Engineering, Ergonomics, Efficiency, Usability Evaluation, 3D Prototyping, Contextual Inquiry
Researcher/Creator: A. Leung
Disclaimer: Certain content of products, tools, or process are proprietary information, and therefore not shown on this page. Most content and terms in this project are generalized to protect company rights.
As part of catheter assembly, a metal tip is bonded to a long length metal coil by a soldering process, which is heating a low-melting alloy to fuse the two components together.
People with a pair of hands can only hold two objects at once. In this case, there are 3 objects that required holding:
Operators instinctively put together a fixture to hold the metal tip while their hands are busy holding the soldering iron and the metal coil. However, this fixture was made with three layers of razor blades stacked on top of each other, taped onto their workbench.
Even though razor blades are taped together and on top of a work bench, these objects are sharp and as the tape is worn down due to use, sharp edge may be exposed and therefore becoming a hazardous object for people to use.
Three layers of razor blades are disposed every shift or process at every station. More razor blades are used due to this need of holding a third object.
Quotes from operators:
We always have to spend time on setting this fixture up at the beginning of this soldering process…
These things get rusted all the time…
I cut myself a couple times while using this…
We leveraged the 3-layer razor blades concept already ideated by the operators, to design a better, safer, and long-lasting solution.
Dimensional and material requirements are specified in official drawings for documentation purposes and future production needs.
The cost savings associated with this project was estimated to be $25,000 per year.
Operators are happy because they can save time and re-use this fixture for soldering components every shift. Razor blades are no longer used as a fixture for this process.