Archive for August 2012

Crimp Quality Process Validation and Monitoring Part Three

This is the final installment of Crimp Quality Process Validation and Monitoring.  In part one, we discussed pre-process validation. In part two we outlined real time monitoring process during production.  In this segment, we will discuss the calibration and machine capability of crimping presses as an integral part of an overall quality strategy.

Process Capability
Process Capability is the total variation in a production process and the ability for that process to be reproduce-able over time and within stated production specifications.  Measurements during the production process are taken then grouped together to form a histogram (bell curve). The distribution of measurement results provide an indication of present conformance of the item being produced.  Process Capability is a valuable tool for making changes to improve the production process. The capability of a production process is based on multiple factors which are common among almost all production processes The major factors are People, Machine, Methods and Materials. Each factor has its own process variation and contributes to the overall process capability.

In crimping a wire to a terminal, these factors above come into play and can be controlled at the plant level in different degrees.  For example:

Considering “People” as a factor, the manual locating of a terminal in a bench top crimp press is one level of variation. Training operators improves the process and is eliminated when an automatic processing machine is deployed.  Methods can range widely but could include maintenance schedules, operator and set up personnel training, set up and operating procedures.  Effects the Machine has on the process can include the machine age (wear and tear), maintenance and overall accuracy and repeatability of the machine itself.  Machines can include the crimp press, terminal applicator and in the case of an automated machine the robotic assembly to deliver a stripped wire to the crimp press.  The factor which the producer has less control is materials which include wire, terminals and weather seals.  In the case of materials, specifications are generally established by the material manufacturer within their own production process.

Crimp Press Capability

The machine component which can cause excessive variation in the process and which is the last area companies look to for process improvement is the crimp press itself.  Even with stable materials, methods, people and crimp applicators additional process variation can occur with the crimp press.  Presses have a long production life cycle and in that time bearing, crankshafts and ram assemblies can get worn. Which will show up as piece by piece variation.

The illustration at the left shows a chart of a crimp press which was calibrated and the press was cycled to determine peak crimp force per piece.  The top chart shows the shut height measurement and the bottom chart shows reference force.  Excessive variation can be found in the force chart on a piece by piece basis.  The shut height measurement was in control where the force was not in control.

The illustration at left was the same press after maintenance was performed to tighten up the press ram assembly.  The force measurements were brought into statistical control.  The shut height measurement also improved statistically. The result of this improvement will be a process that is in better statistical control and a product which will perform consistently better piece by piece.

The tool used is the C&S PAL3001 which can calibrate a press to the industry standard shut height and take force measurement readings to determine machine capability.

 

 

 

Wire Process Specialties can supply your crimp validation equipment and in-process measurement and data collection for ongoing process improvement.  Connect You Way to WPS find out more.

Etco Insulated Quick-Connects and New Innovations

Wire Process Specialties has a deep and rich history with Etco Incorporated spanning more than 30 years.  Etco is a manufacturer of high quality terminal stampings in reel form for attachment by automatic crimp dies.  Our customers appreciate the consistency in people and company operating philosophy.  Etco is privately owned and operated with two facilities, the corporate office, R&D and Manufacturing in Bradenton Florida and an engineering and manufacturing facility in Warwick Rhode Island.

In the late 1980’s the need for a high performance insulated quick connector was established. A connector which has superior crimping and insulating characteristics and can be applied in one stroke of a crimp applicator. Etco answered that challenge and the Etco Insulated terminal series was born.

The basic concept of the Etco Insulated terminal is a plastic insulator partly embedded over an open barrel quick connect.  The terminal is loaded into the applicator, the terminal is crimped on the downstroke of the press and the insulator is assembled over the terminal on the upstroke of the press. This connector assembly is a more reliable and better quality connector than the closed barrel insulated terminal alternate.

The Etco applicator is a mini style which can be mounted into most crimp presses semi-automated using an operator to present the wire, or fully automatic on a swing arm style wire process machine like the Schaefer Megomat Uno.  The applicator uses a  mechanical feed system for simple but accurate terminal feeding.  The insulator is inserted over the crimped terminal using an air cylinder which is activated on the applicator upstroke.

 

The Etco Insulated terminal series includes in line female quick connects from 1/8″ to 1/4″ width.  Interlocking 1/4″ males are available to mate with the Etco female quick connects. The Etco catalogue can be found on the Etco page of wireprocess.com

 

 New Product Introduction – the Etco Fully Insulated Flag Quick Connect

 A CSA and UL recognized flag quick connect has been part of the Etco product line for many years.  The back of the terminal was open due to the terminal construction but approved by the product safety standards. New UL standards are being published which include a tighter requirement to fully enclose the metal contact.

Etco has recently introduced a back to the flag terminal to make the Etco Flag series the first in the market to meet the new UL standard.

 

 The back of the Etco flag is assembled onto the crimped terminal by an external assembly machine.  The terminal is presented into the assembly machine and activated. The terminal back is inserted into apertures in the terminal housing.

To view the advertisement from Etco on the new terminal, click here.

 

 

Etco, another valued Global Technology Partner shows how Wire Process Specialties can fully supply your wire processing needs. Connect Your Way to Wire Process Specialties to let us help you solve your wire processing challenges.

 

Wire and Cable Connector – Choosing the Right Heat Shrink Product

In the July/August issue of the Wire and Cable connector, an article was published selecting the right heat shrink product. This article was written by Grayline Inc, a supplier of Heat Shrink Tube.

