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Grounding

Grounding

Grounding? You mean I’m grounded?! The word “grounding” is certainly never one you want to hear as a teenager. Especially from your parents. Grounding means no car. No smartphones, tablets or other devices. No sleepovers. You are basically under house arrest. Oh, the humanity! It certainly pays to mind your manners. In other words, try to stay out of trouble.

Anyway, the term “Grounding” for this discussion refers to safety. Phew! Great stuff to discuss when it comes to electrical products. Grounding returns live electrical circuits to the earth or ground. This keeps individuals safe from live wires or currents.

Grounding = Electrical Safety

Grounding wires prevent electric shocks, fires and even fatalities. It sends the current back to the ground making it harmless. Ever blow a fuse or trip a circuit? That “inconvenience” just saved you from a potential disaster.

So next time a circuit breaker pops, be grateful. Sure it stinks to stop what you are doing. Especially in the middle of making dinner or some other important project. As you go searching for which circuit to flip, take a moment to appreciate that the safety feature worked causing no harm to your household.

When you look at any outlet at your home or office, notice that there are three openings? Ever wonder why? Well, the left slot serves as neutral. The right slot means HOT. The third hole is for the ground plug. Any electrical device with three prongs means that product includes a ground cord.

Safety Tip: NEVER cut off the ground plug to fit an outlet. Not a good idea under any circumstance.

Without the ground cord, the electric current could flow through your body to find gound. Certainly, not a welcomed experience.

Grounding

You can always visit our blog for more information on electrical products and safety. Also, you can check out product information on grounds straps here.

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Groundhog Day! A wonderful time of year. Ski and snowboarding season is still at full throttle. Yet, the whispers of spring are just around the corner.

Not to mention, a reminder of one of our favorite movies of all time, Groundhog Day. A classic film with Bill Murray that came out 25 years ago in 1993. Where did that time go? If you are not familiar with this timeless treasure, do yourself a favor and watch it soon. Being Groundhog Day, no time better than the present.

Groundhog Day: A Shocking Experience 

Well, Groundhog Day is also a perfect time to kick off our series on staying grounded with ground cords and ground straps. In other words, keeping safe. Always remember safety first.Groundhog

A toaster in the tub? Of course, not a good idea. Water and electricity are typically not friendly to each other (understatement of the day). As a matter of fact, any electrical device in the tub will be a shocking experience. Not in a pleasant way though.

Electrical currents love to travel, fast. The human body does not serve well as a carrier of electric currents. Wires, on the other hand, they LOVE electrical currents flowing through them. Think of all of the many benefits that electrical currents offer.

Electrical currents keep our homes warm, rooms lit with proper lighting, refrigerators running, microwaves heating and…well….you get the idea. The device that you are reading this with has wires inside that are tidily tucked away out of harm’s way.

No plans for the weekend? No problem. Make a nice cup of hot chocolate. Grab milk out of the fridge, mix with cocoa and heat up on the stove. Throw a bag of popcorn in the microwave. Settle in for a Winter night with Bill Murray and Groundhog Day on your TV or tablet. It is a great day to appreciate ALL of the electricity flowing safely through your home keeping you warm, nourished and entertained.

Lastly, just remember, spring is just around the corner. The Groundhog says so.

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lead-free

Avoiding Grief and Pain When Using Your Soldering Iron

In a recent blog post, we discussed soldering safety tips. Our team brings over 100 years of experience with soldering circuit boards. Over the years, we have learned the best practices on how to efficiently and safely solder a variety of electrical products, particularly printed circuit boards. Through our vast experience, we have also gained a clear grasp on what NOT to do while holding a Soldering Iron.

10 Things NOT to Do While Holding a Soldering Iron

Below is a helpful list that may spare you lots of grief and pain when using a Soldering Iron:

