Guest Blog Archives

Get Lean with 5S Workplace Principles


5S - Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain Recognized as one of the strategies associated with “Just in Time” manufacturing (Toyota Production System), the 5S system for workplace organization and standardization originated in Japan. The “5” relates to Read more

PCB Rework – Evolving Cleaning Methods


Smaller devices makes PCB rework harder. Today's manufacturers of printed circuit boards (PCBs) strive for quality and drive operation yields close to 99% and above – yet some boards will still fail functional tests when coming off the assembly line and Read more

Ten Labels to Solve Your Engineering Challenges


Put the right one on There’s a right label for every application and Brady has designed a handy cheat sheet to help you on your way. When choosing a label, you’ll want to ask yourself several questions – Will the Read more

How Does Paying Attention to Ergonomics in the Workplace Pay Off?

Posted on by Guest in All-Spec News, Guest Blog, Industry News, Vendor News Leave a comment

A special thank you to Lista for guest-blogging the article below!

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), musculoskeletal disorders (carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, muscle strains, lower back injuries, etc.) are one of the leading causes of workplace injuries and illnesses. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates musculoskeletal disorders accounted for roughly 33% of all worker injury and illness cases reported in 2011.

So what can companies do to make employee health and safety a priority? Applying ergonomic principles, the study of the workplace as it relates to the worker, is one solution that can pay off in a very big way for both the employee and the company.

Here’s a closer look at how to implement ergonomics:

Identify the risks to make tasks safer for workers
The first step in addressing ergonomic concerns in the workplace is to review work tasks for risk factors. Do employees sit at a desk or workstation for prolonged periods of time and develop poor posture? Do they stand in an assembly line making quick motions (i.e., bending and twisting), which can irritate tendons and put increased pressure on the nerves?

Assessing the risks and modifying tools and the work environment is a critical step in making tasks safer for workers. For example, a dental technician working in the lab might benefit from making the switch to LED lighting, which can promote healthy vision and ease the symptoms of Presbyopia, a natural change in vision that occurs with age and interferes with the ability to focus on objects.

Make adjustments to promote workplace productivity
After the safety risks have been identified, the next step is to remove the barriers to productivity by making adjustments that promote healthy behaviors. This involves rearranging workstation elements for maximum safety and productivity. Regardless of physical characteristics or the tasks being performed, employees should be able to make adjustments to work surface height or change the elevation of work shelves and work surfaces to increase comfort and ease of use.

For employees who stand throughout the day, an ergonomic adjustment might include proper support (i.e., anti-fatigue and/or non-slip mats, depending on the operation) for concrete floors. Employees who sit during the day, on the other hand, might benefit from good sitting posture, proper seat height, and chairs with lumbar support for the most ergonomic comfort and safety.

Design the workstation to meet the specific needs of the employee
Perhaps the most important component of ergonomics involves designing the workstation to meet the specific needs of the employee. Rather than physically forcing an employee’s body to fit the tasks required for a particular job, adapting tasks, workstations, tools, and equipment to fit the worker can greatly reduce physical stress to the employee’s body as well as eliminate potentially serious workplace strains or injuries.

In a warehouse environment, for example, developing an efficient packing station might involve determining a workflow pattern for the packing table and making sure all supplies are within easy reach of the operator.  Making an easy adjustment such as this not only requires the least worker movement possible, but it also increases productivity, since tired employees tend to make more mistakes and get injured more easily.

As noted by OSHA, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. For this reason, it’s critical for companies to evaluate their work environments for ergonomic factors to drive both productivity and safety, a practice that can prove beneficial for employers and individual employees alike.

 


In stock! Introducing the Dazor Saturn LED Spot!

Posted on by Guest in All-Spec News, Guest Blog, Industry News, New Products, Product Spotlight, Technical Articles, Vendor Spotlight Leave a comment

Dazor Saturn LED Spot(A special thank you to Dazor for guest-blogging the content below!)

Dazor’s new Saturn LED Spot is the latest generation in high-quality, energy-efficient lighting designed for years of use with the most demanding visual tasks in a variety of production environments.   Many LED fixture manufacturers claim their light will last for the full LED life published by the chip manufacturer.  In reality they rarely do.  The reason is most fixture manufacturers do not have the expertise – or they take shortcuts in materials or production – to design the required combination of electrical, thermal, mechanical and optical system components.

In comparison, the Saturn LED spot is designed with advanced LED chip technology alongside Dazor’s engineering proficiency in optoelectronics and thermal management.  What does this mean to a user?  If a 75-watt incandescent or halogen fixture is replaced with a Saturn LED fixture, the initial fixture investment will be recovered in a year.  And considering the annual savings in energy costs, bulb replacements and related maintenance, during the 15+ year life of the fixture the return on investment is earned many times over.

