Jim Evans, Head of Operations has been with Nautel for two and a half years. He brought with him a vast amount of relevant experience as Head of Operations with an electronics manufacturer in the military market for 17 years and previous to that he was Director of Quality for a tier 1 automotive supplier.|
The photo above clearly illustrates how Nautel’s innovative transmitter design has reduced the footprint of our 50 kW AM transmitter by 67% since the introduction of the Ampfet 50 (pictured above right) in the mid-80’s. This smaller footprint can contribute to considerable cost savings over the life of a transmitter.
Learn more about Nautel transmitters
Quality Operations Starts & Ends with Smart Design
Last issue Tim Oakes, Supervisor of Final Test told us How Nautel Tests a Transmitter and what the word ‘Quality’ means to him. This issue we ask Jim Evans, Head of Operations to explain how Quality is integral to the Nautel manufacturing process and goes beyond the mere ISO 9001:2008 certification of Nautel’s facilities.
Jim Evans: Nautel’s manufacturing process follows strict quality standards. In fact, we operate two ISO9001:2008 certified manufacturing facilities (one in Canada and one in the United States) and were first in our industry to comply with ISO9001:2008. Beyond that, our design processes and manufacturing processes build quality into each transmitter at every step along the way, instead of merely inspecting and testing for it when the job is finished. Let me explain further…
First, we design quality into our transmitters using ‘smart design’ i.e. the balancing of critical quality elements like exceptional reliability, robustness, high-operating efficiencies, and built-in redundancy with the need to minimize the amount of material and components in every transmitter to provide a high-quality product that is still affordable, quick and efficient to produce and easy to service. This is a fine balance and one that we’re continuously reviewing and improving always with the end user (our customers) in mind.
Then, we control every aspect of production, from sheet metal fabrication to circuit cards – our customers need never worry about the quality or workmanship. Each Nautel transmitter is built in a modular way but there are no assembly robots or fabrication lines. Each module (e.g. combiner, amplifier or exciter) is a product of the pride and craftsmanship of dedicated professionals in a designated work cell (production area) who become true specialists in their area of expertise providing unparalleled quality and attention to detail that comes with understanding the product.
With an average of 15 years experience perfecting their craft, it’s difficult to highlight any one Nautel production specialist while not acknowledging others, but here’s a few:
An additional member of each module’s designated work cell team is the engineer/designer who works with the production specialists to solicit their input to further refine and improve not only the quality and ‘smart design’ of the product, its components and assembly process, but also the ergonomics of how the product is assembled, its assembly instructions and training.
Finally, the individual modules are brought together and integrated in Final Assembly and placed in Nautel’s own custom-built racks/cabinets. While our racks conform to standard sizing they are anything but standard: they are made of non-rusting aluminum to withstand harsh environments; extremely rigid with 4 complete sides (not just legs), a top and a bottom; and, as we make them ourselves we closely control their design and quality, and customize them especially for our equipment. Since the first Nautel-built rack shipped in 2004 for the V10 its design and fabrication has gone through numerous improvements and we’re constantly reviewing and improving everything from the material used to the construction design.
Once assembled in Final Assembly, the transmitter is subjected to a final inspection that verifies customer-specific configurations as well as key critical aspects of each transmitter before it enters the Production Test Room where it’s handed off to Tim Oakes’s team… read Tim Oakes, Supervisor of Final Test article from last issue about How Nautel Tests a Transmitter.