The Siren Board

Discussion of Outdoor Warning Systems
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:08 pm 
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Real Name: Kurt
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Thought this was interesting.
A friend of mine emailed me this news clip about American Signal. Didn’t notice anything off at first, shiny new sirens, nice manufacturing plant they have there.

Then we get to the anechoic chamber... and here’s where things get... well... interesting if you ask me.

If you don’t notice it at first I don’t know what to say, but here’s what I noticed:

At 2:01 in the video, in the sound chamber, you can see two i-Forces...okay, this is normal. Then the camera pans over and my mouth falls open...because I see in ASC’s factory none other than a Federal Signal Modulator!

Couple Questions Here:

A. Is it normal for competitors to do this??
B. Would this violate any legal implications (i.e. patent infringement, etc.)
C. Anyone know why ASC would want to study competition sirens? Are they trying to correct what they deem design faults and not do the same on their sirens (the I-Force)? This seems plausible to me but also seems like it’d make for some legal implications either way.

Just wanted to get some input on this. By no means am I trying to get ASC in trouble or anything, they are in this business too and I can certainly understand from a business perspective (my father was an engineer for a biomedical company for many years and they’d often study competitors’ hip implants and things to modify their own) why they’d do this but it certainly was still pretty odd to say the least.

Just an observation.

Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w56P-nGBj-0

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My YouTube Channel | Summit County Siren Map | Cuyahoga County Siren Map


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:02 pm 
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fire_freak_57 wrote: *
Couple Questions Here:

A. Is it normal for competitors to do this??
B. Would this violate any legal implications (i.e. patent infringement, etc.)
C. Anyone know why ASC would want to study competition sirens? Are they trying to correct what they deem design faults and not do the same on their sirens (the I-Force)? This seems plausible to me but also seems like it’d make for some legal implications either way.

Just wanted to get some input on this. By no means am I trying to get ASC in trouble or anything, they are in this business too and I can certainly understand from a business perspective (my father was an engineer for a biomedical company for many years and they’d often study competitors’ hip implants and things to modify their own) why they’d do this but it certainly was still pretty odd to say the least.
A. I'd say it's pretty normal activity. For example, NBC's newsrooms contain a competitor's channel monitor to make sure they're broadcasting breaking news before others (or so they told me). I'm speculating here but it seems that they were pitting the Modulator against those I-Forces at that time. If this were true, then I think they would be doing what your father does in his industry, as in making their own design better for its application, and ultimately better than their competitor's product. I'd be surprised if they were going to reverse-engineer it on the grounds that they have their own siren similar to Federal's Modulator.
B. I don't think so, as they are legally a customer to Federal and have bought one of their products. What they do with the product then is none of anyone's business. Again, this is pretty standard in my world for other companies to look at their competition to determine how to be better and gain more market share. A good example of this is someone from China faxing over the product designs for my father's plastering equipment and reverse-engineering the products to sell as their own. Fax machine generated loads of lines on the paper which the Chinese interpreted as parts (which made the products unsafe), however these additional parts helped them avoid legal action from my father. This was because their products were based on his design; they weren't exact copies.
C. I believe it is mainly because they want their products to be the best in the industry so they can get as many out of the factory and into communities and increase their overall share of the siren market. This is a very similar question to B.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:04 am 
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I'm willing to bet it's for competition evaluation to improve their products.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:52 am 
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Nothing out of the ordinary occurring with this practice. All of the competition buys each others' products and tires to improve upon them. That's what makes competition so fun. You can go to any other manufacturer here in the US and find something they didn't make. I have seen Whelens at Sentry, ASC/ACA products at Federal, they all do it.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:28 am 
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They've had that Mod for years now. It's a used unit, dead giveaway being the dull paint that's on it.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 2:18 pm 
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Real Name: Keith Foor
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Common practice to evaluate the competitions product and make yours better.
I work in the public safety communications arena. Specifically dealing with Motorola Solutions gear as a dealer.
There were a number of stories about 'vans' that would show up in Schaumburg Il, and run around by Moto HQ trying to hear what they were doing as Motorola has always set the standard for two way communications. Everything that we see today in that field, they basically did first and everyone else tried to copy its functionality in some way to compete.

Part of evaluating the other guys stuff is that if you claim you are louder, or draw less power or whatever you are doing better at, you need to be able to prove it. Only way to do that is to test their gear and they exceed their specs. And yes, you tear apart their stuff, reverse engineer it, and then see how to make it better. IF they are running a belt drive, you build yours with a gear drive, or a Lovejoy connector or something that will never need maintenance. Federal with the induction repulsion motor was a big step forward on capacitor start motors because brushes last longer, and when you are servicing something 50 foot in the air, You want the most reliability possible. That's what you market you stuff on.


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