ETCO uses the teardown process to evaluate the connection systems of electrical appliances. The primary focus of the evaluations are the terminals, wire harness construction, and the methods used to process the wire harness.

The secondary focus allows ETCO to monitor industry trends regarding types, quantities and sizes of the electrical connections. ETCO’s research team adheres to strict teardown guidelines. The step by step process is defined by the appliance type to ensure proper documentation.

First, the entire appliance is photographed in its original state. Once photographed, all of the external shell / casing is removed. The unit is photographed again with the outer skin removed.
Special care is taken to capture any visible connections. Next step, the appliance is disassembled to a point that allows access to all of the connectors.

Each connection point is photographed for future cross referencing with the document’s connector tables. Next, the entire wiring harness is removed from the appliance and placed onto a work area. Then the components from the appliance are re-connected to the harness for further study. The components of every connection on the wire harness will be photographed, measured, labeled, and identified.

All associated characteristics like material type, connector type, manufacturer, and insulation type will be documented. All of the connector information is re-checked before being placed into an Excel spreadsheet.

Terminal evaluations can include:
• Magnified inspections – These may expose process errors.
• Mating force measurements and tensile testing.
• Crimp cross sectioning

The collected data is entered into Excel spreadsheets. The data can be sorted into various formats. Results are reviewed by engineering and sales teams for areas of improvement. Results of a teardown can lead to opportunities for improvements to terminal design and quality. Results may give rise to cost saving suggestions ergonomic ideas, or improved performance concepts that can be shared with the manufacturer.