Archive for January 2017

Global Technology Partners in Focus: Wezag Tools

wezag_logo_4c_07_2014

Wezag Tools is a valuable Global Technology Partner to Wire Process Specialties. Wezag is a global leader in loose piece crimping solutions. Our customers appreciate the quality of tooling and equipment that is used in their assembly processes.

I am pleased to introduce Mike Lobkovich, Vice President for Wezag Tools in the USA.  Mike has agreed to contribute to our Focus series. Thank you for your time Mike.

WPS: Mike, can you give us an overview of the Wezag Product line.

ML:  WEZAG’s focus is the design and manufacture of ratcheting specialty tools used in 3 critical applications.   Cable cutters, which are used by the utility and industrial industries to cut stranded cable ranging from 32 – 100mm in diameter, crimp tools used by the electrical and electronic industries for termination of open and closed barrel terminals and compression tools used by the plumbing industry.

Crimp Tools are our largest and most diverse market in the areas of customer base and applications.   We offer both a scissor and straight action frame to provide our customers with high quality and repeatable performance.   Because we have standardized our frames we can offer our customers flexibility to perform many applications

One of our key benefits is that we allow the die set to be removed from the hand tool and then inserted into our portable and benchtop power solutions.

WPS: Can you outline the Wezag locations here in North America and internationally.

ML:   Since 1949, WEZAG has been headquartered in Stadtallendorf, Germany which is 60 miles northeast of Frankfurt.   Our facility provides 100,000 square feet of floor space for our manufacturing, engineering and Sales & Marketing teams. 

WEZAG is a vertically integrated manufacture.  Outside of raw material and packaging, we machine, mold, and assemble over 1,000,000 hand tools per year. 

WEZAG’s North American Headquarters is in Naperville, IL which is 35 miles west of Chicago.    WEZAG’s first North American facility opened in 1987 in Addison, IL.   Opened in March of 2011, the Naperville facility provides WEZAG with enhanced office and inventory space convenient for our employees and local customers.

WPS: The Naperville IL office is the North American office for Wezag. On top of managing the customer base domestically, do you maintain an inventory of tools and machines?

ML:    We opened the Naperville facility with the intention of supporting both the existing customer base and allow for expansion with new customers.    Manufacturing is currently centered in Germany but we offer added value capabilities here in Naperville.   We have a large inventory of both frames and dies which gives us the flexibility to assembly tools to meet the customer application. 

Our inventory philosophy is based upon the understanding that when a customer needs a tool they need it today not 8 weeks from now.

The Naperville facility allowed us implement a “Demo Room” where customers can visit to see the tooling options as well as bring in their applications for review.   

WPS: As mentioned, Wezag supplies loose piece crimping solutions. Can you describe the range of processing capability for the hand and bench based tooling platforms.

CS30 Hand Crimp Tool

CS30 Hand Crimp Tool

ML: Loose piece crimping is a challenge for any OEM and Sub-Contractor.    The Quality Department is concerned about the integrity of the crimp while manufacturing is focused on the process and potentially the consequences of the process mainly carpal tunnel syndrome   

Semi-Automatic and Fully Automatic applications provide high quality and repeatable terminations through the use of specially designed applicators. The loose piece sector is not as defined so WEZAG’s goal is to provide our customers and their end users with comparable terminations.   

I feel many people under estimate the amount of engineering that goes into each crimp tool we manufacture.    If you start to map out all the different parameters in loose piece crimping you can quickly see the value of having a company like WEZAG as a partner.

Here are some of the parameters we consider when designing a crimp tool.

