Archive for Application Illustrations

Connecting the Dots: Pre-Process Validation to Production Process Monitoring 

By their body language and words, companies say it all;

“Why monitor our crimp process with more than the most basic of tools? After all over the years, our products have performed with no problem without adopting more than is necessary?”
On the surface this may be true. But lurking under the surface are problem issues that can costing your company now and in the future.

Consider the following scenarios:

  • Internal process rejects or rework that goes unreported. Like a bad crimp that is simply clipped off and an operator re-strips the wire and crimps a new terminal to the wire. Adding variation to the process by manually processing the wire without validating the results.
  • Mismatched wire and terminals. A mismatch between the terminal and wire, especially the terminal being too big for the wire can cause excess variation in the crimp process and electrical performance issues like high resistance. Process variation is a hidden cost to production while high electrical resistance is a potential long term product failure.
  • Worn production tooling creating batches of parts which can create assembly issues upstream. Deformed terminals from compensating for worn tools are one problem.

Mainstream OEM terminal suppliers invest an extensive amount of resources to ensure the connector they design performs properly on the factory floor and in the actual product over it’s life expectantly. They provide the processing test requirements to assure the terminal is assembled properly. So why do so many companies not validate their assembly to the recommended specifications, never mind monitor their assembly process?

Consider the Cost of Inaction (the status quo) as a reason.

So let’s talk about the transition from pre-process validation to process monitoring. For that you need to think about this fact:

In a lab environment, processes are controlled and highly repeatable. In a production environment, external variation exists which can affect the final product quality.

Without real time process monitoring, depending on single or spot in-process inspections does not give you any solid information on the capability of the terminal crimp process. And that is a missed opportunity for process improvement which can provide improved efficiency and reduced process costs. Which is the Benefit to the Cost of Quality.

One important point to remember is that process monitoring tools do not improve quality in and of themselves. But they can raise issues on individual setups which should be reviewed at the time. Otherwise you can be trapped in the CFM Cycle.

Using the right tools in crimp development and validation in addition to process monitoring can provide the opportunity to improve crimp quality. Establishing a base line of quality and deploying a quality improvement strategy can reap great dividends in cost reduction, customer retention and potential for new customer acquisition.

CrimpQuality.Solutions provides end to end support with your terminal crimp process.

Crimp Quality Solutions: An Overview

Back in the day, training for personnel was readily available from suppliers or internal company experts.  Does it seem that access to training and has become scarce.  Do you sense the “brain drain” as knowledgeable people are retiring and not being replaced? Perhaps Crimp Quality Solutions is for you.

Crimp Quality Solutions is part of the WireProcess Specialties portfolio of solutions for companies processing wire harnesses and electrical assemblies which include a terminal crimped to wire.

Consider the following questions:

  1. We only make a quick measurement of crimp quality and a visual inspection pre-process.  We do not have any idea what the capability of our crimp process is.
  2. We have received a review request from a customer about our crimp quality or have had to address rejected wire harnesses with faulty crimps.
  3. We have installed crimp monitors to our bench presses or automated wire processing machines and have chronic error signals from one or more crimp applicator set ups. As a result, we have opened up CFM tolerances to stop the error signals or completely shut off the monitors.
  4. We want to establish a baseline of our crimp quality and improve quality over time.

If you answer yes to any of these questions then Crimp Quality Solutions is for you. We offer end to end support of the crimp process. Our support covers three areas:

  • Training and Consulting.
  • Support Services.
  • Quality Validating and Monitoring Technology.

We start with a free assessment of your current crimping process. We review the assessment and where required, consult with our industry experts and provide a proposal that covers one or more of the above areas of support.

If you do not measure crimp quality as part of your quality system, you are at risk of product failure, costly rejects or recalls and reduced customer confidence. Because it has not happened so far does not change the fact it could in the future. There is a cost of inaction when it comes to product quality.

There is a positive cost to action and we are ready to respond and support your crimping process. Let’s Get Started.

 

What can other industries learn from Automotive standard USCAR21?

