Manufacturing Capabilities | Outsourced vs In-House Assembly
On the internet, it's not terribly difficult to post a few photo-shopped or stolen images of a strap and accept a purchase order. So, how do you know what you are actually getting, where they are coming from, and who is making your straps?
Will your straps arrive damaged? Has your supplier ever actually made this particular type of strap? Have they ever actually plated a strap, or do they simply say they can? Were the straps made or assembled by untrained day laborers—or even outsourced from other suppliers and then repackaged? Or, were they actually assembled by your strap supplier?
What quality, risk and cleanliness issues is that going to present your program?
Unfortunately, this is all too common an issue in our industry, and when a strap "supplier" has zero hands-on experience manufacturing the copper thermal straps they sell, no production facilities—nor production staff—this dramatically increases the risk of issues like: dimensional non-conformances, oils and contaminants that will harm your equipment, and even damaged/unusable straps.
Production Orders: when you need thousands, or tens of thousands of units (like many of our customers), it's important to ask other questions: "Do they have the necessary staff (technicians, engineers and administrative personnel), and an actual manufacturing facility to fill my order?" Or, "Do they have a track record of production programs, and timely, successful deliveries?"
With TAI, no matter the application, quantity, or budget, your straps will always be made to the same quality standards demanded by organizations like NASA, ESA, or Lockheed Martin, yet will be the most affordable thermal strap product on the market.
Pictured (Above): 60,000 feet of our OFHC UltraFlex™ Cabling
OUR COMMITMENT TO QUALITY
At TAI, all of our straps are designed, assembled, and subjected to extensive quality inspections, finishing and cleaning processes, right here at our facility, by our staff. We always welcome visits from your Engineering, Quality, and Supplier Management groups, so you can be assured your straps are assembled by experts, and never outsourced from untrained third parties.
Stiffness / Flexibility
While it is impossible to predict/guarantee stiffness in any strap (as flexibility is determined by rope length, strap width, number of ropes & rows, type of cu rope material, and installation configuration), TAI does provide stiffness testing. We are also happy to provide stiffness data, which can give you some sense of the general flexibility of your straps before placing an order. The overall stiffness/flexibility, and any displacement requirements you have are a critical parameter to consider in the design of a strap. Please contact our experts as early in the process as possible, in order to help identify which strap solution is best suited to your requirements.
Pictured: Custom FM Cryocooler CuTS® Designed & Assembled by TAI (June 2018)
After fabrication, all copper straps are tested and then ultrasonically cleaned and bagged prior to shipping. TAI offers optional nitrogen purged bags for shipping your straps, but we also recommend that any thermal strap used in a UHV, sensitive optical, or space/satellite application, undergo any additional cleaning spec/procedure your organization requires for copper hardware. For example: some laboratory and aerospace customers will perform an additional round of ultrasonic cleaning in a bath of Alconox™, Citranox™, acetone, or various copper cleaners (and then perform a vacuum bake out), prior to installation. In rare cases (such as sensitive satellite optical systems), some customers may require their copper straps be cleaned to a specific cleanliness spec. TAI does contract with a partnering test and cleaning facility to perform the cleaning in these cases.
TAI (and our sister company, TAI, Inc.), provides a comprehensive range of strap testing services to our clients (some of which are complimentary, and other services are offered at an affordable rate, and performed either here at our facility, or by one of our internationally renowned testing facilities). Each assembly will pass quality checks and undergo thermal conductance testing after construction to verify requirements-compliance. TAI's Management, Engineers and Program Managers have extensive experience with the Quality Assurance processes and qualification that is required by the industry's top primes, NASA, ESA and JAXA.
Pictured (Above): Custom UHV Chamber CuTS® [Post-Polishing] (1/9/18). (Left): Custom FM CuTS® - ESA Solar Orbiter (February 2016)
Comparison of Thermal Conductivity
To view flexibility demonstration videos of many of our copper and graphite straps, click the link above!
Durability/Tensile Strength Demonstrations
TAI will be adding new tensile strength demonstration videos and test data in late 2018. Come back for more, or contact us to learn more about previous tensile strength tests performed on spaceflight and terrestrial CuTS® programs.