Archive for July 2015

Processing with Lasers

Laser Processing is a very well established technology that is used in a large range of applications. In fact 2015 is the 50th anniversary of the first industrial laser. Industries such as Medical and Industrial manufacturing facilities use lasers. Wire Processing has well defined processing methods: measure to length, cut and marking of wire, wire stripping, crimping terminals, assembling to a wire harness and electrical testing. A number of other methods are also deployed such as Ultrasonic Splicing and Heat Shrink Tube Processing. The laser as a technology in wire processing supports applications that cannot be done with a traditional wire stripping or marking method. In these cases, contact processing of wire (blades, hot impression onto insulation) runs a risk of damage to the insulation or conductors. This is very critical in mission critical applications such as medical and aerospace. A wire harness or wire lead is a component of a larger assembly which can include enclosures and connection to other electrical devices and electronics such as printed circuit boards. Even these assemblies have application possibilities with lasers. In this posting we will demonstrate some of these applications.

Wire Stripping

Lasers are used in applications such as Teflon coated twisted pair cable, where contact with a blade risks nicking the insulation on the inner conductors or the braided shield.

Marking and Engraving

A laser can be used to apply a mark to a number of materials including metal and plastic.  By adjusting the focal point of the laser, a mark can be applied to the surface or engrave deep into the surface of the material being marked.

IC Decapsulation

Lasers can be used in IC Decapsulation to remove layers of material to inspect the chip’s underlying circuits.

Cutting

Laser cutting is a common application in manufacturing.  A laser can cut materials to length as well as complex assemblies with many cuts or holes as illustrated below.

Welding

Laser welding is used in a number of applications including jewelry. Lasers provide localized heat with short cycle time to minimize distortion of surrounding materials

TJ Curtis Technologies Inc and our WireProcess Specialties Division provide solutions to companies who manufacture a large range of products. We are constantly looking for ways to help our customers improve their productivity and reduce processing costs. Connect Your Way today to begin.

Wire Processing Solutions for Communication Cables

Wire Processing Techniques span a number of assembly categories. In this posting we cover some of the processing methods used in assembling a communication cable.

We will focus on a  few cable types that represent the wider variety of communications cable assemblies and share processing methods.

Coaxial Cable

Coax cable generally has several layers including an outer jacket, woven metal shield and dielectric insulation over a center conductor.  Most applications require two or three stage stripping. This wire is normally crimped into a round coaxial connector. Stripping specifications are specified by the connector manufacturer to match the connector. The connectors are loose piece and have a pin that is crimped to the center conductor and the housing is placed over the wire and crimped on. The trend of coaxial cable is consistent with other wire, that is the range is increasing. We are seeing micro coax cables and at the other end large cable such as LMR400 for large telecomm installations such as cell towers.

Wire Cut to Length.

As this wire is typically stripped in two or three stages in an offline process (see Wire Strip), wire is separately cut to length.

Model 31 manual cutter from Carpenter Manufacturing

Model 31 manual cutter from Carpenter Manufacturing

Wire Strip

As mentioned above, this wire is normally stripped in two of three stages in a fixed strip length that is specified by the connector manufacturer. These multiple stages are processed using a programmable unit which can process multiple strips in sequence. Or separating the two or three processes onto separately adjusted stripping heads. See illustrations below.

Carpenter Model 74

Schaefer ST730 Coaxial Wire Stripper

Schaefer ST730 Coaxial Wire Stripper

Rittmeyer Beri.Co.Max Coaxial Wire Stripper for large cable.

Rittmeyer Beri.Co.Max Coaxial Wire Stripper for large cable.

Crimp

Crimping coaxial connectors is also a two step process. A terminal is crimped to the center conductor. The connector housing is assembled over the wire and crimped to the insulation. The crimp is normally hex shaped.  Hand or bench equipment for loose piece terminals is used to crimp both the center conductor and connector housing.

Wezag CS30 Hand Crimp Tool

Wezag CS30 Hand Crimp Tool

CS300 Electric Crimper for Loose Piece terminals.

Wezag CS300 Electric Crimper for Loose Piece terminals.

 

Automated processing of coaxial wire is possible for high volume applications.

RJ11 and RJ45 Cables

Cut and Strip

Cut and strip of RJ11 or RJ45 is possible. This wire is either flat (as pictured below) or round. Flat or radius blades are required to provide the desired nick and scrape free results.

RJ11 Parallel Wire Stripped on Carpenter Compu-Strip 97A.

RJ11 Parallel Wire Stripped on Carpenter Compu-Strip 97A.