  1. EYE SPY PAIN
    Something in your eye? Please put the soldering iron down first. Thankfully your safety goggles are in place for absentminded events such as this. Singed eyelashes will be the least of your problems without your safety glasses securely fastened.
  2. NEW NOSE RING 
    Scratching an itchy nose with a soldering iron in your hand is typically not a good idea. Unless you are eager to add that new nose ring that you have been putting off. If that is the case, then the soldering iron will cut right through the victimized or targeted area. Viola! A new hole available for your new nose ring.
  3. OUCH!
    Absolutely under no circumstance should you zip up you fly if you notice it is down. No adjustments, fixing, or any other engagement in that general area while holding a soldering iron. Results could be disastrous. Plus you will have an extremely difficult time trying to explain this accident to the emergency room staff.
  4. USE Q-TIPS INSTEAD
    Feel water floating in your ears from the early morning swim? This is not the time to clean out your ears. Set down your soldering iron and grab a few Q-tips.
  5. NO KNEE-SLAPPERS
    Tell everyone around you no jokes if you are one to slap your knee when laughing. Yelling, “Hey Johnny, that’s a knee-slapper” can turn painful real quick once the soldering iron hits your knee.
  6. SEE #1
    Soldering is not a time to apply mascara or eyeliner. Please refer to rule #1.
  7. WORSE THAN A ROOT CANAL
    If you suddenly feel a piece of popcorn stuck in your teeth from that movie you watched three nights ago, please do not try removing the kernel while soldering. A soldering iron is not a replacement for a toothpick and this could quite easily be more painful than a root canal without Novocain.
  8. NO SELFIES
    Holding or using your cell phone while soldering typically falls under the category of a “Bad Idea”. If you find it necessary to Facetime or Go Live on Facebook while soldering, please have someone else hold the phone to film your activities. You will be glad you played it safe.
  9. HOLY SMOKES BATMAN
    Please under no circumstance do you want to apply lipstick or Chap Stick while holding a soldering iron.  You may end up looking like the Joker from Batman….permanently.
  10. NO STRETCHING 
    Last but not least, if you are sitting next to someone while soldering, please keep them beyond arm’s length. Especially if you like to speak with your hands, point when making a point, flail your arms when emotional, stretch frequently or tend to smack people on the shoulder when speaking. All of the above can cost you a friendship real quick.

Soldering Iron

We had fun putting together this list even though burns and injuries are a very serious matter. Please use extreme care and caution when using a soldering iron. Hopefully, these tongue-in-cheek comments convey the message. We use the safest measures possible when soldering printed circuit boards at our facility. Falconer Electronics has proudly participated in the SHARP program since 2005 to proactively maintain a healthy and safe workplace.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post. Continue looking for our series on soldering circuit boards.

Also, to learn more about wire harness assemblies, check out our weekly “Wire Harness Wednesday” blog posts.

Lastly, let’s get social! Please connect on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn, and Pinterest for more electronic info.

 

Wiring Harness UL Traceability Program

The Wiring Harness UL Traceability Program allows manufacturers of finished goods to accept wiring harnesses manufactured off site or at a third party. Maintaining supply chain integrity while adhering to end user sourcing requirements is the key. UL offers a traceability program that determines components consistency due to UL requirements for compliance. This program helps to bring safer products to market since it follows UL standards. It also ensures the confidence that outsourced products are meeting safety standards and requirements.

Wiring Harness UL Traceability Program

Custom manufacturers are faced with many challenges. Being a part of the supply chain for an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) comes with a significant responsibility. Especially with electrical products. Manufacturers in the supply chain have a social responsibility to produce high quality and safe products. In turn, the Wiring Harness UL Traceability Program provides the OEM with confidence while mitigating the risks associated with the introduction of non-compliant cable into their products.

As a wire harness manufacturer for over 30 years, Falconer Electronics works closely with customers to ensure UL standards and requirements on electrical products and assemblies. Having obtained numerous UL listings for electronic products, the team at Falconer Electronics fully understands the rigorous process and necessary requirements. We also provide the necessary support and guidance that you need to successfully build your products.

UL Offers Three Traceability Programs

UL offers three options of traceability for wire and cable distributors and processors to ensure supply chain integrity:

  1. Certified Processed Wire and Respooled Wire
  2. Recognized Component Processed Wire and Respooled Wire
  3. Recognized Component Wiring Harnesses

UL requires minimal to no testing with obtaining certification and quick turnaround. Also UL clients have immediate use of standard labels.

For more information about the Wiring Harness UL Traceability Program, please click here:

http://industries.ul.com/blog/ul-traceability-programs-support-supply-chain-integrity-and-end-user-sourcing-requirements

To learn more about Ground Straps and the Wire Harness Assembly process, please click on the links below:

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Printed Circuit Board Safety

Printed Circuit Board Safety has been a serious concern as the industry has vastly grown and developed over the years. There are many safety issues when assembling and producing printed circuit boards. This is our last post for our series with commemorating May as Electrical Safety Month. In our previous posts on safety, we addressed OSHA as well as safety steps with wire harness assemblies and commercial outlet strips. This post will address printed circuit board safety. 

