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Critical Criteria for Test Equipment: Part 4

September 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Service Tags, Test Stations 

This is the final part of our 4 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

Short Circuit Detection

With the initial application of power to a product there is always a possivility that the input power line to the product is short-circuited.  To protect the operator and the product, a short circuit detector can be used.  It operates faster than a circuit breaker and its level can be an adjustable test parameter.

Audit Station

When a high volume of appliances is being manufactured and tractability of each product is not required, an audit station becomes  practical solution.  Basic test stations without data acquisition are used in the manufacturing cells.  A single audit station is used to test samples from the line.  The audit station has extended test capacity and provides statistical analysis of the data for quality control.

Long Term Cycle Testing

A complete quality monitoring system calls for life cycle testing.  Cycle test stations allow continuous testing while monitoring and recording critical parameters.  Automatic controls assure functional tests are performed on schedule and out of tolerance products are turned off.  The automatic data collection system provides MTBF data as well as statistical analysis of the product’s performance.

Tracing Repair Actions

If a total product history is desired, repair action and audit results on non-conforming products can be recorded.  These can be traced to the affected product by model and serial number.

We hope you found these suggestions helpful and informative.  Feel free to leave your own in the comments section or ask us any questions you might have.

Critical Criteria for Test Equipment: Part 2

August 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Test Stations, Wiring Devices 

Part two 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

Mixing Domestic and Exported Products

Appliances for North America and the International market are manufactured and tested in the same cell by using quick change test receptacles.  An outlet strip containing the carious receptacles may be used.  The test station can furnish the proper voltage to each.  The correct frequency can also be supplied if necessary.

Teach the Tester

If you manufacture products such as hair dryers or fans, but the product mix changes frequently, use a special feature that teaches the tester.  A good sample product is cycled through its various speeds and heat settings.  The tester measures the results and uses them (with tolerances applied) as test parameters to test similar products.  Safety tests such as dielectric strength are not affected with this process.

Central Data Collection Point

Networking all test stations within a product group to a host computer allows all test data to be retained at a single point.  This supports your data acquisition and statistical process control efforts.

Ground Verification

For operator safety, a second test circuit verifies that the frame of the product is held at a true ground potential whenever power is applied.

Stay tuned for more!

Paint Sprayer Manufacturing Line Tester

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

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.

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.

Nationally Recognized Sotcher Measurement Inc. test equipment is in common use throughout the United States by major manufactures of power tools and appliances.
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