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.
Way 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
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