Creating Robust Industrial Solutions
Mercury Wire exclusively develops custom cable and electronic assembly solutions for customers across a variety of industries and markets worldwide. Our goal is to partner with our clients in delivering custom wire and cable solutions that meet stringent application requirements. Mercury Wire engaged a leader in plasma cutting technology in improving the durability of the cable leads used in their plasma cutting systems. Using plasma to cut metal has been described as combining a lightning bolt with a tornado. The applications and typically rugged environments in which plasma cutting systems are used demand engineering of products that are both precise and highly durable.
The client’s highly innovative and partnership-driven culture allows them to continuously and precisely align their technologies with their end-users’ needs. By partnering with the client in better understanding the product’s design and end-use, we could immediately see that in addition to helping improve the product’s durability, there were also opportunities to streamline operational processes.
While suitable for its intended use, direct feedback from end-users highlighted opportunities for improvement of the plasma cutting leads. The feedback received validated that the outer cable sleeve provided adequate protection from heat and sparks but revealed that the cable leads themselves were often crushed by falling pieces of cut metal. From a manufacturing standpoint, assembly of the plasma cutting leads was also time-consuming and complex. The initial assembly process required manually pulling discrete tubes and wires through a steel braided outer sleeve. In addition to being time-consuming, this process also made it difficult to build longer lengths.
Upon fully understanding end-user and application needs and assessing potential opportunities for the construction’s improvement, Mercury Wire provided the client with a redesigned prototype of a plasma cutting lead that integrated all the necessary tubes and wires within a durable outer jacket. The newly redesigned cable saved time and effort by removing the need to manually pull components through a hollow outer jacket. The simplified construction also made manufacturing of longer length leads possible with minimal effort. Using a custom testing methodology, we also worked closely with the client in evaluating various materials and cable construction iterations to optimize the overall performance and crush resistance of the plasma cutting leads. The result was a turn-key solution that was easy to assemble, buildable at any length, and that also offered more robust performance in the field.
In addition to improving the product’s construction, Mercury Wire partnered with the client in further understanding their overall organizational goals and needs. The client sells and services their plasma cutting products through a global network of authorized distributors. High-quality, uninterrupted availability and ease of ordering are key elements of the client’s growth strategy. In response to their needs and to better support the client’s business model, Mercury Wire assembled a value stream of dedicated team members and equipment with the sole focus of supporting the client’s specific manufacturing needs. The dedicated resources provided the client with the ability to align daily demand with the production of goods needed to meet their customers’ expectations.
Mercury Wire’s relationship with the client spans decades and has grown to include the manufacturing of a comprehensive array of products and provision of related services. From co-engineering, same-day deliveries to streamline transactions and shared learning, our flexible business model and application of lean manufacturing best practices allows us to align our processes, resources, and activities in ways that best support our customers’ goals and expectations. Through the careful understanding of our client’s needs, Mercury Wire’s role evolved from a traditional supplier to a strategic partner.