J&M Products Inc. (San Fernando, CA) manufactures support clamps, brackets and wire-harness assemblies for the automotive industry and companies like Boeing (Chicago) and truck manufacturer PACCAR Inc. (Bellevue, WA).

Historically, the company used a two-stage system that involved both mechanical banding and soldering when splicing wires in its wire harnesses. However, the technique was cumbersome and time-consuming.

"This system had several problems," says Curt Reynolds, J&M Products' director of manufacturing. "Wires would sometimes become separated. It could also be difficult to get the skilled people we needed to do the work. That's why we began looking for a more cost-effective method."

To improve its processes, J&M Products implemented a SpliceRite ultrasonic wire bonder from Sonobond Ultrasonics (West Chester, PA). The SpliceRite splices wire bundles and creates a true metallurgical bond without producing arcs, sparks or fumes. It also allows J&M Products to create high-quality connections without first crimping or clipping the wires in place.

The system can bond wire bundles even if the wires are oxidized or tin-plated, and is available in both 1,500- and 2,500-watt capacities. It employs what Sonobond refers to as its "wedge-reed" system of high-force and low-amplitude coupling. Operators can control welds by height, energy or time. The unit's microprocessor can be connected to a computer using an RS232 port, and can store and recall up to 250 jobs.

According to Reynolds, it didn't take long for the new technology to fit into J&M Products' production system.

"We realized within minutes that the SpliceRite was the right choice for us," he says. "We reduced splicing time by a good 60 percent. There is simply no comparison between our SpliceRite machines and the technology we used before. We are very pleased with all three...units we installed."

According to Reynolds, the new system is also much easier to operate than the previous one. "Once the [welder] is set up, it is primarily just a matter of pushing a button. Minimal operator training is required, and stored jobs are locked out from operator adjustment. We no longer need to find people with the special skills required for soldering."

Finally, Reynolds says that the new system is creating superior bonds. Specifically, since implementing ultrasonic bonding into the company's production process, he says warranty claims resulting from loose wires or poor splices have become essentially nonexistent.

For more on ultrasonic welding, visit www.sonobondultrasonics.com or eInquiry 2.

For more on wire harness manufacture, visit www.jmproducts.com or eInquiry 3.