  • Wire Size: AWG or mm2
    • WEZAG views wire size in 3 categories
      • 30 – 20               Mostly Electronics   Carry more data than power
      • 18 – 10                  Industrial Applications    More Power than Data    
      • 8 – 4/0+ High Power and Voltage Applications 
  • Open or Closed Barrel
    • Open Barrel
      • Center conductor crimp and insulation crimp completed during the same cycle
      • Each has their own unique crimp attributes
      • Wire Stop and / or terminal locator
        • To support the repeatability of the crimp from terminal to terminal and operator to operator
      • Closed Barrel
        • Bare conductor inserted into 1 crimp barrel
        • With or without insulation sleeve
          • 10 AWG and Higher      Hand Tool Comfortable
          • 8 AWG and bigger Powered solution needed
        • Frame Style
          • Scissor Action
          • Linear or Straight Action Crimping Process
            • Provides uniform crimping force on all die pockets

A key benefit I mentioned early regarding WEZAG is the ability for the die set to “migrate” from a hand tool frame to a powered solution.    This further increases the repeatability and safety of the crimping process.   We cover the full range of applications listed above and can support your requirements from 1 tool to 100 tools.  

WEZAG’s powered solutions range from portable to benchtop.     Portable in the sense that the application requires you to bring the crimp tool to the work and benchtop in the sense that you bring the work to the crimp tool.   Machine set-up from terminal to terminal is as easy as changing the die set.   Powered solutions can be segmented the following way.

UP60 Pneumatic Crimp Press.

UP60 Pneumatic Crimp Press.

Force Generation

  • Rechargeable Battery Hydraulic Pump
    • Portable Solutions
  • Benchtop Solutions
    • Pneumatic
    • Electric
    • Hydraulic

Crimp Force

  • 5 Tons (Electric and Pneumatic)
  • Most hand tools generate about 2 Tons of crimp force. Customers can use these machines in a “High Mix, Low Volume” crimp application where only a die set is needed between applications or a “Low Mix, Medium Volume” crimp application where they want to ensure the repeatability of the crimp process and protect their labor force from the risks of repetitive motion injuries
  • 4 – 5 Tons (Pneumatic)
  • Larger terminals down to 6 AWG
  • “High Volume – Low Mix”
    • Dedicated machine set up for each terminal
  • 5 Tons (Pneumatic)
    • 8 – 4/0 AWG
    • Terminal construction can define largest AWG
    • Battery and High Voltage Applications
    • Flexibility provided by adapters for industry standard die sets
  • 13 – 19 Tons (Hydraulic)
    • Very large terminals used in power generation

WPS: WPS provides customers with the support they need and resources required to successfully operate their business.  How does support like what WPS offers its customers fit into the overall business approach of Wezag?

We identify ourselves as an engineering and manufacturing company with the goal to be the preferred supplier of loose piece crimp solutions.   Because of this philosophy we are seen more as a partner than a supplier.   Our process is to understand your production challenge and then provide solutions for you to consider.   We are also involved in the implementation process to ensure that the operators are happy with the tools.   We look to be a long- time partner for each customer

WPS: Any new products that have been introduced recently that you can share with us?

ML: Being an engineering focused company we are constantly looking towards innovation.  From manufacturing practices to alloy composition we constantly strive to enhance our products.    Some areas always under consideration are the following.

  • Ergonomics
    • Weight, Balance, Hand Force
    • LED Lighting in critical crimp areas
  • Production / Quality Management
    • Cycle Counter
    • Crimp Force Monitoring
    • Bluetooth Connectivity for quality control

A new technology that we are excited about and involved in is the development of material for 3-D Metal Printing.    Most people are familiar with 3-D Plastic printing.   Similar concept but with the result being production quality pieces such as die sets.   This will allow us to provide custom die sets within 48 hour period.

A new solution we are excited about is our CS10-APP hand tool frame.   We worked in conjunction with Delphi to develop a hand tool frame which will accept the perishable tooling (Punch & Anvil) from the applicator.   The challenge in the automotive wire harness industry is to provide production level crimps in the Post-Production environment.     Delphi recognized they had a gap in their loose piece hand tool portfolio and worked with WEZAG to bring a solution to their customers. 

Mike, thank you for your time to answer these questions and provide a peak into the operations of Wezag Tools. For more information on Wezag Tools and how WPS can help with your crimping requirements, Connect Your Way to WPS.

Counting the Cost of Quality: The Benefits

Every Decision has a cost.

This is the third and final part of our series Counting the Cost of Quality. In Part One, we discussed The Cost of Action, those decisions that are made on the basis of acting on information that has been provided. In Part Two, The Cost of Inaction covers the implications of not acting. Part Three will cover the Benefits.