SHARP Program 

Safety at Falconer Electronics is an absolute top priority as shown with the company commitment to participating in the SHARP program. It can be extremely challenging for a small manufacturer to keep up with every new safety regulation. With constantly changing rules and regulations, Falconer Electronics has taken a proactive stand. The team at Falconer Electronics works closely with consulting firm Safety Compliance, Inc on OSHA compliance and workplace safety: (http://www.safetycomplianceusa.com/index.html).

Printed Circuit Board Safety 

Soldering printed circuit boards requires a special skill set. Our soldering team has combined experience that exceeds 100 years! They are an impressive group that produces high-quality circuit boards. Due to our commitment to safety, we have enjoyed over 12 straight years without a work injury or safety violation.

SHARP has also been very helpful with our soldering process. We have an extensive ventilation system disposing of fumes caused by the high heat of the mettle.

Secondly, our new circuit board pick and place machine offer many safety features that are extremely beneficial to our team. This machine places 3000 parts per hour. The machine comes equipped with a safety lid and switch. 

Another issue that we have seen in our shop is that of the safety glasses. Safety glasses are required on the floor of our factory due to the possibility of wire shavings or other material that are in and around that could cause eye damage. There have been situations where people have been clipping wire ends or leads and have had the piece fly off through the air. 

Circuit Board Safety Tips 

Below include a number of precautions with printed circuit board safety:

  1. Wearing safety goggles – Protective eyewear is essential (and mandatory)!
  2. Wearing gloves
  3. Handle solder diligently with care
  4. Clutter free workstations 
  5. Appropriate temperatures
  6. Utilize ventilation system
  7. Acceptable lighting
  8. Do not put cookies or food through reflow oven (just checking if you are reading this)
  9. Proper tools
  10. Check all connections
  11. Testing 
  12. Proper cleanup 

May is Electrical Safety Month! During which we will continue focusing on safety issues, concerns, hazard prevention, along with so much more! Check out our Facebook page for “Electrical Fail Fridays” and “What not to do” every week this month. You can also find us on Twitter and Google+. Continue to check out our blogs throughout every week this month for more information on Electrical Safety!

Safety

Safety for Outlet Strips

Safety            Outlet strips have many different uses in everyday life. They have many safety features as well to keep everyone safe. Extension cord, power strip or surge protector devices provide an important method of bringing temporary power to electrical devices that need to be used in areas not located near a wall outlet. Therefore these are a temporary fix and shouldn’t be used for more than 90 days in a single spot.

Most light duty extension cords are only rated for a maximum of ten amps or 1200 watts and most strip cord, power strip, and surge protectors are rated at 15 amps (1875 watts). All Outlet strips are equipped with surge protectors. A surge protector is a device designed to protect electrical devices from voltage spikes. Also a surge protector attempts to limit the voltage supplied to an electric device by either blocking or shorting to ground any unwanted voltages above a safe limit. In conclusion, all outlet strips also include an on/off switches and are made to be as safe as possible.

Here are some important safety tipsSafety

  1. The total watts should not exceed the rated capacity of the extension cord, power strip, power tap or surge protector you are using.
  2. Designed for computers, audio and video equipment, musical instruments, home movie lighting, home workshops and laboratory equipment
  3. Ensure that you purchase power strips with an internal circuit breaker.
  4. Use power strips sparingly
  5. Look for Outlet strips that are UL or ETL Certified
  6. Don’t knot or twist the cord
  7. Overloading of outlet strips can be caused by using the power strip for high-voltage items that are not intended to be plugged into ancillary power sources, such as refrigerators, microwaves or space heaters.
  8. Do not locate a surge protector in a moist environment
  9. Don’t locate a power strip in any area where the unit would be covered with carpet, furniture, or any other item that will limit or prevent air circulation.
  10. Never use a cord that feels hot or is damaged in any way
  11. Power cords should never be nailed, stapled, or taped to the desk, wall, ceiling, baseboard, or another object.
  12. Use exterior rated cords outside use. Also do not use indoor extension cords outdoors
  13. Do not extend extension cords by plugging into another. Therefore, overloading can occur when multiple devices are plugged into one cord.

May is Electrical Safety Month! During which we will continue focusing on safety issues, concerns, hazard prevention, along with so much more! Check out our Facebook page for “Electrical Fail Fridays” and “What not to do” every week this month. Also you can also find us on Twitter and Google+. Continue to check out our blogs throughout every week this month for more information on Electrical Safety!

