Teknic's business is designed to meet the needs of OEM companies, so our quality and reliability goals are more stringent than a company who targets end users. OEMs buy in high volume, so they're statistically more likely to experience product failures. Why does this matter?
Let's take a product from a company that targets end-users or small OEM businesses and say that product has a failure rate of 1 in 1,000 units per year. If the majority of that company's customers order 10 units per year (or even 100 units per year), these customers are unlikely to see a failure. If they do, it will likely only be one failure after years of no failures, so it's easily written off as a "random, one-time event."
Now, take an OEM that buys 20,000 units a year of the exact same product. They'll average 20 failures a year—or about one failure every other week. The same failure rate that looks great to a small user is unacceptable to an OEM. So, if you are in the business of selling to OEMs, like Teknic is, product quality has to be orders of magnitude better than the quality of products sold to masses of small customers.
Teknic uses highly-specialized, custom manufacturing cells to build the sub-assemblies for each product. Production software with step-by-step interlocks controls the assembly process in each cell to ensure that operators cannot accidentally skip production steps or proceed with units that have not passed in-line tests. Poka-yoke (mistake-proof) strategies, both mechanical and software based, are prevalent throughout Teknic's product design and manufacturing systems. To increase reliability, Teknic has eliminated sole reliance on human diligence wherever possible.
As an example, when we assemble the motor cores, the motor housing needs to be at a certain temperature to press onto the motor stator. Our induction heaters will present the housing to the operator once the housing reaches that specified temperature, and alert the operator. If the operator does not reach the motor core in time, and the temperature drops below a certain temperature, they will not be able to accidentally use the insufficiently heated housing because the induction heater will retract the core out of their reach and re-heat it.
Each component must pass one production step before moving onto the next. If a component does not pass an in-line test, or an operator does not complete a certain step, Teknic's production software locks out the subsequent process step. As a result, only qualified parts are allowed to continue in the assembly process—and any manufacturing issue is identified as early as possible, and the root cause is usually easy to determine. For example, if a screw requires thread-lock compound but the software does not detect the operator's use of the thread-lock dispenser, it will not connect power to the screwdriver, and it will signal with a warning light and/or tone if the operator attempts to operate the screwdriver.