USCAR21 Title

USCAR-21 is the quality standard that can strike fear into companies who deal with automobile assembly companies.  USCAR-21 is a universal standard which applies to suppliers of electrical assemblies to The Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Companies who are not involved with automotive wire harnessing can quickly dismiss this standard as not applicable to their business and industry. Although this is true, some of the components of USCAR-21 are valuable and can be directly applied to the validation of wire terminations for any industry. Companies not considering some of the key features of USCAR21 can miss out on the benefits to quality improvement.

We will drill down to reach those best practices which can be applied to your company.

Prior to the formation of USCAR-21, each automobile manufacturer had their own testing and validation standards. The adoption of a common standard meant more efficiency in the testing process, especially for suppliers who provided wire harness across a number of automobile OEM’s listed..

The USCAR-21 standard includes mechanical and accelerated environmental tests which are designed to duplicate potential operating conditions a wire to terminal connection can experience through the expected life cycle of an automobile. Demands on the electrical system are increasing with smaller wires carrying communication signals and larger wires used in current load in applications such as EV batteries. A comprehensive standard was required to address the performance requirements through the full range of harness size and complexity. At the same time, to reduce some of the bureaucratic burden from the supplier end.

Lets bring USCAR-21 down to it’s most basic objective: Electrical connections must maintain low electrical resistance through the expected life span of an automobile. This is achieved by adhering to critical crimp design and validation criteria.

Ultimately, monitoring the crimp process during production is important to ensure specifications from the validation stage are maintained.

Here are a few considerations to the actual electrical crimp.

  • The terminal supplier’s recommended crimp height and width is the starting point of all initial and pre-production crimp validation. Wire terminations should perform acceptably though the tolerance range of the recommended terminal crimp height.
  • Crimp compression, the process of encapsulating the wire into a crimp barrel with sufficient force to deform the strands from their round shape is a major factor in acceptable electrical resistance. Compaction of the strands by 15 to 20% provides the best opportunity to pass electrical resistance testing. There is a direct correlation between the amount of wire strand compression and electrical resistance. Especially leading up to and through the above compression range.
  • Crimp barrel and wire size must be carefully matched to ensure the optimal compression is achieved. In combination with the proper crimp tool design. Factors indicating a poor wire to terminal match:
    • Wire strands under-compressed.
    • Strands not evenly distributed in the crimp barrel
    • Crimp wings curl and touch the bottom (floor) or sides of the crimp barrel.
    • Crimp wings with a gap at the top, with strands not fully encapsulated in the crimp or pressed on top during the crimp process.
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Cross Section showing under compressed strands and voids.

 

  • Serrations in the crimp are designed to break oxides present on the surface of wire strands, providing better electrical connection. Also to assist in the mechanical secure-ness of the crimp.longitudinal cross section 5

Consideration of measurement methods.

  • Crimp Height is the primary test factor in a validation and in-process measurement.

CHT Mic

  • Tensile (Pull) testing is a secondary testing method to ensure the wire termination has “sufficient mechanical strength”. It is not a determining factor of electrical performance as low or high compression can affect not only mechanical but electrical performance.WhatsApp Image 2016-11-10 at 9.31.28 AM
    • In all cases, insulation support on terminal crimps must be peeled back or not crimped at all for pull testing. Pull test readings should be made on the wire to terminal crimp only.

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  • Crimp Cross Section un-covers the actual crimp condition from wire/terminal match and crimp tool profile. As well, crimp applicator setup can be checked (i.e.: terminal feed position).

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  • Visual inspection criteria ensures the proper machine setup provides the best crimp. Visual factors of an acceptable crimp are:
    • End of wire protruding on the contact side of the wire crimp. Known as brush.
    • Insulation and wire (roughly 50:50) present in the “window” between the wire and insulation crimp.
    • Bell mouth present on insulation side of the wire crimp to protect wire stands. Bell mouth can also be present on the contact side of the wire crimp.
    • Insulation crimp wings should not penetrate the insulation and make contact with the internal stranding and should fully encapsulate the insulation.