 

SHARP Program

The acronym SHARP stands for Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program. The SHARP program works with small businesses who have made a commitment to operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program. There are many benefits with belonging to the SHARP program:

  • Protect employees from workplace safety and health hazards
  • Follow OSHA guidelines on safety best practices to protect workers
  • Boosting morale by creating a safe and dynamic work environment for employees
  • Reduce workplace injuries 

Sharp Program at Falconer Electronics

Benefits of SHARP

There are also significant financial rewards participating in the SHARP program. As a part of the SHARP program, companies are able to achieve reduced insurance and workman’s compensation rates. These better rates can be attributed to the elevated status that SHARP gives a company. Participation in SHARP shows that companies are willing to go the ‘extra mile’ for their employees.

Also the SHARP program allows small business owners and management the ability to closely adhere to OSHA regulations. This helps prevent costly violations during an OSHA inspection.

The SHARP program keeps a close eye on all workplace activity in our manufacturing facility. Precaution and diligence is crucial when working with any electrical product. Falconer Electronics Inc. was first certified by SHARP in 2002 (15 years ago) and has been working with their consultants ever since. Throughout these 15 years we have learned the types of potential hazards that SHARP looks for. We have been able to work side by side with the consultants to prevent injuries and any harmful situations.

According to safety consultant Tim Songin from Safety Compliance, Inc, personal protective equipment (PPE) is the biggest violator that his firm encounters while consulting manufacturers. “PPE is the most common oversight with most manufacturers that our team consults”, says Songin. It is interesting that failing with the fundamental basics in workplace safety is a common culprit.

Safety Tips

Below are a few tips that Songin recommends:
1. Proper Training – a few minutes on preventative measures can save many dollars and hours of frustration
2. Avoid careless mistakes – Sometimes easier said than done, but focus on the basics
3. Clean work stations – Many hazards are caused by simply not maintaining a clutter-free work area

May is Electrical Safety Month! During which we will continue focusing on safety issues, concerns, hazard prevention, along with so much more! Check out our Facebook page for “Electrical Fail Fridays” and “What not to do” every week this month. You can also find us on Twitter and Google+. Continue to check out our blogs throughout every week this month for more information on Electrical Safety!

 

 

Sharp Program at Falconer Electronics

4557-sharpCompletes 10 Years Without Days-Away-From-Work Accident

Falconer Electronics was recently recertified into the Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program for maintaining a Safety and Health Program among the most-effective in the nation. The recertification involved a three-way effort between the NYS Department of Labor, Falconer Electronics and Safety Compliance, Inc.

Joe Budzich, NYS Department of Labor Health Auditor and Paul Songin, NYS Department of Labor Safety Auditor, completed the recertification. Falconer Electronics achieved its initial certification into the program in 2002, has maintained the certification since and has not had a days-away-from-work accident since 2005. In addition to recognizing the company for having a highly effective Safety and Health Program, acceptance into the SHARP also grants the company an exemption from routine OSHA inspection that can be renewed every two years.

The company was founded in 1984, and incorporated in 1989 at which time it employed 10 people. Falconer Electronics manufactures circuit boards and electro-mechanical assemblies at a 30,000 square foot facility at 421 W. Everett St. in Falconer, NY. The company’s first assembly project was with AT&T and involved the development and production of power distribution, security as well as temperature control for telecommunications cabinets. Falconer Electronics works for a number of well-known manufacturers and customers, often as a private label source for various components and complete assemblies. Additionally, the company serves the automotive industry, having worked in partnership with a customer prototyping and then producing the first LED lighting assemblies for heavy duty automotive applications.

Since 2003, the company has employed an average of 45 employees.

We are very happy and proud of our personnel. Over the past ten years while participating in the SHARP we have had zero days-away-from-work due to injury. We would like to thank Paul Songin and Joe Budzich from the NYS DOL and Rick Shields and Tim Songin from Safety Compliance for their efforts and support maintaining our certification,” said Roger E. Hall, Falconer Electronics founder and President.

Ten years without a days-away-from-work accident and certification in the SHARP is quite the achievement,” said Tim Songin, safety compliance account manager, who co-chairs the committee. “The ability of Falconer Electronics’ employees to identify and correct potential hazards has allowed the program to achieve continued success.”

The Falconer Electronics safety committee, composed of both line and management personnel, meets on a monthly basis and oversees the company’s written safety policies, annual employee training sessions, and facility safety inspections. An action plan is drafted at the end of each year outlining the company’s monthly goals for the upcoming year.

I am very proud that Falconer Electronics has once again been recertified into the SHARP. This is the result of all parties involved maintaining a high standard of safety in our work environment and a true team effort,” said Gary Baumann, Falconer Electronics Safety Manager.

The company’s certification runs through 2017 at which time it will be up for renewal.