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Critical Criteria for Test Equipment: Part 1

August 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Test Stations 

This is the first of a four part series that will examine some key features you want to consider when planning and configuring your manufacturing testing facilities.  Keep in mind, these individual features can often be combined or added onto an existing product for increased functionality.Show/Hide

Work Cells

When the concept of just-in-time inventory is important to your operation, manufacturing cells are one of the major solutions to this need.  Cells allow immediate feedback if a problem develops and promotes a strong team spirit.  Individual test stations can be provided as standalone testers, or networked to a host computer, whichever makes the most sense for your operations.

Connect Once Only

To achieve the fastest test cycle time with lowest operator fatigue, perform all tests with a single connection.  With careful design of the test area, the operator can plug in the product once and perform any cycle, safety, or performance tests.

Run-in

If the product is a motor driven or a heating appliance, a run-in period may be desired.  If so, design the test area so the product remains connected from run-in through final test.  Automatic circuits can be used to control the timing period.  Also, keep in mind a turntable with rotating receptacles may improve efficiency.

Central Control of the Test Parameters

Networking test stations ensures that uniform test parameters are applied to all products.  This not only allows the data to drive your processes, but also gives you the added benefit of analyzing and measuring the effectiveness of your testing line, giving you real time feedback on what’s actually happening on the floor.

Stay tuned for more!

Are Liability Concerns Also Manufacturing’s Job?

August 16, 2012 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Test Stations 

So your boss is harping on about liability protection and the importance of investing in new testing equipment and following safety protocols. Sure, they’re concerned about the wellbeing of their floor crew, but in the end it all boils down to dollars and cents. Why should you, as a front line employee be concerned about things like liability protection? Well, here’s a couple reasons that might serve as a wakeup call:Show/Hide

Good for the Goose – Good for the Gander

As a manager, when looking at capital appropriation requests and purchasing new testing equipment to improve liability protection, you’re concerned about saving yourself from unnecessary lawsuits and litigation. From a workers perspective though sometimes it’s hard to see how that benefits you. Well consider it this way – How much do you value your job? What would happen if your plant was shut down due to a costly and debilitating claim? How does that affect your career? Your family? Your life? There are very real consequences to not being covered in today’s world, and you’re the first wave in keeping that from happening.

It’s Your Life on the Line

Manufacturing workers and plant owners and management have had a long standing tradition of butting heads on certain issues (where do you think unions came from?), but on this issue, they unanimously agree. Safety is not only a fiscal concern, but it’s also a human one. When you’re working in any kind of high risk environment, it’s essential that all equipment is sound, workers are alert and procedures are followed to the T. Liability protection isn’t just about keeping the company profitable, but about keeping the people behind it safe and secure in their jobs.

Paint Sprayer Manufacturing Line Tester

July 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Service Tags, Test Stations 

How to Save Money with Test Equipment Rentals

 

Do you have the need for high quality electrical testers to keep your equipment in top shape and avoid costly repairs?  Most organizations that work with fine tuned machinery do, however not a lot of companies can afford a full blown electrical testing station with top of the line data collection and measurement capabilities.  A single tester can cost several thousands of dollars, and put a serious dent in the operations budget.Show/Hide


So how do you meet this need and still keep the budget tight?  To get around the expensive price tag of testers, you might want to consider renting.  With test equipment rental, you only need to pay for a fraction of the cost and get the added benefit of on demand availability.  Use it when you need it, don’t pay for it when you don’t!

For testing equipment needs, Sotcher provides leading machinery to some of the major rental companies in the industry.  We measure and test our own products to the highest standard, and that level of quality and reliability can’t be beat by any other test equipment manufacturer.  We also have a dedicated support staff available at all times to ensure they get the equipment they need, on time and calibrated to exacting standards.  Give us a call today for a complete list of available test equipment and any other questions you may have.

How Data Acquisition Can Save Your A$$

June 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Service Tags, Test Stations 

Liability is a reality of today’s business environment and if you’re not prepared to protect yourself, regardless of whether those claims are valid or not, you may be risking not only your company’s welfare but your own job as well.  So what’s the one thing stopping you from being exposed and keeping your company and your job in check?  Read on to find out.Show/Hide

 

In our previous post we touched on the importance of data acquisition and how it’s revolutionized line testing and manufacturing processes.  The ability to gather information from a wide number of sources and combine them into a single piece of information or trend is critical for management to determine when a product group falls outside established guide lines.  But what’s the real advantage to an organization from robust and automated data acquisition technologies?

 

Aside from improved visibility for management and eliminating the hassle of paperwork and endless documents that get stuffed into a file cabinet, never to be seen again, what is the real benefit to the company as a whole?  Most people don’t think about this when assessing the payback on data acquisition, but we have two words for you – Liability Protection.

