DIAMOND BAR, Calif.—A trade group is considering the opening of a second innovation facility to help members develop new products, and the new location could be on the East Coast.
Tyson Boyer is chairman of the Wheel & Tire Council for the Specialty Equipment Market Association, which already operates one such location called the SEMA Garage at its Diamond Bar headquarters near Los Angeles.
"There are plans in place, but nothing is confirmed at this time," Boyer said on a WTC telephone conference call May 6. "We'll share more details on that as it is ironed out and as we receive completion or acceptance that it is 100 percent."
Trade groups, which advocate for their particular industries, often are based in and around the Washington, D.C., area, but certainly not exclusively. So SEMA is a bit unique with its West Coast headquarters.
"A little bird on the window said that it's potentially on the East Coast," Boyer said about the possible new SEMA Garage. "I know that's one of the questions for many who are on the East Coast. 'Hey, it's so far to go to the headquarters.' So stay tuned. More to come on that."
The first SEMA Garage covers 15,000 square feet and provides tools and equipment to help association members develop new products.
"It's the only known facility of its kind in the United States," according to SEMA.
Establishing a second SEMA Garage would help members in the eastern portion of the country because they would not have to travel as far to take advantage of the services, Boyer told members who were on the call.
"Covering 15,000 square feet and filled with nearly $2 million of equipment, the SEMA Garage includes all the tools specialty product developers could hope for and then some, including two vehicle lifts, a portable coordinate measuring machine (CMM) for 3D scanning, a 3D printer for fast prototyping, digital race car scales for the most precise vehicle weight measurements, a dynamometer for precise emissions measurements and more," SEMA said in describing the West Coast site.
SEMA members create thousands of new vehicle tools and accessories each year, some with universal fitments, the group said. But others are "model-specific applications that require significantly more research and development."
This is where the SEMA Garage can help members with their new creations. The garage provides a variety of services, including technology transfer, installation, custom scanning, 3-D printing, measuring, emissions compliance and training.