Category Archives: practices

Quality Cable Assemblies – How do we do so well?

Posted on March 4, 2016 by

QUALITY IS KEY!!

A simple phrase that is bread into everyone here at St. Cross Electronics. We pride ourselves on quality, something that was imprinted into the foundations of St Cross Electronics from its inception back in 1983. We have always wanted our customers to be sure that they can use our product from delivery straight into their equipment.

We have from the start had processes, procedures and controls that ensure each stage of manufacture has a QC check incorporated. Dax Ward, Managing Director quotes “If the foundations of anything are secure and substantial then the build on top of these will be secure and less prone to fall down. These foundations were implemented by St Cross Electronics founder Patrick Kiely over 30 years ago, and still today every single process we follow has the same architecture. Soon after the business was started we added BS5750 as a QC approval, and today we now hold ISO9001, ISO14001, OHSAS18001 and we are also UL approved. Today we find ourselves seriously considering AS9100 quality approval.”

QC is targeted with KPI’s on quality, measured in pieces per million. Latest figures for quality measure 200 pieces per million, a very low figure and one most companies would strive to achieve, but Dax has a slightly different view on this. “I am not really happy with this figure. Yes it gives a yield of 99.98%, and our own target is 99.6% so we are surpassing our target, but that still gives a reject rate of 200 pieces. Imagine if a car production line had a failure rate of 0.02% when producing brakes; this would still be 200 cars that could potentially could not stop safely. I am never satisfied and we still need to improve further. However, I am a bit more realistic and car manufacture and making cable assemblies are obviously two different things. Makes you think though.”

Although Dax states he is not satisfied with the above, that QC level is still very good and way above the industry standard. St Cross Electronics quality process encourages all staff to log failures, whether that is in tooling, manufacture, or poor documentation. “You cannot improve if you do not log or accept things could go wrong. You have to take positives from everything, so learn from the failures you have discovered and stop them reoccurring. We spend a lot of our QC time trying to prevent rather than react to problems.”

All cables we manufacture will as standard have a 100% continuity test, checking for not only open circuits, but correctly wired circuits. We work very closely with Cirris on this and have a vast array of test equipment from them. From simple pin to pin testers to our flag ship electrical quality control tester the CH2. Crimps are also checked, from photos, crimp heights, and tensile tests. Full dimensional checks are also as standard with our own first article inspection reports (FAIR).  All evidence, and results of all these tests are recorded and kept on file for a number of years.

So QUALITY IS KEY to us, because without good quality foundations there is no business to support it on top.

Contact one of the team today if you want a free quote or want any other information on us.


Crimping – what makes a good crimp?

Posted on February 2, 2016 by

Here at St. Cross Electronics, we always prefer to use crimping practices over solder terminations.  Although in some types of terminations, you will never get away from a solder joint, but we will cover that topic another time.

To ensure we achieve a good crimp a number of  crucial factors need to be put in place.  We have created our own in house process and rule book on how these are produced.  These sound so simple when listed but to get a quality crimp termination we must follow this list.  These skills have been developed in house here at St Cross after 30 years of manufacture.  You will not believe what we have witnessed over the years when looking at other competitors work.

1 – The correct crimp terminal for the application it is being used for.
2 – The correct size wire for said terminal, this is both the CSA of the wire and also the O.D. of the wire.
3 – The correct tooling, this includes applicators and wire strip tools.
4 – The crucial strip lengths for the wire.
5 – Tensile testers and crimp height gauges are essential.

We have 3 methods of crimping here; Hand tools, bench press applicators, fully automated CNC machines that cut, strip, crimp and even test crimps.

Wherever possible, St Cross Electronics try to get all crimping onto bench press machines or our CNC automated crimp machines.  Hand crimping has it’s place but usually this is for small quantities and “out in the field” work.

The key to success is always “preparation”, so much time and planning is done here on getting the preparation done correctly.  We ensure that the crimp is suited to the connector you intend it for, we check the manufacturers spec sheet to ensure the wire size AWG (American Wire Gauge) and the crimp are suited together and we also check that the wire insulation O.D. is recommended.  There are two key areas to a crimp termination, the conductor and the insulation parts.  Both are very important. We ensure that we achieve a gas tight joint, which does not have any air voids. Air voids can get hot, and could lead to fires. At the other end of the spectrum, we ensure that the crimp is not over crimped. If you over crimp you will break the conductors inside. They may appear ok to you, but under vibration these conductors will weaken and could break off, causing an open or intermittent circuit. Similar applies to the insulation support on the crimp, too tight, and you could damage the strands under the insulation, too loose and you will not offer any insulation support, or another term strain relief. Our automatic CNC crimping machine have automatic crimp force analysers fitted, so each crimp is checked 100%.

So in summary if you want to receive a quality cable assembly with the correct crimped terminations, then come to St Cross as we always ensure we prepare correctly, use the correct tooling, strip the wire correctly and always check the set up using calibrated tensile and crimp height testers.  Contact St Cross Electronics today with your requirement to ensure your application is manufactured correctly, competitive and delivered on time.

 

 

 

 


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