new test bench has just joined the laboratory’s numerous test devices. After years of good and loyal service, the old bench will gradually give way to a new technology.
For the occasion, we met Anaïs Fontaine, the laboratory test technician who successfully led this project. She’s also the one who will use it.
In parallel, we have asked Laurent Jully, Quality and Transformation Director, to tell us more about the impact of this modernization on the company and its activity.
Anaïs, first of all, can you tell us more about the advantages of this new bench?
For the technician, its use is greatly simplified. The measuring instruments (current, voltage, temperature) are integrated. Some elements are adjusted automatically and others can be programmed. Adding multiple screens also makes it easier to control tasks and measurements.
It saves time, but also comfort, work and efficiency. That’s today’s technology!
For the company, it helps us meet the evolution of industrial standards and, more specifically, the UL 61058-1 standard. Switches used to operate electrical appliances must be compliant with this standard.
The operator’s skills must also be validated by the organization in charge of the UL standard. Our laboratory is subject to an annual inspection to maintain this qualification.
What kind of test can you perform with this tool ?
After the development of special specifications for this bench, we selected a supplier to build it. This has resulted in a custom bench that allows us to lead:
- qualification tests for any new or modified product,
- follow-up tests based on product samples taken from production lines,
- tests of customers’ expertize
This bench is dedicated to switches. We use it mainly for two tests:
- heating: we inject a current and measure the temperature on the terminals. The limit temperature is defined by a delta between the temperature of the terminals and that of the environment during the test. For instance, for a test at 100°C, with a sanction at 45°C, the temperature on the terminals must not exceed 145°C.
- electrical endurance: we operate the products a certain number of cycles under defined thermal and electrical conditions (current, voltage, circuit type, etc.). We thus simulate accelerated product ageing. The number of actuations depends on the products. On this bench, we can carry out between 6 000 and 100 000 cycles per test (one cycle = 1 round trip ON/OFF).
Laurent, can this new material open up new business horizons?
“This upgrade conforming to the UL61058-1 standard ensures that our products are complying to international standards. This will open new opportunities on our markets, definitely.”
How does this new equipment contribute to the achievement of the quality objectives of the company?
Thanks to many automated and programmed parameters, this new test bench saves huge amounts of time to operators. Anaïs can spend more time on other projects and better manage priorities. It strengthens our efficiency and effectiveness, two major quality objectives for our company.
Besides, we have made it a priority to follow and respect the evolution of standards, regulations and customers’ requirements. We aim at accompanying the company transformation towards more agility and further simplifications.
Other lab technologies will join this new test bench soon. Anaïs and her colleagues are now preparing to replace the force and course test benches. Transformation is on the way !
Many thanks to both of you for spending some time answering our questions.