Case Studies: Ensuring Simplicity and Easy Operation

June 1, 2005
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BIC USA Inc. uses Mark-10 Corp.’s equipment to test force and torque and to ensure easy use of its wide range of writing instruments and correction products. Source: BIC USA Inc.

BIC USA Inc. has manufactured writing instruments, lighters and shavers for their quality, affordability and ease-of-use in the U.S. market since 1969. To further strengthen customer loyalty for the company's global brands, BIC USA Inc. has been using Mark-10 Corp.'s (Copiague, NY) torque measurement test equipment in its Stationery R&D Department (Milford, CT).

William Miller, quality assurance engineer at BIC, was working on a new product where the front of the pen had to be twisted open to be used. In this situation, it was important to ensure that the pen was easy to open by anyone who used it-no matter what age. For this, the company needed a tester to ensure an easy-to-open pen.

BIC decided on Mark-10's products after a recommendation from Judge Tool Sales Co., Mark-10's distributor in Stratford, CT. This was the first time that Miller, a 24-year veteran of the company, used Mark-10 products. Miller could have used an existing torque tester on the new product, but instead wanted a better model that offered the ability to regulate the RPMs and then establish set and repeatable testing methods. With these in place, he could then perform exact and easily duplicated tests on this product to ensure its ease of use. Those were the key factors behind his decision to purchase the TSTM torque measurement test stand.

Motorized for precise speed control, the TSTM's clockwise and counterclockwise rotation provides highly precise and repeatable tests, Miller says. In addition, according to Miller, the TSTM can be configured for a variety of gripping

fixtures-both Jacobs chuck grip and closure grip-while the lever-operated slider with travel stops makes engaging and disengaging samples fast and effective.

Because of these factors, the TSTM provided Miller with the benefit of eliminating the human variable of turning the product during testing, which changes from person to person and from test to test.

According to Miller, all of the company's pens, pencils and Wite-Out-brand correction pens are typically tubular shaped. Depending on the specific product, they have mating parts that are screwed, snapped or welded together.

"BIC tests each of these products for torque unscrewing and re-screwing to determine ease-of-use as well as occasionally torque-to-failure to see how tough they are," Miller says. "It's very important for us to establish that these products are easy to use and can withstand the rigors of daily use. That's why we dedicate so much time and effort to testing all of our products-it's the foundation of our commitment to quality," he says.

Throughout the company, BIC implements other Mark-10 products for testing its wide range of writing instruments and correction products to ensure that consumers find the company's products simple and easy to operate, including the Mark-10 TSTM torque measurement test stand with STJ torque sensor, Digital BGI force/torque gage and gripping fixtures.

Miller likes the selection of units and resolution of the BGI force/torque gage, which is designed to fit the TSTM test stand and eliminate calibration or setup. It automatically recognizes the STJ torque sensor and displays the appropriate capacity and unit of measurement.

Mark-10 Corp.

(888) MARK-TEN



Benefits

• The TSTM torque measurement test stand regulates the RPMs and establishes set and repeatable

testing methods.

• The TSTM can be configured for a variety of gripping fixtures-both Jacobs chuck grip and closure grip-while the lever-operated slider with travel stops makes engaging and disengaging samples fast and effective.

• The BGI force/torque gage fits the TSTM test stand and eliminates calibration or setup. It automatically recognizes the STJ torque sensor and displays the appropriate capacity and unit of measurement.

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