Clean Thoughts

The Tool needed to meet the following specifications:

  • Two pins located at the tips to engage the fine (.025″) slots in the snap ring
  • Diameter of each pin less than .020″ in diameter
  •  Two pins induction hardened to resist wear and to provide long tool life
  •  Tool to be reverse-acting, meaning that the jaws open-not close-when the handles are squeezed.  Opening the jaw expands the snap ring for placement in the snap ring groove
  • Opening of the jaw to be limited by a set screw stop located in the handle.  This was needed to prevent excessive expansion of the snap ring
Not a problem for Tronex engineers!

First a prototype was designed, produced and sent to the QC engineer. He verified that it worked to his satisfaction and to the satisfaction of the assembly operators. He then requested Tronex to quote price and delivery for several units of these special pliers, Tronex Model 701.

The Tronex quotation was satisfactory. An order was placed and delivered. The production pliers performed just as well as the prototype. So well, in fact, that a second order was placed and delivered…then a third order.

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All high quality cutters are Compression cutters. This means that both cutting edges cut on the same plane. The cutting motion stops when the two edges hit each other. Precision cutters such as Tronex tools are machined as matched pairs of cutting edges. Nevertheless there is generally some edge rounding, some edge overlapping, or some other edge imperfection that prevent the two edges from coming together as two razor blades. The result is that cutting performance may be erratic and very fine leads (0.5mm and smaller) may not be cut at all. Manufacturers of very low grade, rivet joint tools stop here. However, all manufacturers of precision cutters provide a final edge finish to yield top cutting performance. No tool on the market can match the edge finish of Tronex cutters. Edge finish is best examined by looking at the back, or printed circuit board, side of a cutter. Tronex standard cutters are available in three edge finishes: Both cutting edges receive a very small bevel by diamond honing over the entire outer length. The bevels are at 90 degrees to the plane of the cutting surface. The bevels are no more than 0.25 to 0.35mm in width. When the cutter is closed the bevels form a V-shaped groove along the length of the cutting edge. This beveling results in a fine but very rugged interface between the two edges. In many applications a semi-flush Tronex cutter can produce hundreds of thousands of cuts before resharpening is necessary. However the lead or wire being cut will have a raised surface, or “pinch”, exactly in the shape of the V-shaped groove. Both cutting edges receive a tiny bevel by diamond honing over the entire outer length. The bevels are at 60 degrees to the plane of the cutting surface. They are no more than 0.12mm in width and thus form an exceptionally small V-shaped groove along the edges. This beveling also results in a rugged and very long-lasting cutting edge interface. It also yields only the tinniest raised surface, or “pinch”, on the cut lead. Many users of Tronex cutters believe that the Flush edge finish provides the most desirable balance between long cutting life, flush cut leads, and cost. There is no bevel on either cutting edge. The backside, or printed circuit board side, is absolutely flat at an angle of 45 degrees to the plane of the cutting surfaces. The exceptionally sharp edges produce cuts with virtually no raised surface on the lead. (Under a loupe you can see a line on the lead where the edges come together but you will not see a “pinch”). Also, minimum shock is imparted to the cut lead or component. However, more frequent sharpening is required with a Razor Flush® cutter. The Razor Flush® edge finish on Tronex cutters is executed by a proprietary process and thus unmatched by any other precision cutting tool in the world. It is also the edge finish selected for almost all specialty cutters (tip cutters and angulated cutters) made by Tronex. Almost all shear cutters are devices with only coarse cutting ability and very limited tool life. This is because the cutting edges do not really meet together for a fine, accurate cut. They pass by each other, moving in planes that are close but separate. Cutting edge motion stops when the two handles come together. This is the action of the stamped cutter. It is also the action of the paper scissors and the garden shears. Effective on large wire and for light usage. When the rivet joint loosens the hand shear must be discarded. Also, since the edges are only case hardened, a dull or worn stamped cutter can not be resharpened. Stamped shears also impart considerable shock and leave a significant pinch reflecting the clearance between the two edges. There are exceptions to the common variety hand cutting shear. They are the Tronex cutter models 7030 and 5030. They are precision tools made with interlocking threaded joints and heat treated cutting edges. The Tronex standoff shear cutters are designed with a cutting ridge mounted on a stationary leg. The leg is placed next to the lead being cut. A sharpened and hardened cutting edge is then moved through the lead and over the cutting ridge. These versatile tools use the shear cutting principle in order to achieve a predetermined lead length (or “standoff”) to insure that components or solder joints below the lead are not damaged. - See more at:

Traditionally, finding and monitoring ESD events has usually been limited to investigation with oscilloscopes and suitable antennas or simple voltage threshold detection devices. A gap has existed between digitally sampling ESD waveforms to identify and determine individual event characteristics and using lower cost devices restricted to sensing analog voltage levels at the specific application point.

To address the functionality gap, a hybrid sensor has been developed which combines some features of both approaches and lends itself to embedded ESD detection in noisy electronic environments as well as more general applications.

Definitive analysis of ESD events will likely remain in the high-bandwidth digital oscilloscope (DSO) realm, where high resolution time domain measurements and waveform characterization are available. However, dedicating this type of equipment to long-term monitoring is not feasible for a variety of reasons (equipment cost and availability among them). Also, the learning curve involved in becoming proficient with high-end scopes and other attendant equipment to successfully evaluate ESD is pretty steep. Even when the equipment and expertise is available, deploying this equipment to chase false ESD alarms from dedicated sensors quickly proves tiresome and unworkable.

Add to this the fact that modern manufacturing environments are utilizing ever increasing automation for product handling, and it becomes apparent that ambient noise levels can present an ESD detection problem for radiated field strength monitoring alone.

Another source of interference which has troubled ESD sensors has been the rise in general RF usage in manufacturing facilities. It is now becoming common for cell phones and two-way pagers to be authorized for use on the process floor. WiFi and Bluetooth applications are migrating into sensitive process and tool areas with the potential for disruption in ESD monitoring for very sensitive applications. RFID applications are also beginning to become popular as comprehensive tracking methods for product and personnel alike – another addition to the electronic soup.

The NanoPulse uses dynamic threshold analysis to determine ambient noise level and form the first part of ESD pulse event discrimination. It also addresses a spectral range of 1 MHz to 8 GHz, which accommodates ESD event bandwidth as well

as most commonly encountered electromagnetic noise frequencies. The NanoPulse also tracks electromagnetic noise levels separately from ESD event detection and analysis, allowing separate alarm reporting. Alarm reporting levels for both ESD events and EM levels are user programmable.

Another feature of the NanoPulse is antenna independence. Both active and passive antennas in a variety of configurations can be implemented to further tune ESD event detection. In some cases, specialized antennas can be implemented which are direct analogs for very sensitive product and which can correctly represent true product vulnerabilities to radiated energy.

In applications with accessibility and space restraints, small form-factor antennas can be installed directly at the monitoring point with sensor processing taking place in the Series 7000 at a more accessible location.

The NanoPulse is typically deployed in Novx Series 7000, which has advanced features for reporting and monitoring. Typical methods of reporting ESD events are cell phones (text messaging, voice mail), pagers and email in addition to local alarming for tools and processes.

The Series 7000 can also utilize Ethernet, Wireless LAN (802.11x) and RS-485 to communicate alarms to area networks or to individual tools while embedded.

The NanoPulse has been developed for ESD/EMI applications requiring a constant dedicated monitoring strategy in highly constrained processing environments. The combination of smart signal processing to identify ESD events from most background noise with the freedom to adapt antenna types and configurations for specific applications makes it a valuable addition to process monitoring.