Electrical and Electronic devices that are not assembled into an automobile will have their own performance parameters. In most cases they are not subject to temperature and humidity fluctuations that are present in an automobile. But totally dismissing good crimping practices and not applying some of these best practices can expose your products to premature failure which carries a high cost (and liability). That’s the important factor when Acting on the Cost of Quality, understanding the Benefits and avoiding the risks of Inaction.

WireProcess is equipped and ready to deploy the tools you need to take your crimp process to the next level. 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.

Counting the Cost of Quality: The Cost of Inaction 

Every Decision has a cost.

Continuing the series Counting the Cost of Quality,  we turn from the Cost of Action in Part One to the Cost of Inaction.

So what happens when you do not act? Maintain the status quo.  I acknowledge that there are some times in a company’s history when a short term “pause” is needed. Due to uncertain economics or other external conditions. This is different from big picture inaction. In the case of quality, there is no time that a company should pause from improving quality, quality systems or understanding the changing dynamics of quality processes.

… there is no time that a company should pause from improving quality, quality systems or understanding the changing dynamics of quality processes.

In the end all decisions to act or not rest with management. And the implications of the decision (or non decision). Here are a few possible considerations and implications of not acting.

First, not taking the step of understanding the changes in quality processes and the standards that industries are using to validate and monitor quality. This can be as damaging as knowing and not acting.

Some industries are leaders in quality. And what they adopt often become best practices which other industries adopt in whole or in part. They were created for a reason. Not investigating new practices and reviewing the potential use in your organization can be a lost opportunity to become a leader in your industry. For example the Automobile Industry are widely using cross section analysis to validate, monitor and improve quality of connector crimping. With the cost of these systems coming down, it makes sense for non-automotive companies to start adopting cross section analysis.

Not investigating new practices and reviewing the potential use in your organization can be a lost opportunity to become a leader in your industry.

What if your competitor seized the opportunity to implement new quality processes? And their quality improved when they used these new tools. And they broadly publish their new capability to the world. Prompting companies (including your customers) to take notice. You are at a strategic disadvantage when your competitor gets a jump on your company.

You are at a strategic disadvantage when your competitor gets a jump on your company.

Inaction due to the cost of processing tools, systems and training ignores the long term benefit from reduced cost of processing. Scrap and rework costs can eat into profitability. A focus on quality improvement can also help to improve production efficiency.

Employees are watching. Engaging personnel in the process of quality improvement can be positive and beneficial. But when personnel see management not acting, they soon follow and productivity declines. Personnel on the factory floor are looking for individual benefit in the case of working conditions and some level of assurance the company is going all out in their efforts to maintain and grow the business.

Customers are also watching. With domestic and international competitors on your customer’s doorstep, can you afford to not consider new quality systems? And implement them into the company’s culture.

With domestic and international competitors on your customer’s doorstep, can you afford not to consider new quality systems?

Looking at the negative side of this topic is something companies do not enjoy doing. Simply put, ignoring the world changing around you or knowing and not acting is not a good business strategy. And can be damaging or fatal to a company in the long term.

The good news there is always an opportunity to turn the ship around, no matter how big the ship. Today would be a good day to seize the opportunity and start acting!

 

Global Technology Partners in Focus: Schaefer Megomat

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Schaefer Megomat has been part of the WireProcess Global Technology Partners Group for over 20 years. We have had a long and successful partnership in supplying wire processing solutions to our valued customers. And our customers have benefited by reducing their processing costs and improving their production efficiency in wire processing assembly.

We have seen a revolution in wire processing over the past 20 years or so.  From pneumatic processing machines requiring time consuming set up to servo based systems incorporating advanced micro-processors and motion control. Set up time has been drastically reduced with the introduction of these advanced system technologies.

I am pleased to introduce Todd Miller of Schaefer Megomat. Todd is the Assistant General Manager of Schaefer Megomat and oversees the automation assembly operations out of Pewaukee Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee.

WPS: Todd, thank you for speaking to us and to our WireProcess Global Community. How long have you served at Schaefer Megomat.

