Innovations: Crimp and Save

June 1, 2003
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Direct recording of quality assurance data helps improve crimp bond.

It seems like such a little thing—crimping, or bonding, a metal terminal to the end of a wire. But if it’s not done properly, over time plenty can go wrong. The wire might slip out of the terminal, or the joint might weaken. If there’s too much resistance, and a power connector is involved, the joint may heat up and cause an electrical fire.

All of which gives manufacturers an incentive to ensure crimping quality. They can do so with the Crimp Quality Assurance System, available from Schleuniger Inc. (Manchester, NH), that automates the process of collecting crimp quality data.

“More and more companies are requiring this type of data from their vendors to ensure that things are checked properly,” says Rob Boyd, crimping product manager at Schleuniger. However, he points out, the process creates an extra, non-value-added burden for the production floor.

That’s why automating it makes sense, though until now that’s been easier said than done. “Most companies use individual devices to measure the crimp quality, then write down the information by hand, or write it into a table that’s then input into a spreadsheet that can be printed out for the customer,” Boyd explains.

The Crimp Quality Assurance System eliminates the manual steps from the equation, feeding the data directly into the computer. The result is a lower probability for errors, which can occur with manual data transmission. And, as Boyd points out, “Some customers have been known to take an ‘Oh, it’s close enough’-type of approach, because they’re under the gun to get product out the door. They don’t always go back to the machine to make it perfect. They just let it go, and write down whatever value they need to.”

The system consists of multiple equipment components. The Crimp Height Testing Machine (CHME) measures crimp height, or the height of the terminal where it’s formed onto the end of the wire, Boyd explains. The Pull Tester 26 Pull Testing Machine administers the pull test that measures the amount of force required to pull the terminal from the end of the wire, to break the bond between the terminal and the wire, or to break the wire itself. The pull test device measures two different ranges: 220 pounds and 110 pounds. The device can also adhere to military specifications, pulling at one inch per minute. It also offers three other speeds and both destructive tests such as pull-and-break and non-destructive methods such as pull and hold and pull and return.

Crimp-force monitoring allows manufacturers to monitor production equipment for certain applications. The system’s ACO 05 Crimp Force Monitor is mounted onto the crimping press. Each crimp has its own crimp signature, or crimp curve, and the monitor on the press 100% inspects the crimp signature. “At the beginning of production, set up the crimp force monitor and ask, ‘This is what good crimps look like.’ Then it will compare each subsequent crimp to that reference crimp,” Boyd says. This comparison enables users to check for cracked tooling, for example, and that the press remains properly adjusted.

“Crimp force is actually a much more economical and efficient way to make sure nothing is wrong with the crimp,” Boyd says. “If you’re talking about a thousand wires, where each measurement might take anywhere from four to 10 seconds to measure, you’re talking a lot of time there. That’s why crimp height and pull tests are only done at specified intervals,” Boyd explains.

The Crimp Quality Assurance System ties this information together into one software package, allowing users to download the information from a particular day or job. Results can then be shared with customers. It also enables vendors to trace specific test results. “You can bring up a data set on, say, crimp height measurements done April 5, or for a certain work-order number,” Boyd says. “It will also tell you what individual device took the measurements.”

Up to 127 of the crimp quality devices can be networked onto one system. Customers can integrate a variety of crimp height, pull test, and crimp force devices through the available network cables and the NC 10 Network Controller, which is then linked to the customer’s PC. The WinCrimp software, included with the system, is available in a basic package and in a version that includes statistical analysis features. Also included are a Mitutoyo measuring gage and interface cables. The cost of the system varies according to the configuration.

“There are other quality assurance devices on the market,” Boyd says, “but ours integrates all the elements into one system. A quality manager can log on to his computer and view all the crimp force monitors on the floor, and then download the information from all the pull test devices. The manager doesn’t need a separate system for each one.”

Moreover, Boyd notes, the system gives quality managers considerable control over the process. “The data is entered into each terminal according to the measurements that are required, and after that information is sent to the devices, the operator or person doing the measurements can’t change the information. After the measurement is in the system, whether it meets the specifications or not, it can’t be changed. No one can fudge the numbers,” he says.

“For companies that monitor crimp quality assurance on a regular basis, this can save them time and money.”

For more information on the Crimp Quality Assurance System, contact:

Schleuniger Inc.

87 Colin Drive

Manchester, NH 03103

(603) 668-8117

FAX: (603) 668-8119

www.schleuniger.com.



Quality Specs

1.The Crimp Quality Assurance System automates the process of collecting crimp quality data.

2. The system consists of multiple equipment components. The Crimp Height Testing Machine (CHME) measures crimp height and the Pull Tester 26 Pull Testing Machine administers the pull test.

3. The pull test device measures two different ranges: 220 pounds and 110 pounds. It adheres to military specifications, pulling at one inch per minute, or at three other speeds and in destructive and nondestructive methods.

4. Crimp force monitoring allows manufacturers to monitor production equipment for certain applications.

5. Data from a particular day or job can be downloaded and results can be shared.

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