Cost Saving Data Acquisition System
The existing product was a six channel stand alone data acquisition system. The product had a “dead front” panel with incandescent lights for illumination, and a thermal printer to generate reports.
The existing product was losing money at $11,500 a copy. Worse than that, it was unreliable, and customers were extremely unhappy. It had 14 circuit boards, ranging from less than one inch square with two parts on it, to four boards that were 10”X12”. There were also six power supplies, and over $300 in labor charges just for point-to-point wiring.
The product was built in batches of 25. The QA test for a batch consisted of a test, a three-day burn-in, and another test. This process was scheduled to take 25 days per batch, but nobody could recall a batch ever finishing on time.
The company wanted to reduce the manufacturing costs to $10,000, and fix the problems. They also wanted to add two channels as a cover story for the redesign.
The new 8-channel data acquisition system contained five circuit boards. Of these, two were purchased as complete, pre-tested modules (one vacuum florescent display, one thermal printer). Two others contained nothing except switches and connectors. All other circuitry, including all power supplies, was located on one 10”X15” board. All board interconnections used flat cables, so there were no point-to-point wires at all.
The first 25 units shot through final test so fast that management assumed something had to be wrong. They ordered a seven day burn-in, followed by a complete retest, including another 3 day burn-in. By the end, every unit had been tested four times, and had spent 13 days in burn-in. The total time was still several days short of the allotted 25 days.
Oh, and the manufacturing cost was under $1700, built right here in Southern California.
Toucan Technology 2444 Lexington Dr. Ventura, California 93003 on the beach between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.