RVing in Australia (or caravanning, as it’s known there), tends to be a more rough and challenging experience than it is in the United States.
That’s because Australian campers tend to travel off the beaten path, requiring their caravans – and the equipment in those units – to stand up to demanding conditions, particularly when venturing into the sometimes-unforgiving Australian Outback.
Now, Australia-based supplier REDARC is looking to leverage its expertise in manufacturing built-tough vehicle monitoring and control systems with the North American launch of its RedVision Total Vehicle Management System. (RedVision is already used by more than a dozen Australian RV manufacturers.)
Targeting a wide range of recreational enthusiasts in the U.S. and Canada, company officials say RedVision automates, consolidates and communicates critical motorhome, camper and four-wheel-drive vehicle information through a convenient in-vehicle display or app, giving users a wide range of information and control at their fingertips. Company officials also tout the product’s user-friendly interface and an intuitive layout that can be customized.
Featuring Bluetooth connectivity and a smartphone app, RedVision provides users with the ability to remotely turn on or off multiple devices in their RV, such as lights, radios, TVs, inverters, water-pumps, air compressors, electric steps and fridges. It also allows them to monitor six water levels and two temperature settings, as well as overall energy consumption (battery power) and storage.
Additionally, RedVision can be programmed to shut off all switches and devices once the vehicle ignition is turned on, trigger a user notification for a blown fuse, and even analyze the power performance of solar panels, as well as the availability of battery power down to the day or hour, according to the company.
Offering Integration with Battery Management System
When RedVision is paired with REDARC’s Manager30 Battery Management
System (which has already been available in the North American market for some time), users have access to secondary battery power consumption and storage data, as well as real-time status on the state of a charge. This feature educates users about the rate at which their home battery is discharging and when solar or DC power must be introduced to replenish it.
Collectively, these features translate to complete transparency and “the beauty of it all is that travelers can head to the mountains, pull into a campsite off-grid and just start living,” says Craig Herriot, export manager for REDARC.
There are other products on the market that offer some of the features that RedVision does, but they don’t generally work as well or in such a coordinated way, according to Herriot.
“While those (competing) products can be difficult and timely to install, ours is more comprehensive, user-friendly and easy to install,” he says. “Another key difference between REDARC and the competition is that RedVision provides power for all electrical loads in an RV.”
Herriot also touts RedVision’s streamlined installation process, thanks to its simple connec- tions and CAN architecture, which requires less wiring and crimping of components. Plus,
the number of components, tools and material required for installs are significantly reduced, according to the company.
Installers simply connect and wire everything into the distribution box terminals, saving labor time. And with multiple systems combined into one screen, RedVision is designed to offer an easy-to-use system integration.
To support its OEM and retailer partners, REDARC offers extensive training, including step-by-step installation videos.
“Additionally, qualified resources are available to support our partners, assisting with everything from product selection to installation and technical support,” says Herriot. “We pride ourselves in making it easy for the customer – no matter who that customer is.”
The company also touts its promotional materials for retailers, as well as its two-year product warranty.
Expanding Its North American Presence
While REDARC’s RedVision system is new to the U.S. and Canadian markets, the supplier already has an established presence in the North American RV aftermarket thanks to its strategic partnership with national distributor NTP-STAG. REDARC has made its electronic voltage converters, power supplies and battery chargers, and brake controllers available to the RV aftermarket here in recent years.
Now, calling upon its long-standing relationships with Australian RV manufacturers like Lotus Caravans, Masterpiece Caravans, Track Trailer, Mountain Trail Campers and Patriot Campers, REDARC looks to expand its footprint further through strategic partnership with OEMs across North America.
“The REDARC brand is asked for by name and customers trust REDARC partners to be high-quality manufacturers,” says Marion Jones, brand manager for REDARC, who says that success is the result of ongoing collaboration. “Our (Australian) OEM partners are constantly involved in product development for new models and new products specific to their needs. We always discuss what we are both working on and aim for a new product release together.”
From dealers and end users to distributors and OEMS, “We have such a great relationship with all our customers and are always acting on their valuable feedback,” says Anthony Kittel, owner and CEO of REDARC, who adds that he views suggestions as opportunities for growth.
Since its debut in Australia, RedVision has earned accolades, including a 2018 award from Good Design Australia, an international design promotion organization, which lauded RedVision for offering “a clean integrated solution that is reliable and robust, with a clever interface that is super simple to use and operate.”
Moving forward, Herriot says he foresees immense potential for RedVision in the North American market.
“The RV market continues to trend toward a high-level of automation and ultimate user control of those systems,” he says. “Our product line is a great fit and the North American RV market is similar to Australia in many ways, so it is natural diversification for us.”
With a knack for keeping travelers comfortable in remote areas, REDARC’s strategic focus in North America is off- grid travel – whether through traditional overlanding or via the RV market.
“It’s an exciting time at REDARC,” says Herriot. “Our first step was getting all of the proper logistics set up and investing in the right resources so that we can mirror the high levels of technical support in Australia right here in the States.”
Next, “We’re focused on increasing brand and product awareness across the U.S. Of course, we’ll also be looking closely at what has happened over the last three years and continue to tailor our products to more closely align with the North American market,” says Jones. “Growth and recruitment of U.S.-based personnel will really set the foundation for significant growth in the next five years.”
A Powerhouse Supplier Down Under
While the REDARC name is still catching on in North America, the company is well-known in its native Australia.
From humble beginnings in 1979 as a manufacturer of vehicle ignition systems and voltage converters from a tin shed in Lonsdale, South Australia, the company has evolved over four decades to become a leading advanced electronics manufacturer that services both domestic and international markets.
Two years ago, REDARC spent about $15 million to expand its facility, which included the addition of 33,000 square feet of advanced manufacturing space. New, state-of-the-art equipment was added, including a surface-mount technology line for loading electronic components, as well as an electromagnetic compatibility chamber, a vibration test lab and three Universal Collaborative Robots, or “Cobots”.
Kittel says the massive expansion has allowed the company to boost its manufacturing capacity by 250 percent and significantly increases productivity.
“REDARC is the best manufacturing facility in the southern hemisphere as it applies to the electronics field. That, to me, is significant for what was a small business,” he says. “Next, our goal is to leverage that tech and this environment to create great products that delight our customers around the world.”
With more than 250 years combined experience in the engineering department, a purpose-built design and manufacturing facility, as well as a hand-picked production team, Kittel says REDARC has the capability to conceptualize, design, test and manufacture a wide range of premium products such as RedVision.
Jones says the company remains focused on exploring innovative product development, increasing its distribution channels even further and leveraging its existing expertise to expand its international footprint.
“A solid foundation and legacy of industry knowledge, manufacturing and leadership lends credibility as we expand into North America,” explains Jones, who believes the best is yet to come. “Forty years of proven experience keeps us hungry and curious, while affording our business leaders the opportunity to take some calculated risks.”
With a product roadmap that extends out about five years, Herriot says REDARC intends to introduce new and improved products every few years. With advances in automation and widespread wireless networks looming, Herriot says he believes product innovation for safety, power management and control systems are the future of REDARC.
“(Given that) the North American market is 11 times the size of Australia – there is a lot of potential,” he says. “So, I am particularly excited about the next 40 years.”