[meteorite-list] Comments re: membrane boxes from Ron Hartman

From: R. N. Hartman <rhartman04_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sun Feb 12 00:49:12 2006
Message-ID: <000e01c62f98$1753a510$6401a8c0_at_ronij3wi4b7cpv>

Hello cynapse_at_charter.net and list:

To respond to your post: First of all, to have the factory install the
membrane is a big cost, and we can do it cheaper because we do it ourselves.
However, it is not the kind of thing done at home. We had to outfit a small
building where we do our assembly and operations. And, yes, we do have
higher quality control. We were finding instances where the space between
the membrane and the inner part of the plastic shell was not always as clean
as we demanded......little specks, shavings of membrane material, dust, etc.
Although we don't have a class 1000 clean room: i.e.:
<<Cleanrooms are 10,000 times cleaner than a hospital operating room. It
takes an incredible amount of technology to achieve and maintain such
cleanliness. Huge air filtration systems completely change the air in
cleanrooms about 10 times per minute, reducing the chance that there are
airborne particles that might harm the chips>>

we don't do badly at all with our present manufacturing assembly methods and
careful workmanship. Nevertheless, new technologies are developing all the
time and with decreasing costs for upgrading the fabrication facilities,
these things are always on our agenda for some future date.

Shipping charges of one 5000 cu. inch. carton from Europe by FedEx to us
average around $330.00, with savings with quantity. (This could add $2 to
$4 to the final retail cost of one box, depending on the size). This is why
we ususally purchase factory components at a ton-rate or more. Even so,
rates have gone up as much as 30% in the past year due to fuel surcharges
and FedEx normal yearly rate increases. Shipping is charged by volume and
not weight, and you can see that the boxes are mostly air. By applying the
membrane ourselves, we can get more shells into a shipping carton, thus
saving shipping costs and keeping costs down. Without this advantage,
prices could be 20-40% higher.

The polyurethane membrane is in fact a specially made formulation for the
membrane boxes. Not that polyurethane is exotic, but the specific
formulation for the boxes have a factory defined specific stretch, tear
resistance and "bounce" ability to absorbe shock utiling damped vibration
technology. One can go to:
http://www.efunda.com/formulae/vibrations/sdof_free_damped.cfm if one wishes
to look more into that (but I wouldn't want to!).

You are very right, that there are a number of extra steps after removal
from the mold. For example, that little dimple in the middle of the box was
much more before the box was finished! What you see is after drilling and
polishing to even it out.

I can understand any concern for prices and appreciate what seem to be
simple solutions. However, in the real world, many solutions are not as
simple as they may appear to be initially. There are many costs beyond
those for raw materials. And, don't forget: customs fees, foreign exchange
money transfer fees, processing fees, tariff charges, and for us, Paypal
charges, taxes, and on and on.

Ron Hartman

----- Original Message -----
From: "Darren Garrison" <cynapse_at_charter.net>
To: "R. N. Hartman" <rhartman04_at_earthlink.net>
Cc: <meteorite-list_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Sent: Saturday, February 11, 2006 8:57 PM
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] Comments re: membrane boxes from Ron Hartman

On Sat, 11 Feb 2006 20:10:37 -0800, you wrote:

>REPLY: In fact, it is. There is a great deal of hand assembly in this
>process. The membrane is attached by a process almost identical to putting
>a new screen on a screen door and trimming it to size. The stretch has to
>be just right for the box to have its shock proof characteristics and for
>the membrane to return to a flat plane when the piece is removed. It
>requires special tooling and semi-automated machinery, and a skilled person
>to do the job. We do this ourselves, and it required sending Jim to the
>factory in Europe for a week of special training plus the purchase and
>importing of the equipment. If we did not do part of the manufacturing, we

>could not keep our prices lower than everyone elses.

I didn't know that this step wasn't done at the plastics plant, but still,
point is that it could be-- especially if the machinery is "semi-autimated".
point was never about being able to make them from scratch at home. Just
kiind of compexity and production costs they would have for a professional,
fully equiped plastics molding plant. I can understand added costs if you
basicly putting them together yourself at home. At the plastics plant where
used to work, many of the parts there also involved extra steps after
from the mold, including using sorts of "ultrasonic drills" to insert metal
fittings into pieces. What I'm getting at is that the shape of the parts
very simple, not requiring any fancy multi-part molds or pins for holes or
overhangs, just the two steel plates that are pressed together. The plastic
used doesn't look to be anything exoctic. The problem that you seemed to
was with poor concern for quality control at the plant. If anyone found a
for constant production of significant numbers of these, then they could
them for pennies per piece, especially concidering how little labor costs
would have to pay in China or where-ever. And quality control? When
knows that they can be fired at the drop of a hat for the smallest mistake
that there are a hundred people waiting in line behind him to take the job,
think that they'll be a bit careful.

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Received on Sun 12 Feb 2006 12:49:29 AM PST

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