TM:  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk with you today.  I started my career here with Schaefer Megomat (or just Megomat at that time) back in 1997.  I have been lucky enough to hold many different titles and positions through the course of my employment, with the most recent being the AGM since 2014.  Growing up in this company has given me a unique perspective of what it takes to bring our customers a quality product from all sides of the business.   

WPS: Schaefer Megomat is part of the Schaefer Group. Can you expand on the company’s operations and global product offering.

TM:  The Schaefer Group purchased Megomat USA back in 2005.  We feel this partnership gave us an instant global presence and added to the stability and variety of products and services that we are able to offer to our customers.  With the acquisition, the Schaefer group can offer our customers everything from small hand held wire stripping devices, all the way up to multi-function, autonomous special machines designed specifically for a customer’s applications and needs.  Some of the other products that Schaefer now offers include applicators, stripping and crimping modules, hot stamp marking, tinning, crimp quality monitoring systems, twisting, seal application units, injection molding, and even testing and laboratory equipment.  Chances are if you are in the wire industry and have a need, we can help you!  

WPS: As mentioned in the introduction, Schaefer Megomat is based in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Can you describe the operation and activities at this location?

TM:  Schaefer Megomat was started in 1990 to be a direct sales and service company for all the Megomat products.  Over the years, as we gained market share, we faced the need to expand our operations and facilities.  In 1995 we built a 30,000 square foot facility on 4 acres of land in Pewaukee, WI which has served as our North American base of operations ever since.  We have added mechanical and electrical engineering ability over the years, so we are able to design, build, service and support all of our equipment from this location.  We currently have 26 active assembly bays in-house, with the ability to add more as demand would dictate.  Our facility also offers the space to hold thousands of parts, in stock, to assure our customers’ needs are always met.  In addition, we have a sales and service location in El Paso, Texas as well to serve our customers in the south and Mexico.

WPS: How does Schaefer Megomat service their customer base domestically (in the United States) as well as Internationally (North America and beyond).

TM:  Schaefer Megomat prides itself on our ability to service our customers and we rely on the small business customer service mantra that our customers have come to expect over the years.  Even though we have grown with the Schaefer acquisition, we have never gotten too big to provide our customers with the personal level of service that they require and expect.   We have many well trained service technicians based out of Wisconsin, El Paso, and around the world that insure the equipment we sell stays on-line and in production.  Locations in Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, Mexico, Romania and Asia, to name a few, help to assure we can service what we sell, no matter where it is located.

WPS: What machine platforms are assembled at the Pewaukee facility?

TM:  Our Pewaukee facility is currently home to the assembly of our fully automatic wire processing equipment line.  We are now building the next generation of fully automatics using our recently updated WireStar20 software and electronics package.  Our base model M500, newly updated 4-station M600, and flexible, 6-station capable M800 machine are all currently built in this facility.  We have also recently started the production of select applicators in our Pewaukee facility as well to insure our customers can have a one-stop shop type experience for all of their wire applications. 

Megomat 2000

WPS: How does the corporate Schaefer organization support the Schaefer Megomat operations?

TM:  The Schaefer Group provides us with a global presence, technical and engineering resources, as well as adding additional expertise and real-world experience in many different areas of the industry.  Thank you for talking with me Terry.  Schaefer Megomat values the relationship we have built over the years with Wire Process Specialties.

Thank you Todd for your time today. For more information on Schaefer Megomat, please visit the Global Technology Page of www.WireProcess.com or www.Schaefer.biz.

 

Counting The Cost of Quality: The Cost of Action 

Every decision has a cost.

Large or small there is a cost to every decision. Of course there is a sliding scale of the size of a decision and it’s relationship to the overall implications to the organization. Some costs are economic and some are not.  Deciding on a bathroom cleaner or brand of pencil to stock have fewer implications than a capital purchase or facility relocation.

This the first of three articles focused focused on quality and considerations when making improvements to an existing system or completely starting from scratch. Also the costs associated with these actions that have far reaching implications to product quality within a manufacturing environment. In this post we are focusing on the cost of action.

Here are a few point for consideration.

