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Electrical and Electronic - Capability Statements

Mobile phone keypad life-time cyclic compression test

Electronic keypad button compression life

Keypad push-buttons are important componentry on many electrical and electronic products. Mobile phones, keypad entry systems or industrial machine controllers all have functional reliance on the reliability and longevity of these components. Testing the life-span for the keypad through repetitive actuation of the buttons requires automation to repeat the compression test cycle to either failure detection, a measured drop in the value of a significant parameter, or a specific number of cycles – at which point the component may be inspected visually and for degradation in functionality. A simple force gauge may be used to determine appropriate loading. The added flexibility of being able to specify the correct compressive force for different keypad implementations can be programmed into a software-controlled system.

Mecmesin Systems: Digital force gauge, Emperor™ (Force)

Case Study: Mobile Phone Keypad Life Test

 

Polyester-mica film tape stiffness flexure test

Electrical insulating polyester film rigidity by 3-point bend flexural test

To maximise the service life and optimise the functionality of electrical systems – generators, motors, etc. – the electrical insulation component is vital. Often in the form of tapes, comprised of combinations or layering of polyester, mica (or mica paper) and glass fibre, these elements must have a certain degree of flexibility in their mechanical properties and prevent electric flashover and conduct away any dissipated heat. International electrical standards define specific tests to measure the stiffness of insulating materials based on mica. To meet these standards a purpose-built tape bend fixture will be required which performs a 3-point bend along the axis of the tape test specimen. The insulation film, mica uppermost (if layered, with the faced material uppermost) is placed symmetrically over a 5mm wide slot in the support platform and a tapered penetration bar is lowered until a peak resistance force is achieved. The stiffness is defined as a rigidity calculation – the ratio of maximum flexural load to sample length. The test for an individual product type is performed on 5 representative samples and the mean, maximum and maximum calculated rigidity values are reported for compliance, in addition to the temperature conditions (required to be 23 °C ± 2 K) and humidity.

Mecmesin Systems: MultiTest console-controlled force test system

Standard: IEC 60371-2

Microphone arm torque to turn test

Headset microphone arm joint torque to deploy and store

Electronic communication devices are designed to be comfortable and ergonomically efficient in their usage, especially in environments where the product may be worn for extended periods – for example by company contact centre agents. The microphone arm of hands-free headsets may be designed to deploy and stow as needed, and as such must do so in a precise manner with positive engagement, yet operate with a light enough torque to turn to not require excessive effort in prolonged, repeated use. The implementation of a computer-controlled torque test system provides a manufacturer’s Research and Development department with the flexibility to create a suite of test programs for an extended product range. Custom fixtures to attach to the torque cell may be built to accommodate a variety of designs (over or on-ear, wireless, Bluetooth) and sizes (mini, ear-clip or full-size over the head) to swing the component through its complete arc. An adjustable lower table fixture also must securely locate the body of the headset. Interchangeable torque cells will allow accurate measurement for various models – production or prototype designs. The software should be programmed to report the salient characteristics of the torque curve – peaks to initiate the rotation and locate the arm into the home position as well as the peak and average effort in the main stage of the actual rotation (running torque).

Mecmesin Systems: Conputer-controlled torque test systems, Emperor™ (Torque)

Case Study: Headset Microphone Joint Torque

Lighting fastening tensile strenght and pull-out test

Electrical lighting anchorage pull-off resistance

Electrical lighting displays which are erected on buildings in public areas, such as seasonal illuminations, are subjected not only to specific electrical standards, but also legislation surrounding their installation, operation and removal. The fastening hooks/eyelets securing the cables to buildings or other structures must resist tension forces designed to test pull-out from their anchoring and tensile strength of the attachment or its bolts. Due to the location of these anchorage points – usually in high-up or relatively inaccessible spots – a test system with the emphasis on lightness and portability is required. The ability to also store multiple readings within the gauge’s on-board memory, ensuring traceability of the measured peak force values back to individual fastenings, should also be a requirement. The data may be analysed offline to evaluate the entire electrical system’s integrity once the gauge has collected the information. For additional safety consideration for the operator, a handle for the gauge should be employed.

Mecmesin Systems: Digital force gauge, manual handling kit

Case Study: Festive Lighting

Compressive shear testing of a PCB

Printed circuit board compressive shear of soldered joints

The solder joints on a printed circuit board (PCB) are small and potentially delicate but must be able to withstand handling during the production process. Hand soldering production methods for such small elements is highly skilled, requiring extensive manipulation of the components and thus risk of break-off. In addition to pull-out testing, the joints are subject to compressive shear loading. International test standards exist for this type of mechanical compressive shear stress. The loading probe must be exactly aligned with the surface of the substrate in order to create the shear plane and not place the joint under a bending load instead. To test multiple joints on an intricate board design, a custom system may be required to quickly align all of the joints with the fixture at the specified angle. Selecting a loadcell of appropriate range to record the best accuracy is also a consideration – these tests may need to measure forces of around 300 N.

Mecmesin Systems: MultiTest console-controlled force test system

Case Study: PCB Pull & Shear Test

Standard: IEC 62137

 

Insulation film bend stiffness testing

Insulation film stiffness testing

Familiar with three-point bending? Our client needed to fold insulating film strip along its length rather than end to end, so the usual flexure fixtures were not appropriate. Instead they needed a blade and slot fixture with sufficient width.

Mecmesin designed and manufactured a slotted anvil with graduations for accurate sample placement, and a polished chrome plated blade, for consistent insertion and fully repeatable testing.

Electronic component strength testing

Electrical assembly component strength

Soldered, fused and welded parts in electrical and electronic assemblies can be difficult to grip in ways that mimic the forces applied when in use, because they are complex or asymmetric. Our client manufactures safety-critical alarms and asked us to provide custom fixtures for pull-out and push-out force testing.

Mecmesin designed an assemblage of fixturing parts for different components under test, in order to correctly align easily them every time. These included a sliding table, a chuck and a cylindrical sleeve holder.

Spade connector force testing

Electrical connector insertion and withdrawal forces

Push-fit electrical connectors must offer a firm but practical fit. Where vibration is a factor, they must especially not work free, but for maintenance they must be separable without being damaged or damaging other components. For repeatable testing of insertion and withdrawal forces, the connecting parts have to be held securely in alignment, without applying additional gripping forces in the connection.

Mecmesin designed custom fixtures for this client to hold the naked terminal parts and the spade connectors in a way that allowed for rapid test sample exchange and maximum throughput.

Welded joint strength testing

Cost effective cable strength testing

A major manufacturer of wire harnesses and connectors approached us for a cost-effective solution to strength testing cables of different diameters and welded joints, up to 1 kN. Standard cam grips to this rating proved too heavy and bulky.

Mecmesin designed narrow-profile lever cam grips for the required application, enabling rapid sample insertion and maximum throughput on a minimum requirement test system.

Compression plate for testing plastic ducting

Cable duct strength testing

A fibre cable solutions provider needed a custom compression fixture to test plastic ducting strength. Mecmesin engineered a part to fit the inner profile to the required length

This is just one of many examples, where creating a fixture to fit a specific profile, or to insert into a manufactured part, solves all the problems of trawling catalogues of grips and fixtures for an approximate fit that may in the end yield inconsistent results.