At the last company I worked at they were experiencing a connector problem on the manufacturing floor.
Eventually, it found its way to me. My investigation turned up the following:
1. The leads on the connectors were OK per spec from the manufacturer, however they caused issues on our floor.
2. Manufacturing Engineering had taken a stab at fixing it by building a lead-forming apparatus, which failed to work. I went to the floor, looked at an assembled card with the connector and knew the problem’s cause immediately. I re-verified this observation each day for three days. I observed the same problem each time, i.e. it was consistent. Manufacturing had approximately 20 workers pulled from their normal responsibilities to handle this issue on a special line set up specifically to handle this problem. Even then, the problem was still evident.
Based on the observations, I called up the connector manufacturer, described the problem to them and arranged a call with them and our folks for the next day. During the call the next day I explained to them that their lead-forming dies at the factory were worn and out of spec. The leads were angled slightly and didn’t come out parallel to the connector housing. The company worked with their people in China to get new dies and correct the process issue. They had to convince the people over there, why? Per their spec, the way it was written, the leads met their connector spec. So two actions took place…a spec was rewritten, and the lead-forming dies were replaced.
Finally, we received approximately 400 units of the new spec and dies. They worked great! The 20 person line was dissolved and we all went back to our own responsibilities.
Mark Mobley is a senior component engineer/analyst. He has 30 years experience in the components arena. He like reading, woodworking and amateur radio.