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Workmanship in Industrial Electronics
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Workmanship in Industrial Electronics

by CP_LCV on Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:44 pm

Hello, cyberpunks and technobeasts!

I have a sort of 'what's good practice?' question. I recently graduated from school with my BS in Electrical Engineering Technology and have begun work at a research lab. I was asked to crack open this controller for a 3D printer. I did so and the attached pictures were what I found. My knee-jerk reaction was/is, 'what a pile of dung.' BUT...maybe some of you have spent a bit more time digging around in expensive equipment and can lend some expertise. If I'm just being arrogant/naive, please tell me so.

What we have is an Arduino Mega (I think?) with a motor shield...and a whoooooooole lot of hot glue. Is this pretty common? I'm not talking common for DIY home projects, but for equipment being sold to people for sizable price tags (let's say north of $10k).

Thoughts?

ArduinoMess.jpg
ArduinoMess.jpg (153.38 KiB) Viewed 168 times

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Re: Workmanship in Industrial Electronics

by franklin97355 on Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:03 pm

Hot melt is a good strain relief and can make an off the shelf conglomeration of parts into a more robust project. I would consider it a step between breadboards and soldering or creating a custom PCB.

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Re: Workmanship in Industrial Electronics

by CP_LCV on Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:12 pm

franklin97355 wrote:Hot melt is a good strain relief and can make an off the shelf conglomeration of parts into a more robust project. I would consider it a step between breadboards and soldering or creating a custom PCB.


Thanks for the response. That makes sense from a prototyping standpoint or maybe a one-off project, but this isn't widely used in industry for industrial systems, is it? I've never seen this sort of thing in a PLC cabinet or motor control cabinet or anything like that. To be honest, this is the first time I've ever seen it done, though maybe that's just lack of experience on my part.

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Re: Workmanship in Industrial Electronics

by franklin97355 on Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:27 pm

What is the product we are talking about?

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Re: Workmanship in Industrial Electronics

by CP_LCV on Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:29 pm

Custom job. Large scale 3d printer.

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Re: Workmanship in Industrial Electronics

by adafruit_support_bill on Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:58 pm

I've seen some ugly stuff under the hood on some pieces of expensive industrial equipment. Mostly on custom or prototype level stuff.

But that level of hand-work - regardless of how sloppily done - does not scale well for volume production. So the hardware usually gets cleaned up a bit eventually - if for no other reason than manufacturability.

But nasty software is as easy to reproduce as the good stuff. And I have seen some pretty awful code on production equipment.

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Re: Workmanship in Industrial Electronics

by CP_LCV on Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:02 pm

adafruit_support_bill wrote:I've seen some ugly stuff under the hood on some pieces of expensive industrial equipment. Mostly on custom or prototype level stuff.

But that level of hand-work - regardless of how sloppily done - does not scale well for volume production. So the hardware usually gets cleaned up a bit eventually - if for no other reason than manufacturability.

But nasty software is as easy to reproduce as the good stuff. And I have seen some pretty awful code on production equipment.


Good to know, Bill. Thanks for the input. I'm trying to decide if this was a full on hoodwink or just someone trying to minimize their costs and the result being shoddy workmanship. Either one bothers me a lot, but one reality is worse than the other.

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Re: Workmanship in Industrial Electronics

by zener on Mon Jul 29, 2019 3:02 pm

RTV/Silicone glue is often used for mechanical reinforcement. I would consider that more "proper" than hot-melt. Hot melt can work as well, and I have used it quite a bit for prototypes (and sealing connectors) but it has (obvious) thermal limitations, so you can't use it near hot-running components or in hot environments. That seems a bit amateurish for something that costs $10K IMHO. However as was suggested it may be a low volume/beta-level product. I would need to see more of the complete assembly vs. just a close-up of one spot in order to give an opinion about the overall assembly quality.

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Re: Workmanship in Industrial Electronics

by CP_LCV on Mon Jul 29, 2019 3:16 pm

Good feedback.

I'm using this as an opportunity for me to solidify my own personal creed on workmanship and I wanted to make sure I wasn't being a total jackass about it.

Thanks, everyone! Always appreciate your sound minds.

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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.