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Regardless of what type of manufacturing operation you have set up, one of the most important components to have in place is an accurate, responsive quality assurance process. This is especially true for those that produce or use cable assemblies as a part of their core product lines. When terminating and soldering cables and wires, there is a sequence of steps that must be followed in order to ensure the quality of the wire and its long service life. This typically includes checks to make sure the product complies with engineering standards and customer requirements. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a testing method.
The best electrical connection is the result of the careful selection of wire, soldering contacts, terminals, and any other component fittings. Proper selection and maintenance must also be attributed to the crimping press, and any other associated tools and accessories to ensure they meet all specified gaging requirements. The training of your production team in performing the wiring, soldering, termination, and programming operations, as well as proper safety is also a critical source of data that can help guide the design of your testing system. Here are some of the most common processes.
Measuring the height of a crimped connection is an important piece of data that can help you determine that your crimping tool is set to the right die cavity, ensuring that only the minimal required pressure is applied. However, the height of the connection alone is not sufficient in determining whether to pass or fail the connection. As a metric, crimped height fails to identify broken strands within the wire, failure to insulate properly, and other more illusive defects. Measuring the height is non-destructive, and relatively cheap and easy to perform, making it a commonly adopted quality assurance process.
The pressure of the crimp is also a great indicator of both the correct set up of the equipment and the skill of the technician. However, the pressure monitor used to gather this information is not commonly available on most presses in the U.S. cable assembly industry. For most small shops, it is not cost effective to purchase a pressure monitor, although for larger operations it can provide a very valuable data point.
Testing the minimum tensile value of the cable sample is a great way to allay any concerns regarding the mechanical integrity of the crimped termination. Additionally, it will indicate the strength of the electrical connection with incredibly reliable accuracy. To perform a pull test, one end of a wire sample is placed in a vice and is then rotated or stretched to the breaking point. The force required to break the wire sample is measured, typically via a digital reader on most modern pull testers.
Pull testers tend to be fairly inexpensive, and very easy to implement into your quality control system. Your production staff can be trained to use the pull tester equipment in less than an hour. Additionally, they are easy and inexpensive to maintain. Since the pull test provides such a reliable data point, they are an essential part of every quality assurance department.
For more information on testing your cable assemblies, or increasing the efficiency and speed of your production line, contact us today!