Increasing Reliability and Performance

Analytical and Scientific Instruments

Mercury Wire labMercury 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. A leading manufacturer of analytical instrumentation used for water analysis approached Mercury Wire for support with failing cable assemblies attached to their portable meters. Although the meters were designed for use in a variety of environments ranging from natural waterways and oceans to groundwater sources and drinking water networks, the client was experiencing higher than anticipated failures and sought support from Mercury Wire in resolving the issue.

The Challenge

With an understanding of the impact that product failure may have on both the client’s brand and revenue stream, resolving the issue in a timely manner was essential. Finding the root cause of the product’s failure involved gathering an understanding of the various environmental factors portable meters were exposed to. Once contributing factors were isolated, Mercury Wire would then need to assess potential solutions for discussion with the client. The typical approach of partnering with the client in gathering product usage data through shadowing of end-users out in the field was not an option as the process would add significant time to resolving the issue. Instead, Mercury Wire and the client would need to rely on end-user feedback and samples of failed products for the root cause analysis.

Our Solution

cable assemblyMercury Wire immediately developed a plan to identify the primary field failure modes. By analyzing several failed cables and referencing end-user feedback, Mercury Wire discovered opportunities for improvement with both the cable construction and assembly components used. Considering the vast range of environments the cable assembly was exposed to and the physical demands under which they were expected to perform, a more robust outer cable jacket was recommended along with a redesigned cable strain relief. Together, the newly modified cable assembly offered a more robust cable construction with a redesigned strain relief that enhanced protection in areas where stress was expected. 

To test and perfect the proposed cable assembly, Mercury Wire designed custom testing equipment to accommodate accelerated life cycle testing. The accelerated life cycle testing would save time by simulating field conditions in-house to determine performance out in the field. Using this platform, we tested various cable and strain relief prototypes against the original baseline design and desired performance specifications. The final product was refined over several iterations for the ultimate introduction of a cable assembly that improved both the customer experience and the client’s profitability by significantly reducing field failures and related warranty costs.

Solution Highlights

Waste waterDeveloping high-performing wire and cable assemblies require a clear understanding of the application requirements and environmental factors the product will be exposed to. By carefully gathering information regarding the application needs and current challenges, Mercury Wire partnered with the client on designing a more rugged cable assembly lead that was better suited for the environmental conditions to which the cable assembly was exposed. Today, Mercury Wire supports the client with an expanded array of cable and assembly solutions. In addition, Mercury Wire also developed a custom workcell with a dedicated team of individuals that now manufactures right-sized batches, on-demand for the client. This results in short lead-times, high inventory turns and improved cash flow for the client by keeping their inventory levels low.

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