Strip

Inner conductors and the outer jacket (round cable) can also be stripped stripped using rotary or blade style of wire strippers as illustrated below. Results are application dependent as some wire is irregular in shape.

Carpenter Model 72C

Carpenter Model 78

Crimp

Modular plugs are loose piece and require a linear action crimp head to crimp (Insulation displacement) modular plugs. The crimp heads are designed to process all leads at one time. Crimping can be done on the CS300 as pictured above or a pneumatic powered crimper like the SSC below.

Multi-Conductor Cables

Cut and Strip

A cut and strip machine as described for the RJ11/45 wire above can also be used to remove the outer jacket of a multi-conductor wire.  Radius blades may be required for some applications. For larger volume applications, wire processing machines are available where the outer jacket and inner conductors are processed at the same time.

Strip

In addition to the outer jacket stripping using a bench top rotary as described above, larger cross sections and longer strip lengths may require a heavy duty wire stripper as illustrated below.

Crimp

Crimping can be loose piece using the CS300 or SSC as described above or reel form terminals on strip.

Side Feed applicator from Applitek.

Side Feed applicator from Applitek.

Summary

As shown by the above applications, there are cross over techniques to these three examples. And by extension, other similar communication wire types. Finding the proper mix of processing methods is important to optimize a specific customer requirement. And that requires a partner that has the broad application knowledge and connections to produce the desired result.  WireProcess Specialties is that partner. We have the resources and partnerships you need. Connect Your Way to WireProcess Specialties.

Make or Buy: It’s your choice

To produce your sub-assemblies in house or purchase them from an outside vendor. That is a question that OEM Manufacfturers ask themselves constantly. Is there a clear answer? Not really, read on..

The topic of this post states “It’s your choice. As part of the decision making process have you considered all of the factors in your decision?  Each company and situation is different but the factors used to make a decision are fairly common.  So let’s uncover them.

Buying Sub-Assemblies: The Advantages

Buying from an outside vendor does have it’s advantages.

  • No Capital investment.
  • Application specific expertise from Vendor
  • No raw material inventory to maintain.
  • No direct labor required.

Making Sub-Assemblies: The Advantages

Making your own sub-assemblies also has clear advantages

  • Production Flexibility
  • Not waiting for Vendor lead time.
  • Preserve raw material in a non-processed state and producing lower quantities as needed.
  • Not paying overhead cost and profit margins as part of the Vendor price.

Simplicity vs Complexity, a sliding scale.

Most decisions are made based on a number of factors. In general our observation is there is a sliding scale of complexity which when all factors are combined, provides a clearer decision making process.

Processing steps: Simple one or two step assembly to complex multi step assembly. For example, measure, cut and strip being one or two steps and terminal crimping being another to form a single wire lead. More complex assemblies include terminal block loading, heat shrink or convoluted tube covering over multiple wires. Producing a complete wire harness.

Capital Investment: Single (cut, strip or crimp) or two stage (cut and strip) processing tools are fairly low cost. Adding additional processing steps like the above mentioned block load, heat shrinking adds additional capital cost. Leasing processing tools through lease to purchasing programs can spread the cost of the capital investment over time.

Volume: Low volume assemblies are easier to make in house as they do not take up a lot of resources, high volume is easier to move to an outside vendor to preserve resources.

Floor space: A few small bench top machines do not take up a lot of space. But consider space for raw materials (wire, terminals, tubing etc..). As the processing steps and volumes increase, additional space may be required.

Labour: Do you have sufficient labour resources to set up, operate and maintain equipment required? Also do you have or can you acquire the assembly knowledge to produce quality assemblies. Are your labour costs higher (or lower) than an outside vendor?

Longevity: What is the life span of the product? Is it sustained long enough to recover the capital equipment costs? Can the equipment be used in a next generation project?

All of these factors can be placed on a sliding scale. For example Capital Investment on assembly processing equipment may be low in relationship to the volume. Floor space may be at a premium as well as labour shortage or required processing knowledge may not be available. If the longevity of the product is high then it may make sense to bring the assembly in house. Conversely if the Capital cost is high in relation to the product life span, it would be better to utilize the existing Capital of an outside supplier.

As said in the beginning, there is no easy answer to this question. But if you consider all of the above factors and place them on a scale from simple to complex, then an objective decision can be made.

 

Electrical Wire Processing Technology Expo 2015 in Review: Part Two

This is part two of our Wire Processing Expo 2015 coverage. In part one, we covered a few of the products from ETCO, Schaefer Megomat and Wezag Tools. This issue will complete our coverage with product displays of new technology.

