Force multiplication can be defined as making one tool serve more than one purpose. In the case of the LED-bar covers made at Brute Force in San Diego, Ca, owner and founder Ron Hanak used the advanced material and assembly capabilities already intrinsic to his upholstery business to develop and manufacture a line of fitted covers alongside the company's extant production. "I've been fortunate to be able to cross-pollinate my affinity for off-road and Brute Force covers with the ongoing family operation at Century Upholstery," smiled Hanak.
You may not know it, but in California, most auxiliary lighting on four-wheeling and desert-style trucks requires a cover when on the road. Regarding this non-factory lighting, traffic code Section 24411 states, in part, "The lamps... whenever the vehicle is operated or driven upon a highway, shall be covered or hooded with an opaque hood or cover, and turned off."
Is your light bar covered?
Other states and municipalities have similar regulations. The unavoidable need for dual-purpose function of folks' on and off-road vehicles (usually street-driven four-wheeling trucks and vehicles that are used in open country at night) was an impetus of CEO Hanak's original designs for Brute Force (thought he wouldn't confess as to having been ticketed for it).
"We're able to use the same high-end materials that Century buys, like Keyston's marine-grade, anti-microbial, UV-stabilized fabrics, so we can put a five-year guarantee on our covers made with vinyl, and a three-year guarantee for neoprene," Hanak elaborated. "The thread we use is called Sunguard – heavy-duty all-weather UV-stable stuff made for awnings and outdoor furniture. Even the velcro is outdoor-friendly marine-grade material."
Because there are far too many ways to arrange and install high-powered desert lighting, you'd expect a lot of fitments. The materials used at Brute Force are largely cut-to-fit during assembly, so the professional seamstresses (ala Century Upholstery) can craft covers for custom sizes and curved light bars up to 54-inches wide, or down to a little four-inch pod covers. The velcro closures run the full width of the light bar so you don't need to worry about a loose fit or flapping material. That in-house control also means custom printing and embroidery is done in the same building, not by a third-party vendor.
Brute Force's LED covers are also being manufactured for LED lighting manufacturers as a factory cover option. "We make inventory as fast as we can – it sells out as quickly as we stock it. The fastest seller is the straight 52-inch double-row cover, and we get enough orders to keep a few colors in stock."
Having manufacturing localized means Hanak has no excuse but to be on top of quality control and what goes out the door. He had enough material to spare that he was able do a little testing of his own, which included wind noise (Brute Force covers wrap the entire lamp body, which reduces wind noise over the housing's cooling vanes). Speaking of cooling: tests of a fully-covered 52-inch LED bar, left on for two hours in the sun (on a JK – it's just a Jeep) revealed that even when covered, the LEDs didn't even get hot to the touch. These covers are designed to be left on for long periods; heat, sun or garage-kept.