A common measurement of a light source is the lumen.  Lumen, or luminous flux, is the total amount of visible light emitted from a source.  Understanding this definition is crucial when comparing different light source technologies.  As an example, a 75-watt incandescent bulb produces 1200 lumens.  That sounds like a lot of energy and a lot of light, and it is.  However, light from a filament-based source is emitted in an omni-directional pattern; that is, equally in all directions.  And when installed into a fixture, at best only 45% of the light hits the intended work surface.  This is an extremely inefficient method for delivering light where the user needs it. By contrast, an optically designed LED light source directs the light precisely where it’s needed and requires a fraction of the energy to do so.

The amount of light on a work surface is measured in the footcandle or lux.  1 footcandle (fc) = 10.764 lux (lx), with lux being the metric equivalent of footcandle.  At a 12” distance, a 75-watt screw-in bulb mounted in a typical incandescent housing produces about 300fc of visible light intensity on a work surface, while the 5.5-watt Saturn LED fixture produces 2500fc using a 16ᴼ optical beam spread.  That’s less than 1/10 the energy required to produce eight times the light intensity.

Another quantitative measurement of lighting is efficacy, which is the amount of light produced by the fixture compared to the amount of power consumed to produce it.  The Saturn LED fixture produces 600 lumens by consuming total fixture power of 5.5 watts, resulting in 109 lumens per watt.  An incandescent bulb produces 1200 lumens by consuming 75 watts, resulting in a luminous efficacy of 16 lumens per watt.  And 90% of the total radiant energy produced by an incandescent bulb is heat, not light.   So an incandescent bulb is a lot better as a heat source than it is as a source of light.

Using less energy, saving money, and even being environmentally friendly are all quantifiable advantages of the Saturn LED light over incandescent, halogen and fluorescent light sources.  But what about quality of the light?  All the numerical benefits don’t mean a thing if a user doesn’t like the lighting.  In its infancy as a new and alternative light source, LED manufacturers rushed to sell LEDs into the marketplace and fixture manufacturers were just as happy to install them into poorly designed fixtures.  The result was lighting fixtures which housed LED technology that produced unappealing light output and performance that didn’t live up to expectations.  That’s still the case today when shortcuts are taken.  However, dramatic improvements during recent years have been made in LED chip designs and manufacturing control processes specifically focusing on light quality.  Pleasing, uniform, color-accurate illumination that meets performance expectation is exactly what’s designed into the Saturn LED light.

In addition, the Saturn LED light has a precision-smooth on/off dimming control machined into the aluminum housing and a choice of optical beam spreads to suit user applications.  The fixture is available on a gooseneck or counterbalanced floating arm and can be mounted to horizontal, sloped or vertical surfaces, a rolling or pedestal floor stand, or onto any end-user equipment.


Vendor Spotlight: CCI

Posted on by Guest in Guest Blog, Vendor News Leave a comment

(special thanks to CCI for guest blogging the content below!)

CCI Vendor Spotlight Why “CORSTAT” is the best product for you:

CCI ‘makes’ Corstat at our very own factory in Minnesota. The real issue we want to convey is that quality and ESD performance are what should drive the customer’s decision. Along with that, not all conductive corrugated is the same.

So, what makes Corstat different?

  1. ESD consistent shielding: CCI has been making Corstat for over 34 years. Corstat has been approved by the biggest names in Electronics including Defense, Automotive, Space and Medical customers. As Corstat is made, a conductive shielding layer is applied to both sides of corrugated paperboard material. This shielding layer is put-down at a 103 to 104 level. It is the combination of the shielding layers and the ‘air gap’ locked in between the layers that gives you excellent ESD shielding that is better than industry standards. Materials that do not have the ‘air gap’ will not perform as well. This is true of impregnated materials and solid conductive plastics. It is much easier to control Product ESD/Electrical Consistency during the coating process then it is by using loaded fiber materials to make ESD products.
  2. In addition to the shielding layers mentioned in #1, CCI also applies a dissipative ‘varnish’ layer over the Corstat coatings. This is what makes Corstat the most effective conductive corrugated material available. This dissipative varnish does several very importantthings:
    1. It raises the surface resistivity to 105up to 106. This assures the material’s surface will provide a slow enough drainage of static from a part that may have static build-up on it and not damage delicate components. The ESD standard for this function is 104 up to 1010.
    2. The dissipative coating also controls sulfur out-gassing. Regular brown corrugated paper board is made using Sulfur as a manufacturing agent. The sulfur residue can cause lead contamination and build up on sensitive parts and solder areas. CCI’s dissipative over coating controls/negates this affect. Non-coated conductive corrugated does not offer this very important protection.
    3. The dissipative coating also gives the end user the ‘cleanest conductive corrugated on the market.’ The measure for this is the Southerland Rub Test. Regular brown kraft or coated but ‘unsealed’ conductive corrugated can generate a lot of particulates in the manufacturing environment. Foreign Objects and Debris (FOD) are a major problem in the electronics industry.
    4. And finally, Corstat is manufactured to be 100 % Old Corrugated Containers (OCC) recyclable. OCC means that Corstat is the same as any printed or glued brown box you may recycle at home. This is the largest family of recyclable corrugated. When others say that their material is recyclable it may just mean that you can make black roofing paper out of it because there is no way to get the ‘black’ color out. The key is the OCC Standard.