C&S Technologies

C&S a leader in quality validation and monitoring technologies had their whole lineup on display. C&S has a range of solutions available including press calibration, crimp monitoring, crimp cross sectioning and data collection.

Crimp Inspection Station

Crimp Inspection Station

 

Applitek Technologies

Applitek is a leader in mini style applicators. Side and rear feed applicators were on display as well as a number of special designs.

Side Feed applicator from Applitek.

Side Feed applicator from Applitek.

 Carpenter Manufacturing

In addition to the standard lineup of bench top measure, cutting and stripping solutions, Carpenter displayed the new single and dual coil pans. These coil pans can be integrated into the Compu-Cut or Compu-Strip series machines.

Model 58B pre-feed and 97A on new single bowl coil pan.

Model 58B pre-feed and 97A on new single bowl coil pan.

Carpenter Mfg

Carpenter Mfg Dual Bowl Coil Pan.

Control Laser

WPS’ most recent Global Technology Partner is Control Laser. Control Laser is celebrating 50 years in business in 2015. Control Laser is a leader in marking, etching, engraving and cutting.  On display was the No Nic series hand held and Bench top wire stripper.

The Control Laser No Nic Hand Held wire stripper.

The Control Laser No Nic Hand Held wire stripper.

Lakes Precision

Lakes supplies blades for wire processing machines. A well established supplier of choice to OEM suppliers for their requirements, Lakes provides a full range of blade designs for most OEM suppliers and their respective machines. All from the Lakes modern facility in Wisconsin.

Lakes Blade

We enjoyed the time meeting with customers, sharing ideas and discussing applications. Networking with the leaders in our industry is a valuable time for all. We are ready and able to deploy these solutions and many more to help improve productivity and reduce processing cost. Connect Your Way to WPS today.

Electrical Wire Processing Technology Expo 2015 in Review: Part One

The 15th annual EWPTE show is behind us. It was a good year with great attendance and new technology in display. WireProcess Specialties continued our strong presence with nine Global Technology Partners showing the latest in assembly solutions for wire processing technology. This is part one of a two part Expo in review. In this issue, we are focusing on Etco, Schaefer Megomat and Wezag Tools.

Schaefer Megomat

Schaefer Megomat displayed technology ranging from bench top processing solutions to the Megomat series of full processing solutions. Customers received demonstrations of unique automation configurations including a new block loader.  The Megomat series machines are going through feature upgrades including a new operating system (Wirestar 20). The latest versions were displayed. We now have several options for customers to choose from.

IMG_1226

The Primo XLT. A four station processing machine at an attractive entry level price point. High performance without the premium price.

The model 600 is an ultra high speed processing machine with new anti vibration technology. Capable of mounting weather seal applicators in addition to the presses.

IMG_1228

The model 800 is a multi station work center with a total of six stations. The 800 is used where flexibility is required without the need to remove and replace processing modules.

Other Items on Display at Schaefer Megomat

Sam1 Cut and Strip Machine

Sam 1 Cut and Strip Machine

IMG_1250

K1002 Hot Melt Mold Machine

New Megomat Terminal Block Loader installed on the 800 Wire Processing Machine

ETCO Incorporated and Schaefer Megomat automate the ETCO closed back flag system.

Our Global Technology Partners ETCO Inc and Schaefer Megomat  joined up to demonstrate the ETCO Insulated Closed Back Flag on the Primo XLT automation platform. The ETCO closed back flag is a two step process where the terminal is crimped and insulator inserted over the terminal in one step and a cover is inserted over the open end on the second step. This demonstration showed how a two step manual process can be automated and how it is accomplished on the Primo XLT.

Terry Curtis and John Stiness (ETCO). Primo XLT with ETCO Closed Back Flag.

Terry Curtis and John Stiness (ETCO). Primo XLT with ETCO Closed Back Flag.

The Wire and Cable Technology Article featuring this application can be downloaded by clicking here.

Wezag Tools Presents the new CS300 electrical Crimper

Wezag Tools unveiled the CS300 electric Crimper.  The CS300 (pictured below) is the next generation to the CS200 crimper. The CS300 has a rotating crimp head and can accept a wide range of crimp dies. A new digital display for entering set up parameters.

CS300 Electric Crimper for Loose Piece terminals.

CS300 Electric Crimper for Loose Piece terminals.

Mike Lobkovich and Thomas Glockseisen from Wezag displaying the CS300 crimper.

Mike Lobkovich and Thomas Glockseisen from Wezag displaying the CS300 crimper.

For more information on the CS300, please click here.

Click here for part two of our Expo review. WireProcess Specialties is your resource to Wire Processing Solutions. Connect Your Way to WireProcess today.