“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort” – John Ruskin
I am sure this quote from a 19th Century English Art Critic was applicable in the era it was written. But it is no less applicable today.
“Quality is never an accident”. Nor does Quality simply happen. It takes effort to create, build and maintain an effective quality system. The stakes are higher today than any other time in history. The cost of a reject or recall can cripple a company. No company of any size is immune from the effects of a reject claim. Can you afford the risk?
“It is always the result of intelligent effort”. Yes, you must invest time and resources. People in the company from the top to the bottom need to be actively participating in efforts to create a quality system. Ask yourself these few questions:
- What does our existing quality system look like?
- Is it contributing to reduced internal rework costs?
- Is it effective to reduce the risk of defective goods leaving our facility?
- Do we have sufficient internal resources to improve our Quality System?
- Do we need to consider outside sources to ensure we are keeping up with emerging trends in Quality Management?
Putting it into perspective, a quality system needs to fit the company’s size and structure. What is critical to large companies with big supply contracts and the associated requirements to fulfill may not be applicable to a smaller company. But even a small company should have a basic system of Quality which should be enhanced over time. Let’s get specific and drill down to the topic of Crimp Quality. Considering the pre-production validation and process monitoring, consider the essential tools for a basic Quality System:
- Crimp Height Micrometers
- Blade Micrometers (or Digital Calipers)
- Pull Tester
- A system of recording measurements
- Validation Tools above
- Crimp Force Monitors on bench and automation mounted crimp presses.
- Visual Inspection Requirements
- Requirements for Frequency of Measuring production
Knowing what a good crimp is (and isn’t) is not evident with a visual external inspection. You need to look inside. Often a view of the interior of the crimp can quickly provide clues to conditions which can affect quality and contribute to increased processing costs of rework. For example:
- Constant Crimp Force Monitor Alarms (avoid the CFM Cycle)
- Wire assembly failures. High electrical resistance which can cause an overheard electrical connection.
For this you need to Cross Section the Crimp. This gives you a view into the material matching (wire/terminal) as well as the process tooling.
Bend Angle is a condition from the terminal crimp process. As a wire is crimped to a terminal, material is extruded outward and can cause the terminal to bend (banana shape). This condition can cause mating issues when connectors are mated together. Also, a potential of high electrical resistance in extreme cases of mating miss-alignment. An emerging measurement requirement in USCAR 21 for automotive wire harnesses.
Networking Crimp Quality.
Software and hardware networking are becoming more economical solutions to handling data. The right automated solution can reduce pre-production validation time and errors from manual data entry. Also, it removes subjectivity from validation and in-process monitoring (it looks like a good crimp therefore it is a good crimp – a big mistake in thinking). Do you Trust or Validate?
What about Equipment Maintenance?
Most companies have a maintenance program for their processing equipment. But is it effective enough? How many crimps from a set of tooling? I have calibrated our crimp press(es) but have I determined its (their) capability to produce repeatable crimp force and shut height?
Knowing comes before Doing.
Let’s face it, we are not experts in everything. Nor should we pretend to be. It is easy to start without the knowledge of what is needed. But is it effective? Industry Experts can come alongside your personnel to guide the process and provide critical advice to focus your efforts.
Scaling Crimp Quality is important in all companies who process wire assemblies. One size does not fit all. If you already have a crimp quality system (which we hope you do), what knowledge and tools do you need to make your system better. If you do not have a crimp quality system and no reported quality failures, the clock is ticking for one which could come. Don’t take the risk, obtain the knowledge of what is needed and get started with the basic tools.