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Research and Development
Creating smart solutions means spending a lot of time on research and development. Our product managers continuously conduct consumer research to investigate potential new designs and how to improve existing ones. This includes focus groups, warranty and claims studies, surveys and interviews with active lifestyle enthusiasts. Direct feedback from consumers helps Thule develop and refine its designs and technologies to directly benefit the consumer.
Thule constantly maintains a 3-year product plan into the future that determines which categories and products to address. With more than 500 current patents, we are at the forefront of exclusive developments that set the industry standard.
Our products are designed to last, which is why we closely monitor warranties and claims. Our warranty claims specialists review user issues as well as any kind of claims that involve property loss or damage to determine which issues currently need attention and which have been resolved. They also monitor the feedback in order to gain insight on how to make instructions and designs more user-friendly.
Once a design has been properly researched and approved for development, a list of deliverables is created and the product manager and engineer work together to provide an actual concept and prototype. A lot of time is spent analyzing the design and specified materials to make sure that form follows function – and the design works optimally. An FEA (Finite Element Analysis) is conducted through computer simulation to identify any weak links. Only after it has passed that test does it proceed to the Quality Test Centre where it undergoes aggressive testing to determine how the components and design will fare in real circumstances – even more extreme than typical use.