Management acts on quality improvement but there is usually a trigger. Triggers that cause management to act are either external or strategic. External triggers often come from customers who require improvement in quality either due to a complaint or issue. They are also driven by the customer’s desire to focus on a specific industry sector that demands higher quality standards. Strategic triggers are based on the company moving into a new industry sector which (like the customer) demands an enhanced quality or documentation of quality. Regardless of the trigger it all boils down to one thing: economics. Losing a key account or losing out on a new opportunity to grow the business in a new direction can greatly affect revenue which can affect the business partly in the short term but mainly in the long term.

Management not only needs to be fully committed to a new quality system, they need to be the champions of it. Often it is management that has a neutral or “wait and see” attitude. This can be damaging to the success of implementing a new quality system. Or the efforts to make permanent the change in culture. Employees are watching. When management waivers, employees often follow.

We will expand on the potential negative affects in part two: The Cost of Inaction.

Commitment includes attention to the following areas:

Employees need to be fully supported. In the form of solid two communication between management and employees. They need to understand the reasons behind the change or initiative. When communication breaks down so does the trust.

Employees also need appropriate training. The company needs to provide the funding for training (and re-training) for all workers directly (and indirectly) involved in quality.

Resources are critical to the success. These include measurement and in process monitoring tools for validating and monitoring production. Also access to applicable quality standards for your industry. These tools provide data necessary to feed back to management on the current state of the quality system.  And levels of improvement over time. One important point. Providing new measurement tools is an important first step but often they uncover the current state of the quality system. They do not improve it. Training in conjunction with the above tools can provide the information needed to make the changes needed to drive quality improvements. But looping back to management’s commitment, they need to drive the changes needed (and the speed of change) and support the organization as a whole.

Capital Costs are important over the life of a quality improvement initiative.  As information starts flowing on the current capability of the production system, it may become evident that production equipment over the long term is not capable of repeatable results of a higher quality level. Replacement production equipment or major upgrades to existing equipment will be necessary.

In summary, making a decision to improve quality comes at a cost. In the attitude of management and employees, a commitment to invest in the resources and the capital needed to make an improvement in product quality. There is also a cost of inaction which we will cover in part two. And the benefits? Part three will uncover the reasons why sticking it out to the end will be critical to the company’s survival in rapidly changing business conditions.

You Asked: “When should we automate?”

Automation is a big step most manufacturing companies consider at one point in time. There are a distinct advantages which include improved quality and more accurate piece to piece consistency.

This question to automate is frequently asked. Is there a trigger that pushes you to make a decision to invest in automation? Are there signs leading to that decision? We will address these topics in this post. First a short answer and following some points to consider.

The short answer is no. There are no defined rules to move you into automation. Every company and their business conditions are different. Some will move quicker to automate while others integrate automation much slower.  Volume per batch is less of a consideration. Annual production volume is a greater consideration.

There is a sliding scale to automation. In general, any production above manual hand tool processing can be considered automation. For a perspective on a migration path from manual to automated processing, consider Methods of Processing Wire Assemblies. For the basis of our discussion, we are focusing on the migration from semi automating processing of wire (measure, cut and strip using single or multi-stage bench top machines) to an automated work center.

Elements of wire processing automation

The most basic of processing automation is the measure, cut and strip of wire and crimp of terminals on one or both ends. But automation allows for other processing possibilities. Typical secondary processing options include:

  • Tin tipping of wire
  • Ultrasonic tipping of wire
  • Weather seal application.
  • Wire doubling.

small splice

Ultrasonic wire tipping

SSM_SSK_2_10

Weather Seal Application

Current or future processing should include an evaluation of processing wire leads using the above secondary processing. This makes justification easier to achieve and gives the company an indication of the scope of machine solution needed.

Set up time and job lot sizes.

In the past, automation was justified based on one or several large production runs. That was due to the time it took to change from one set up to the next. Pneumatic motions and bolted in production tooling gave way to programmable servo motors and quick change tooling bases. Therefore it is easier to run smaller lots with less machine down time than in the past.

