No one day is like another. When you arrive in the morning you never know what the day will hold. That’s what makes the job at Elpresss technology department so interesting, says Hendrik Klein, Design Engineer at Elpress.
THE MORNING starts, as for most people, with checking e-mails. These can be customer support questions, internal inquiries from Elpress sales staff or e-mails related to the ongoing engineering projects. Today, Hendrik has nine folders of current projects lying on his desk. And, of course, the mandatory coffee cup.
“It’s important to prioritise the e-mails fairly, which are the most urgent and require immediate response. For example, an e-mail from our US office could be high priority because of the time difference. You don’t want their response to a customer to take a long time just because we’re on the other side of the world. The response time to customers in the US should be as fast as to the Nordic customers,” Hendrik says.
The inbox also contains e-mails from the production operations, in which there could be questions about measurements and dimensions in drawings etc. If so, you have to be quick to respond, or simply go down to production to the machine operator to sign off the drawing on the spot. Hendrik often takes advice from the machine operators before he starts drawing a product on his computer. They have the best knowledge of what can be made in the machine, and the best way to do it.
“The cooperation between the technology department and production is extremely important and is vital for us to be able to manufacture our products to the highest quality. You can’t take any shortcuts, accuracy is everything,” Hendrik says. Another part of Hendrik’s day may consist of conducting various tests in Elpress’ laboratory. Today, testing a hydraulic hose on one of the Elpress pumps was on the schedule . Another day it may be testing of new components. Different checks are performed to ensure that the product works as it should, according to given standards. Longterm tests are also carried out in the laboratory, this is when alternating current is used to age a crimped terminal.
The test is carried out in several stages; the terminal is heated and cooled alternately and several shortcircuit tests are performed in between. During the longterm test, which takes about 4-6 months, checks are continuously carried out on the terminal and are logged for careful followup. When the terminal has undergone at least 1000 cycles, a final check is made to ensure that it still complies with the IEC61238-1 standard.
If the terminal does NOT comply, an analysis of what has happened is started. Has it been crimped too little or too hard, does the tool used have to be adjusted or what is the cause? It is important that the conductor-terminal-tool combination works together, all in order to be able to manufacture a terminal of the best quality.
Being involved all the way, from a prototype at the drawing stage, through tests in EL-Labb, manufacturing in production and finally to a finished product is what Hendrik finds most rewarding with his work in the technology department.