 

When you tie all test data, repair service and warranty maintenance together from start to finish, you get a detailed holistic view of the lifespan for each serial number that goes through your testing process.  This can be a huge help if the equipment ever malfunctions or breaks down, causing injury or potential harm to the person using it.  Having this data on hand and easily accessible keeps your company from being held accountable and provides a documented roadmap of each preventative step along the way.

3 Key Indicators You Could Use a Better Testing Program

May 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Service Tags, Test Stations 

Testing and maintaining your industrial equipment can not only save you time and money in the long run, but it also helps limit your liability and keeps your workforce and customers safe from any potential safety hazards.  Most people do routine testing of their equipment, but how do you know if it’s up to snuff?  We’ve spoken to the experts and determined 3 key indicators that your current testing program could use some work.Show/Hide

1. Adherence to Standards

A good place to start is to evaluate your internal and external standards for compliance.  All equipment manufacturers have to adhere to external testing standards as specified by the UL, CSA and TUV, but where they are lacking is establishing a set of internal standards to take it one step farther and ensure product quality.

2. Testing Spectrum Evaluation

Another area to evaluate when determining if your testing is procedures are best in their field is to evaluate the types of testing you’re currently doing.  Safety tests are just one area you can look at.  You also want to make sure you’re measuring on performance, quality, reliability, acceptance and routinely auditing all of these procedures.

3. Manual vs. Automatic Operations

When looking at your testing system as a whole, what percentage of the process is automated and what portion is manual?  The more automation and customization you can incorporate into your testing process, the lower the possibility for error and the more streamlined your system as a whole will be.  Most people can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to evaluating their testing procedures.  Take some time to critically evaluate your current system for increased efficiencies.

Long Story Short

There are a number of other areas to evaluate when determining if your testing procedures meet the grade, but by starting with these three important criteria, you’ll have a good understanding of where your current systems might be lacking and what direction you’ll need to take to improve them.

How Do You Know When It’s Time for a Custom Solution?

May 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Test Stations, Wiring Devices 

When it’s time to upgrade or replace your existing test equipment, or you’re in the market for a new setup all together, how do you know if it’s better to spend the big bucks for a standard hi-pot tester or custom build your own solution?  Well, here at Sotcher we asked some experts and came up with three main components to consider when making this decision.Show/Hide

It’s All About the Benjamins

Obviously a big factor for consideration.  While most full featured hi-pot testers will put a dent in even the most considerable budgets, there’s another solution that costs less and is a better fit for your own manufacturing processes.  People are usually surprised to find that they can have a fully automatic test station with data acquisition included for less than the price of a micro-processor type hi-pot tester.  Which leads us to our next point.

Cut Once, Measure Twice

There have been considerable advances in data acquisition in the past decade when it comes to testing industrial equipment.  It’s become so affordable and efficient, you can usually get a test station designed to your specs for less than you would spend on the components to build it.  All companies recognize having full and complete records of every production test on a real time basis is invaluable.  Everything from rejection rates, liability protection, quality trends, production flow and management reports can be pulled to diagnose your testing programs in a custom solution.  However, these features are not always included in a standard hi-pot testing unit, so be sure to evaluate this when considering new equipment.

Does it Gel?

The last thing, but arguably the most important to consider, is how well does the solution you’re looking at match your current manufacturing processes and flows?  Does a plug and play tester suit your needs, or would you find value in having an automated test station with data acquisition and a wide range of test programs included?  These are all things that need to be considered when looking at implementing or upgrading your test equipment within your organization, and while there’s no easy answer, you’ll have a much better idea of what you need and if a custom solution is right for you after evaluating these criteria.

Is YOUR Testing Line Missing the Data Acquisition Revolution?

January 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Service Tags 

We all recognize the benefits of having on-demand data acquisition available across all areas of your testing process.  From rejection rate and quality trends to production flows and management reports, this information is invaluable when it comes to measuring the efficiency of your testing line.

If it’s so important though, why aren’t more people doing it?  We here at Sotcher hear all the time how standard Hi Pot testers lack the sophistication and customization needed to track and measure your testing processes, but what most people don’t realize is that it’s not the only option out there.Show/Hide

 

We touched on custom solutions as opposed to standard Hi Pot testers in our last post, and have heard time and time again from customers how valuable it’s been to implement testing equipment with data acquisition capabilities.  Not only does it provide proof that the tests were run, enhancing customer confidence, but it also gives you a basis for trend analysis, leading to improved process control.

 

What does all this mean for you?  If you’re not gathering the right data and able to pull it into meaningful reports on a real time basis, it’s time to reevaluate your existing line equipment.  The costs of upgrading to a system with data acquisition capabilities is far more affordable and practical now more than ever, and the improvements in efficiencies and liability protection alone is definitely worth the investment.

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