With production rates in excess of 3,000 pieces per hour on short wire lengths, there still needs to be a reasonable lot size.  Providing a recommended lot size would not be useful as companies consider a range of minimum lot sizes. You just need to balance the set up time with the lot size and the acceptable number of set ups per day.

Labor Savings.

There is a potential for significant labor savings when moving to automation. But consider that the personnel that operate the automation systems need to be trained in the machine operations, the software and use of a micro processor communication interface. Also consider maintenance resources.

Conditions Triggering a move to Automation.

Typically there are two conditions that we see when companies migrate to automation.

  1. Business Growth. This is a slower movement towards the point where the decision to automate occurs. Available resources in capital funding, facility floor space space and the need to reduce direct labor content will converge to make a seamless decision to automate.
  2. New Contract. When the company receives a substantial contract for a specified duration, the decision is quicker.

Floor space can be a factor that speeds up or slows down the decision to automate. Limitation of floor space to accommodate the new machine installation can be an issue. Re-locating to a larger facility may be part of a larger business strategy that includes new automation investment. Often it is a balance between the distribution of labor, overall direct labor costs and the availability of floor space.

Summary.

As stated from the beginning, automation is a big step in any company large or small. Considering global annual production of wire assemblies that are processed is more important than large lot sizes due to the reduced set up time with newer technology processing machines. Redeployment of labor, training personnel in set up operation and maintenance are critical factors. Where a decision to automate is made from a new large volume contract, the duration of the contract is also an important factor.

When these elements are considered and in conjunction with good advice from outside sources, the migration to automation is a low risk proposition. WireProcess can provide the direction you need and the solutions required to fulfill your automation requirements. Connect Your Way to WireProcess.

Crimp Force Monitors Do Not Solve Your Crimping Problems

There I said it. Let me repeat:

Crimp Force Monitors Do Not Solve your Quality Problems.

Now that it’s out there let’s back up a little. First of all, let me be crystal clear. Crimp Force Monitors (CFM) are an essential tool of a quality system for any company that is serious about providing quality wire assemblies. The ability to monitor your process with a crimp monitor is extremely valuable for a number of reasons which we will unpack in this article. But let’s put things into their proper perspective.

First of all, a crimp process that has excess variation exists that way with or without a CFM. A CFM does not resolve crimp problems but will provide plenty of notification to the operator of this condition. In the form of CFM alarms. It is what is done from this point that is critical.  If the tolerance is opened up to silence the alarms or (worse) the monitor is turned off, then the true value of the CFM is lost.

Second, a CFM works best with a process that is in control and shows little piece to piece variation. This provides sufficient room for detecting small defects in the crimp process. Excess variation adds “noise” to the detection process and a CFM will have a harder time in determining a defect or just normal process variation.

The video below is from the 2016 Electrical Wire Processing Technology Expo and the seminar co-sponsored by C&S Technologies and Applitek Technologies: Do You Really Know Your Crimp Process where we discuss the CFM Cycle, a scenario played out countless times as new CFM Technology is introduced.

So what value is a CFM in the crimping process?

First, real time monitoring is 100% effective in measuring the crimp process. Visual inspection is only 80% effective over time and 100% manual inspection is not practical. It also answers the question: “what is happening between the first off article inspection and spot in process inspection”.

Second, as a process analysis tool, a CFM is effective in improving the crimp process over time. This is done by analyzing the five elements of a terminal crimp. And improving each process. The direct effect is a process in greater control and able to detect smaller variation.

Finally, as part of an integrated network of processing machines, the CFM can feed valuable production quality data into a central database for archival and analysis. Also provide a level of production quality approval by preventing access to production equipment until quality measurements are within allowable parameters.

So the question is “Do you need a CFM equipped facility?” Consider the following and judge for yourself.

