TRICOR Systems - Contract Manufacturing
RF Cafe Cool Product
Systems makes some cool products for industry research and quality assurance programs like an electronics
chocolate temper meter (who knew chocolate had a temper?), life cycle and fatigue testers (those machines that
press keyboard keys a gazillion times or cycle hinges until they break), gloss and haze meters for measuring
surface reflection properties, and photometric setups for measuring color content and brightness. TRICOR Systems
also offers some assembly services that you might find useful, but I'll get back to that in a minute.
back in the mid 1980s I worked for a company in Vermont that made, among other things, fuel measurement systems
for aircraft. They consisted of capacitive sensors in the fuel tanks, a computer, and some used the first LCD
displays ever deployed in military aircraft. Just like with the legendary $100 hammer for the Space Station, those
displays required extensive testing both for initial qualification and for each unit during production (low
volume). Part of my job as an associate test engineer (I was working on my BSEE at UVM at the time) was to write
acceptance test procedures for the equipment that included HIPOT testing, an early form of ESD testing, and
measurement of the LCD color, brightness, and contrast. The ESD tester was a custom unit that built up a charge
with a scary-looking contraption that resembled something from a Frankenstein movie. Back-to-back diodes protected
the power and control I/O lines... usually. It took a PhD consultant type to develop the setup for the photometer
measurements. There was no commercially available equipment for ESD or LCD testing at the time. IBM XTs and
awesomely powerful ATs assembled massive kilobytes of data for analysis. One of the TRICOR Systems
photometers would have been nice. Ah, those were the days.
TRICOR Systems also offers many types of
services for contract manufacturing. They have been offering design, test, qualification, and production
assistance from their location in Elgin, Illinois, since 1976. Depending on your needs, TRICOR can deliver any
part of your product or execute the complete cycle starting with your specifications and ending with a completely
tested product and user's manual, ready for shipping to your customer. Electrical and mechanical (packaging)
design is within the realm of their expertise. They have all the necessary certifications and stamps of approval.
If you have a product that needs a lot of hand soldering of parts, complicated cable harnesses, chassis or
equipment rack assembly, or other requirements that make offshore options impractical, check in with the TRICOR
Systems folks to see if they can help.
What's my interest in TRICOR Systems, you might ask? Nothing other
than trying to help a U.S.-based manufacturer. Mr. Brandon Cook contacted me about getting listed on my Component
Vendor & Services page, and after looking at his company's website, I decided to do this write-up for the Cool
Products column. Give Brandon a call if you think he can help you.
TRICOR Systems Inc.
1650 Todd Farm Dr.
Elgin, IL 60123
847-742-5542 ext. 159
Posted March 19, 2012
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BSEE - KB3UON
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