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Prototyping Product for the New Ford Bronco – A World Away

Prototyping is where the rubber hits the road (literally). After designers paint the vision, engineers bring the masterpiece into the real world. What first looks good on a sketchpad, then looks great on a screen, finally comes alive with steel. 

ARB prototypes are hand-built at Headquarters in Kilsyth, Australia. This allows engineering and product management teams to test-fit accessories to vehicles and make adjustments before the factory prepares to produce the accessory on a grand scale. Each angle, bolt hole, surface, and finish is inspected, installed, uninstalled, and reinstalled to ensure what goes into production will hold up to ARB’s rigid standards of quality and illustrious reputation.. 

Working with hand-built Australian prototypes in North America requires racking up frequent-flier miles. For the new Ford Bronco, both parts and vehicles end up on planes. ARB engineering has teams on both sides of the Pacific co-developing products alongside Ford. This includes passing measurements, test results, CAD models, and “heaps” of steel back and forth.

Test fitting also requires getting hands (and accessories) dirty. An accessory might bolt up perfectly to a new Bronco, but what will the body-mount tolerances look like on washboards, rocks, and ruts? How will the electrical hold up to water fording? What happens when the engine and transmission are operating at extreme temperatures? How much will the vehicle’s weight fluctuate when the gas tank (or battery?) is empty? 

ARB 4×4 Accessories are known around the globe for quality and reliability. Questions like these must be answered by ARB’s engineering team well before the factories start welding, folding, or painting. The brutality of the Australian Outback remains the primary proving grounds for ARB accessories, but occasionally engineering will try something less punishing like Moab or the Rubicon Trail. 

For a time-tested company that’s built 4×4 accessories for hundreds of applications, a project like the Ford Bronco brings ARB new territory for its endless innovation. 

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