August '18

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50 • RV PRO • August 2018 rv-pro.com O R I G I N A L E Q U I P M E N T 2017, the company opened its Innova- tion Center in Elkhart, Ind., to serve the RV industry. Winegard also operates two remote engineering sites, in Quincy and Elgin, Ill. Whipple says part of the reason behind the Innovation Center is to make it easier for the company's RV customers to work with Winegard on product development. "We have trucks delivering product daily to the Elkhart area, but it's about a five-hour drive from Burlington," he says. "It's tough for a lot of our cus- tomers to come here to work on product development, so we've tried to make it convenient for them to learn about dif- ferent technologies and how the changes in technologies are going to impact their different products and their customers." Todd Wibben, the general manager of Winegard's mobile division, adds that the center allows his team to work on more than just products with the RV OEMs. "We also have a training center there," Wibben says. "It's not unusual for us to have 18 to 20 people in for classes, some of them from the OEMs and some from the dealers." Both aspects of the RV chain are important t o W i n e g a r d . Fo r instance, the company estimates that as many as 90 percent of all RVs have a wireless antenna to receive over-the-air digital HDTV that is installed at the factory. As for some of the o t h e r t e c h n o l o g i e s the company offers, Whipple says they may or may not be factory installed, although as the need for connectivity grows the OEMs are rethinking that. "As you move into the Wi-Fi prod- ucts, the LTE products and the satellite products, a lot of times because of the different providers someone may sign up with and the different styles of them, those lean a little more toward the after- market side," Whipple says. "Obviously, from page 46 Jason Johannsen secures screws into the cover of a Winegard satellite antenna in an assembly cell at the Burlington, Iowa, facility. Top: Jessica Lohmeyer places a printed circuit board into an automated tester. This is an initial step of testing after electronic parts are soldered onto the board by going through a wave solder machine.

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