  • Pull test and crimp height measurements are a static and one-time check of quality parameters. As important as they are to production quality, they are not sufficient in of themselves. A CFM is one example of dynamic quality measurement in real time. Press Analysis is another example of dynamic measurement.
  • CFM’s remove subjective judgement of good or bad crimps from employees.
  • CFM’s monitor the whole crimp process and the associated elements.
  • Without crimp monitors, the risk of defective wire harnesses increases and the cost of rework (not to mention product liability) will exceed the initial investment of crimp monitor technology by a large margin. “It hasn’t happened to us so far” you may say. “We have crimped millions of parts over the years with no problem” is another one. The laws of probability will eventually catch up without effective dynamic crimp monitoring. Why take the risk?

Do not take the risk! Our Global Technology Partner: Crimping and Stamping Technologies is a global authority in the terminal crimp process. Connect Your Way to WPS for an analysis of your crimp quality requirements.

Global Technology Partners in Focus: Lakes Precision

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We continue our Focus series with an interaction with long time partner Lakes Precision. Lakes has a long and proud history of serving the Global Wire Processing Industry with high quality replacement tooling for wire cutting and stripping machines as well as terminal applicators. I am pleased to present Rich Javenkoski VP of Sales for Lakes Precision.

WPS: Thank you for spending some time with us Rich. Give us a little background on the history of Lakes, how long Lakes has been serving their customers and where the headquarters is located.

RJ: Lakes Precision Inc as we know it today started in 1991. Using technology that allowed high production, high precision manufacturing we are able to meet the requirements of our customers. Not only in quality, but cost, and the high volume demands of global harness manufacturers. Lakes Precision has a sales and service office in El Paso TX for Mexico, Central America, and parts of South America. Our global network provides localized representation with the ability to stock inventory and needed technical assistance. With an ever changing global environment, our staff is dedicated to insuring we provide the highest quantity tooling to any global location.

WPS: Lakes has been associated with a number of OEM machine manufacturers over the years. Has this helped in the development of the Lakes blades?

RJ: Yes It helps in the sense that we understand the dimensional specifications needed for any OEM blade. We then can take that knowledge and transfer it in our manufacturing processes. Further this helps when developing custom products or unique blades not offered by the OEM’s. In some instances the OEM’s come to us for assistance in blade development.

WPS: And Lakes blades should be expected to perform as good as the OEM versions?

RJ: Our standard for blade life or cycles is to meet or exceed OEM standards. With our proprietary PVD coatings we have exceptional results in blade endurance.Lakes Blade

WPS: Do Lakes expand their library of blades as new machines are introduced?

RJ: Lakes Precision is constantly updating our catalogs of blades and accessories. The customer is the driving force in variations of existing blades and new OEM blades being placed in the market.

WPS: From our experience, OEM blade cutting surfaces are typically not covered with any additional coatings which can improve blade life. What blade coatings do Lakes offer to improve blade life even further.

RJ: As mentioned our in house PVD coating department is constantly looking at enhancing blade life. Any blade can be coated and typically titanium nitrite is the standard coating. We take it a step further with blends of various PVD targets and match those coatings to a particular blade application. I believe that we are unique to the industry with coating applications.

WPS: Do you see any trends in the type of blade used in production today. V blades are well known for uniform stripping across a wide range of wire gauges. But are they typically used or do companies opt to use radius style blades for a single wire size that provides stripping around the full circumference of the insulation?

RJ: Our blade development is driven by the wire industry. PVC coated, easy applications, your standard V style blade is by far the most popular. Thinner, smaller, lighter wire require tru-radius style blades. When customers are do high volume runs they prefer the flexibility of the V style blades. Of course we provide any style blade for any size wire.

Lakes TA-V

 

WPS: Lakes introduced crimp tools as another product offering. Can you describe this program?

RJ: Our crimp tool program is developing each and every day. Our engineering staff work directly with the customer to insure the correct applications. Again we have created PVD coatings that have shown enhanced tooling life while adding minimal coat to the tool.

Thank you for your time today Rich. WireProcess Specialties values our long association with Lakes in providing our customers with high quality replacement tooling for their processing machines.

Click the following links for more information on Lakes Precision, our Global Technology Partners Group , our growing Resources for Wire Processing, or our Services like Crimp Cross Sectioning. We would be happy to Connect with You.