As a company with a bias towards action, we consider the benefits of action far surpass the benefits of not acting. But acting after thoughtful analysis of the decision being considered. We acknowledge that any decision even a decision to act, carries some risk. Decision paralysis can take hold when the fear of making a decision is greater than not acting, part of the reason the cost of inaction can be high. We can consider as many variables as possible but there will never be enough information to completely mitigate risk from a decision.

So to consider the benefits of making a decision to act, let’s use an example of acquiring a Crimp Cross Section Lab to enhance your company’s quality process validation and monitoring capability. You have considered the upfront cost which includes the actual cost of acquisition, employee training and integration of this system into the company infrastructure. Consider the benefits which can apply to this decision:

Internally, individual employees directly involved with the new acquisition will be happy to see the company has provided new tools to help in their day to day work. As a collective, employees feel a higher sense of security that the company is investing in the company’s future.

As a company, new tools that are used can improve the overall quality of output. In the case of quality validation like our example, this provides a measurement tool to track the quality of output. Any tool to measure progress is critical (and may I say essential) to a company’s survival never mind growth.

Externally, existing customers will have a higher chance to keep existing business with your company when they see investment in infrastructure. Investments that can benefit them. And provide new opportunities to grow the business relationship through added contracts as they come up.

Potential customers will be more driven to work with you as they see investment in new infrastructure. In some cases, new processing or validating tools (like Cross Section Analysis as described) are minimum gateways to a business relationship even starting. For others, they will see your company set apart from your competition as internal investment in hard processing systems (capital) and training (human resources) are made. Where the investment is emerging and state of the art, you separate yourself from others who have not advanced as far as your company has.

These are just a few benefits to making the investment to improve quality. I am sure there are other direct and indirect benefits not mentioned.

This series was created to illustrate the opposing sides of a decision, to act on a decision or to stay the course (which in and off itself is a decision). You may not be in a position to be part of the decision making process of the company you are currently employed with. But regardless, you will be affected by any decision (or non decision) made.

In a perfect world all companies will err on the side of action and see the positive aspects of acting to improve the company. But some will stay the course and not act. And may not see any difference in the short term. The same with an action decision, there may not be a positive result in the short term. But the difference will lie in the long term implications. And if I were to consider the long term survival prospects of any company, the bias toward making positive action on decisions would make me more confident in that company’s future. Certainly that is the goal for our company.

WireProcess Specialties has many decades of experience in processing and validating technology for wire processing. We are here to help in making the right decision. Connect Your Way to start the dialog.

Let’s Raise the Standard Together. Are You with Me?

As a new year comes into being, thoughts of what’s next come to mind. What does the new year hold, will it be better (or worse) than last year? How will we deal with the inevitable disappointments and challenges that come our way throughout the year. How will we celebrate the victories?

Personally I am not into New Years Resolutions, many are not fulfilled as the year comes to a close 365 days later. Much less surviving the first month of the year. I am into goal setting with a defined program which takes the goals from a spark in the mind into reality. Regardless of that, any plan is a plan to improve. And improvement creates opportunities to Raise the Standard.

So how are we as a company going to raise the standard? Very simple. By helping you raise your standard. Throughout the year, we are developing our company’s culture on the basis of one word: Help. We are interested in growing our company and it is through helping you with your company that we will grow our’s. It is not in gimmicks or self absorbed trickery to make you buy something from us. There are a lot of companies that will sink to that level. Not us, we are working to Raise the Standard.

I have seen a number of areas which improvement is needed both from ourselves and our customers. We are working on ourselves, but we can help you. Let’s Raise the Standard Together. Are You with Me?

Very shortly, we will be rolling out a new program which will be designed to help our customers. Stay tuned.

Our Global Technology Partners have been working on new innovations, processing solutions that will help your company. Some are tightly under wraps. In some cases, I have had a sneak peek. It is exciting what is coming and I am looking forward to showing these to you throughout the year.

WireProcess has over three decades of experience to offer our customers. Companies who understand the Benefits to the Cost of Quality and The Cost of Action. Come leverage our expertise as we Raise the Standard Together.

Terry Curtis

WireProcess Specialties.