be consistent with the existing processes of the quality management system. The objectives and requirements of the product in conjunction to the processes and resources must be met. The product must also be checked according to factory engineering requirements and tested according to customer stipulated conditions to ascertain conformity in all circumstances. All these findings must also be recorded as evidence for future reference which is always needed. These can be defined inside the PPAP (Product Part Approval Process) which is a complex structure of requirements documented covering engineering, statistical, legal, logistics and customer requirements.
ISO/TS 16949:2009 6.2.2 Competence, training and awareness

The company achieving this certification must ensure their staff are properly trained to the required competence to ensure they are able to perform their specified job. In this way, staff will have the compentency to run the machines, read the work instructions, understand the specifications and the effects of their duties to produce your brake parts.

ISO/TS 16949:2009 7.6 Control of Monitoring and measuring Equipment
The machinery used for production and measurement must be maintained and calibrated with records so that they will continue to produce accurate readings. These machines must also be protected from damages and safeguarded from unauthorized adjustments that will invalidate their readings. Faulty or inaccurate measuring equipment can lead to products that are unable to conform to specifications leading to risk to user safety or product fit and function compromise.
ISO/TS 16949:2009 8.5.2 Corrective Action
In the case of a nonconformity, the part maker has to take appropriate actions to review the nonconformity which can come in any form and to address the customer complaint by finding out the cause, ensuring it does not recur, reviewing the corrective actions and recording them. This is extremely important as unforeseen circumstances might take place leading to a deviation from the intended plans and actions. Certified part makers are required to respond instead of sweeping it under the carpet. Corrective actions can be carried out for example using the 8-D (Eight Disciplines Problem Solving) concept which is a method developed at Ford Motor company used to engage and find resolution for problems faced.

The whole of the ISO/TS 16949:2009 is a complex set of requirements so only certified auditors are able to carry out system audits based on it. The full document can be purchased via the following link

The ISO/TS 16949:2009 will contribute to the consistency of products that reach your hands that meet all possible requirements defined by the factory in production. In short, if you are buying brake pads, you will get the part that can be installed without problems or risking health through unapproved elements within the composition of materials. The brake pads will also work according to the application it has been designed for and will not burst into pieces unless you exceed the defined circumstances the pads were designed for. The brake balance will work according to your vehicle design and under the correct circumstances drivers should not lose control of your vehicle through braking.

Therefore it is important to source for safety parts like your brakes, suspension, tyres and steering from sources that are ISO/TS 16949:2009 compliant as non compliant manufacturers might not have the necessary system to ensure the product works as intended or simply does not fail under normal operating circumstances.

Written by your friendly Anonymous Automotive Industry Insider.

In the necessarily detailed explanation by the contributor we see the emphasis on ensuring quality which has in fact a direct implication on us regular enthusiasts especially those such as myself who do visit the race track to test our machines and enjoy the driving experience. In the case of brakes, I can't think of anything possibly as bad as a brake failure when diving into the first corner of the long straight at Sepang Circuit!

It is of great assurance to note that Achilles Radial has secured the ISO/TS16949 to give the assurance of quality for the tyres manufactured and here is the picture from their website on this:

I'm hoping this slight departure from the usual article is as educational for you as it is for me and do check to see if your next potential purchase does indeed have the necessary certifications to give you the assurance that the quality is up to your expectations. Happy driving!

Thanks to:
The Anonymous Automotive Industry Insider for his sharing of his technical insight
Aie Mins of Peratography for his picture
AD.AM photography for his picture

Source and picture credit:

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Grassroots motorsports in 2015, plenty more in 2016...

Grassroots motorsports is a term that get tossed around pretty often and is commonly used to refer to motorsport activities which are accessible to the common man to build an interest in the general public for motorsports. Some events are handled with a greater emphasis on safety but others could probably benefit from a greater focus on risk management. Most Singapore motorsport enthusiasts usually cite how few activities are present but there are actually a fair number of options available.

Following my first ever gymkana / autocross style event namely the Grassroots Autotest organised by AutoMoment which you can read in more detail here: , I decided to attend another event on the 25th of October which would mark my virgin attempt at the Melaka International Motorsports Circuit or MIMC in short form which was held by the good folks of DriveRite . Having heard how tight and twisty the MIMC track was, I was wondering if my settings were optimized to being able to rotate well at the track.

Making my way down with two Scirocco drivers Eugene and Jason, we reached the circuit early after a smooth drive down the North South Highway to be welcomed by the serene quiet of the circuit.

Spirits were high, lifted by the bevy of cars attending the event and the camaderie in the pits was a joy to witness as the newcomers, such as myself, were extended a warm welcome by the more seasoned participants.

Here's a peek of the number and variety of rides attending the event

We soon convened in the briefing room for a rundown of the event proper where we were acquainted with the circuit, the event schedule including which classes each of us might be categorized under and relevant safety rules we had to adhere to.

Before each of us was let out on the track for our practice runs, we had to pass through a tent where a scrutineering check was done to ensure our cars were fit to get onto the circuit to do some laps. A Qstarz laptimer was also affixed during the check in order to ensure our lap times were logged for the basis of ranking and scoring. I was impressed by the emphasis on safety as that was a critical element in ensuring the success of the event.

Blessed by clear skies, it was soon enough that the event proper kicked off! We were allowed solo practice runs for us to familiarize ourselves with the track after which we had an opportunity to clock our fastest laps for individual ranking. Then followed a semi chase type format where 3 cars were allowed on the track with a conservative gap given between each to give a slight taste of the rush that wheel to wheel driving delivered.

After a trial run at the circuit, I soon found out that the challenge of the circuit was to be to ensure your car could be agile enough to quickly respond to constant changes of direction at low to medium speeds. As this track was built as a go kart track, the speeds that a road car could achieve are not very high but the infield section where the corners are tight and follow one after other challenge the driver to constantly keep the rotation in check until the earliest opportunity to straighten out for the higher speed straightaway.

From modern continental hot hatches to retro JDM 90's legends to humble family saloons, check out the awesome variety of rides taking part! 


Probably my favourite pic of my car during this event, perfect timing by Dion allowed him to get a snap of my car taking off with a touch of wheelspin on my solo run

Here's a video by Dion during one of my runs. The white puffs toward the apex are from the substance used to clear an oil spill which necessitated caution

Motorsport is usually a male dominated sport but diversity was present here as the lady participants here pounded the track with their machines with gusto!
During midday, additional entertainment was in store with a couple of purpose built track machines available for taxi rides along with lovely race queens strutting around the pits for photo opportunities


I enjoyed myself very much and was happy to walk away with a podium position despite the obvious lack of familiarity of the track. Although my car did seem more suited for wide open tracks in its setup, I was able to put into practice a fair bit of my car control skills and had fun trying to keep sideways during the tight twisty infield section (perhaps sliding a bit more than I should!)

Here's a video of the summary of events that were organized by the DriveRite team in 2015

Both the efforts by AutoMoment ( ) and DriveRite to bring the motorsports to the man on the street were even picked by the online media as evidenced by this Yahoo news article  Grassroots motorsports gaining popularity in Singapore.

 I'm really glad to see the options for local motorsport expanding so rapidly so car enthusiasts can really get to enjoy their rides safely in such events. I'm looking forward to more participation in 2016 so see you there too!

Here's a shoutout to those who helped make this possible:
Achilles Radial
Ardeca Lubricants Singapore
Whiteline SEA
Thian Seng Motors
Lim Tan Motor
Photo credits:
Dionysus Yeo aka Dion
W3R Photography
Rev Magazine