CORSTAT is better, CORSTAT is the best and now you know why.

All-Spec Industries is an authorized distributor of CCI (Conductive Containers, Inc.) static protective packaging. CCI products have been trusted for handling and shipping static sensitive parts for over 30 years.


(Exclusively from Weller!)Ten Commandments of Soldering

Posted on by Guest in Guest Blog Leave a comment

(Special thanks to Weller for guest blogging the content below!)

I. Thou shall not remove tip when soldering iron is powered “on.” Doing so can cause heating element to rise up to approximately 1300°F, resulting in thermal shock and reduced heater life.

Weller Logo II. Thou shall maintain a damp iron sponge, preferably with de-ionized water.

A drenched, as opposed to damp, sponge will bring the temperature of the tip down too drastically, causing thermal shock and reduced tip life. For lead-free solder, a dry cleaner method is recommended.

III. Thou shall not disconnect soldering iron from base unit when powered “on.” Disconnecting or reconnecting the soldering tool from the base unit while powered on may cause a short between non-compatible pins, resulting in damage to the base unit or pencil.

IV. Thou shall maintain a coating of solder on working area of soldering iron tip. Doing so protects the tip from oxidation.

V. Thou shall never drop soldering iron while heated. Dropping the soldering tool while heated may cause thermal / mechanical shock to the heater, sensor, or tip (fractured plating).

VI. Thou shall not throw soldering iron into soldering tool stand. This will have the same effect as Commandment V.

VII. Thou shall never use soldering iron as a crowbar or pry tool. Doing so could chip or pit finish on tip, rendering it useless.

VIII. Thou shall not use sharp or serrated objects to remove tip from soldering iron. This will have the same effect as Commandment VII.

IX. Honor thy “KGB” (Known Good Base). Do not plug a non-working soldering iron into a KGB. This could cause damage to the base.

Weller Soldering Station X. Thou shall turn the station down to lowest setting or use pre-programed set-back when not in use. Turning the station down during non-use periods will prevent severe thermal cycling of the tool. However, tools that are not being used for extended periods of time should be turned off.

 

All-Spec Industries is an authorized distributor of Weller. We stock a large number of Weller products including soldering irons, soldering tips and soldering stations. Weller soldering products are known for their ease of use and durability.


Product Spotlight: Daylight Triple Bright Lamp

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Thanks to the innovative product development team at Daylight, this high-power workstation lamp is available to brighten up the workspaces of professionals and hobbyists.

What makes this lamp so beneficial?

Daylight Triple Bright Lamp The 3 x 14w energy saving Daylight TM tubes offer an outstanding 42w pool of light, enabling even the finest details to literally jump out! It also boasts low heat, yet full spectrum, light with 6,500clip_image002K that reduces any glare and makes color matching and rendering easier – inspiring your work even further! To sum up, it’s a great lamp for a workbench where you work longer hours and need good general lighting.

What difference does the larger shade make?

When it comes to workstation lamps, the larger the better! Not only can the Triple Bright Lamp be adjusted vertically, horizontally and laterally to whatever position you decide, it lights up even the largest workspaces (as well as your desk, drawing boards, etc!)

Why choose Daylight?

One of the main attractions to Daylight products is the unrivalled bright white light, recognized as the perfect lighting for eyes! Many people in the industrial sector work long hours at their workbench, where concentration is key in order to do a good job and eliminate mistakes. Daylight Lamps help provide the most comfortable circumstances for these workers. Their eyes will still be as fresh at the end of day when checking products, as they were at the start.

The Technical Bits

Daylight TM always fully adheres to the latest RoHS and other European health and safety standards for lighting and electrical appliances.

All Daylight Lamps are officially UL & CE certified to ensure they adhere to the latest American and European standards for lighting and electrical appliances.

Daylight Company is the manufacturer of an extensive range of task lighting which includes the Triple Bright Lamp, available from All-Spec. To find out more about Daylight Company or Daylight Lamps, please visit www.daylightcompany.com. To place an order for Daylight Company Products you can visit www.All-Spec.com or call All-Spec Industries customer service at (800) 537-0351.