To view this document, click here. To view the website and subscribe to the digital or print editions of the Wire and Cable Connector, click here.

The Judco Focus Lite is an energy efficient method of processing heat shrink tube.

Wire Process is committed to assisting our customers in producing the highest quality at the lowest cost by supplying high performance processing solutions and connector systems. Connect Your Way today to WPS to find out more.

Wire and Cable Connector – Wire Pre-Feeding.

In the July/August issue of the Wire and Cable connector, valued Global Technology Partner: Lakes Precision published an article on Wire Pre-Feeding. This is part one of a series on Wire Processing Essentials.

Pre-Feeding is an essential pre-process to processing a wire or cable. A powered or passive pre-feed provides assistance when pulling wire from a reel. A pre-feed reduces the back pressure from the dead weight of a reel. The resistance from a reel is the primary cause of piece to piece variation in overall cut length and strip length. A pre-feed also reduces the strain on the feed drives of the primary processor (cut or cut and strip), prolonging the life of the feed drives.

To view the Lakes article in Wire and Cable Connector, click here. To visit Wire and Cable Connector and subscribe to the digital and print editions at no charge, click here.

The Carpenter 58B powered pre-feed in the video above can be operated with the Carpenter Compu-Cut or Compu-Strip machines like the Compu-Cut 97A. For lighter duty processing, the Carpenter 56A can be mounted to a table.

Connect Your Way to WPS to hear more about our Global Technology solutions for wire processing.

Crimp Quality Process Validating and Monitoring: Part Two

In part one of this series, we covered the critical steps used to validate a wire to terminal crimp prior to initiating production on a wire lead or harness. In part two we will uncover some of the processes companies currently deploy to monitor the crimping process during production.

Although companies still perform an in production spot check of crimp quality using validation methods (crimp height, pull test), these methods show compliance to crimp specifications on a single piece at a time during production and do not demonstrate full statistical capability of the process.  Visual inspection is another method.  But as we have seen with the cross sections illustrated in part one, significant variation could be occurring inside the crimp that is invisible to the inspector.  It has been shown that 100% visual (human)  inspection is only 80% effective over time.  Given 20 out of 100 parts may not be properly inspected, there is a potential for parts to be supplied that are not to specification.

In process monitoring methods are now used to ensure each wire termination meets crimp force specifications. Crimp force monitoring is the common in process method used which we will outline. New methods are emerging in the future, one which we will briefly cover.

Crimp Force Monitoring

Crimp Force Monitors (also known as Crimp Quality Monitors, CFM or CQM) measure crimp force of each terminations in real time.  CFMs take force readings from the start to the end of the crimp cycle using a force sensor which is mounted in the base plate under the applicator, the ram adaptor above the applicator or on the press frame.  The readings are received by the crimp monitor base unit which compiles and creates a crimp curve.  The crimp curve is compared with a reference crimp curve, created by a teach in process at the beginning of production.  Crimp errors such as high and low insulation, wrong wire size and cut strands are typical defects detected.  Not so typical defects include strands partially encapsulated and laminated to the top of the crimp. When a defect is detected, a signal can be sent to the processing machine to stop or initiate a reject cut off sequence if installed.

You will find below an example of a normal curve from data points compiled from a single crimp.  Also two more crimp curves showing common crimp defects.

 The illustration above shows a normal crimp curve with no variation from the teach in reference sample. In the case of the C&S MX series crimp monitors, the crimp curve is split into three vertical sections which have tolerances applied on each side of the reference (teach in) curve.  Each zone has a separate tolerance band which is progressively tighter as the press reaches bottom dead center and crimp force is at its peak. The chart below the curve is a point by point visual of the variation above or below the reference point from the teach in.  In the case of the normal curve, very little variation is shown.

The illustration above shows the effect of strands cut and missing from the crimp. The measured result (in yellow) shows lower results and an error condition starting in the second and continuing through the third zones.  The point by point variation also shows this condition.

In the illustration above, the insulation was embedded in the conductor crimp which is also known as “high insulation”.  As the conductor crimp wings make contact with the insulation and see excess resistance, the forces spike quickly but then drop off as quickly in the first zone.  Then the crimp force does not reach the required peak through the third zone and an under load error occurs.

The crimp force monitoring process is now a standard in most wire and cable harness facilities and is mandated as a minimum quality measurement tool  for automotive harnesses. The C&S MX series crimp monitors operate as a standalone solution for a bench press or installed onto multi station automated wire processing machines.  Connected with the BBMX client server network, the MX series provides a cross platform data logging and monitoring system for plant wide quality assurance.

New Crimp Monitoring Technologies

Crimp force has been the standard in process method of measuring crimp quality for over 15 years.  In the coming years, vision systems will be an additional tool for monitoring crimp quality.  The video below shows the C&S CVM-2 vision system with two cameras and monitors in simulation of a crimped wire passing through and being measured at high speed by the cameras.

 Wire Process Specialties partners with C&S Technologies, a global leader in the supply of crimp process validation and monitoring systems.  We can supply simple inspection tools or create a complete integrated system for plant wide control of the crimping process.  Connect Your Way to Wire Process Specialties to get a personalized assessment of your requirements.

Part 3 of this series outlining crimp press calibration coming soon.