Fourstar Connections Blog

Dang! Testing-Phase Speed Bumps Trump Your Time to Market Delivery

Posted by Peter McGuire on Jun 4, 2015 2:46:00 PM

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Manufacturing Outsourcing Can Keep You on Track

Engineering has vetted your design and you are ready to go. You are on target and on time to market as you go into your testing phase. And—bang—you hit a bump in the road. You discover that the standard cable assemblies you’ve counted on in the past—which are still reliable—may need some customization to get over the testing hurdles that have cropped up. Now what?


Back to the drawing board—literally? Think of the time, money, and resources it’s going to take to re-design a custom cable assembly. Then think about how that impacts your delivery timeline. Time to find a better solution. Manufacturing outsourcing can help. The right outsourcing partner can more than keep you on track. In fact, an outsourcing partner with a strong reseller network and years of experience working with a diversity of customers and many different product families can bring tons of knowledge to the table to improve upon the design with their recommendations. In a recent blog, we gave a complete rundown of the benefits and considerations when choosing manufacturing outsourcing for time to market support.

Here’s another real-life example of how it worked for a referred customer recently.   

Value-Added Reseller

We work closely with Samtec, a value-added reseller, which is a global manufacturer of a broad line of electronic interconnect solution blocks, including IC-to-board/ultra-micro, high-speed board-to-board, high-speed cables, future-proof/active optics, flexible stacking, and micro/rugged components and cables. Samtec is the service leader in the electronic interconnect industry. When we work together, we provide fast, cost-effective interconnect solutions by providing custom cable assemblies to end-user specs.

It Was a Smooth Ride, Until …

Gerry Shay, Senior Sales Engineer at Samtec, referred one of their customers, a global engineering firm, to Fourstar to consult with them regarding the re-designing of a PESS cable assembly. It was in the testing phase of its new product development, which also required a quick-turn, time to market deadline. Samtec’s customer offers diagnostic instruments, services, and is a world leader of statistically significant apparatus test results for the benefit of energy generation and delivery companies and industrial power users worldwide.


The customer was using a Samtec PowerStrip™ cable (PESS-04-10-L-36-DR), along with several other cables, in a new M7100 Power Apparatus Analyzer. Samtec’s PESS cable is a .250" PowerStrip™/40 A single row discrete wire cable assembly, socket.

During the testing phase of this new product, Samtec’s customer realized they had a noise problem and needed a solution to meet their tight EMI testing schedule. They were using a standard Samtec cable that was unshielded and knew they needed a shielding and grounding solution.

The Solution

We made a recommendation we were confident would help them meet their requirements. In collaboration with the customer, we developed a solution that included adding a ground, tubular braid, and expando. We cut off one end, developed twisted four-run conductors, put a tubular mesh braid over it, and added expando sleeving. This concept was extended to other cables in the box and incorporated into the production design.  

Fourstar built several small lots, which were successful. As such, the customer extended the design to a few additional cables. All of the production was completed and shipped on-time: we completed the re-design and production within a five to 10-day period. We met all the deliverables as required, while maintaining the current design and connector selections. Fourstar aptly helped solve the engineering firm’s problem by customizing an otherwise standard—and very versatile—cable solution produced by Samtec.

A mechanical engineer from the engineering firm said of Fourstar’s work, “Fourstar’s recommendations and response enabled us to meet an aggressive schedule contributing to solving a problem and allowing us to continue with the Samtec design. This concept was applied to other cables in the system, enabling the project to stay on schedule and meet testing requirements.”

Collaboration that Works

Fourstar has consistently used Samtec cables in diverse configurations and effective assembly applications. We were confident that by customizing Samtec’s cables, we would find the right solution for our mutual customer. Had we not solved the design challenge, the end-user might have been forced to initiate a complete re-design for a new custom cable assembly. Fourstar has that capability, but this custom solution was especially helpful to this end-user in this new product introduction (NPI) and time-to-market crunch. It saved the engineering firm time, money, and resources.

New Tooling Capabilities

Fourstar continues to add to its tooling capabilities as a result of such collaborations. We are now tooled on the Samtec .050-, .100-, and .250-inch centerline and 1,00-mm centerline families. Specifically, Fourstar is tooled for contacts in the .050 Pitch Tiger Eye™, 28-30 AWG (SFSS, SFSST, SFSD, and SFSDT Series); .100” Pitch Mini Mate®, 20-30 AWG (MMSD, MMSDT, MMSS, MMSST, IPD1 Series); .250” Pitch PowerStrip™/40, 10-12 AWG (PESS Series); and 1,00 mm Micro Cable Assembly, 28-30 AWG (S1SS Series). For specific tooling, see the tooling workbook.

This will pave the way for more successful Fourstar/Samtec collaborations to produce custom cable assemblies for satisfied end-users. The partnership between Fourstar and Samtec allows them to live up to their respective promises of finding a better way to enable technology.   

Fourstar partners with leading companies to “find a better way” for time to market, new product introduction, and design for manufacturing (DFM) initiatives. How can we find a better way for you?

To download the full discussion in a case study of the Samtec/Fourstar collaboration, click here.

Download the Samtec Case Study


Topics: outsourcing, outsourcing manufacturing, manufacturing outsourcing, new product introduction, time to market

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Finding a Better Way

Fourstar partners with leading companies to problem solve, innovate, and find better ways for New Product Introduction (NPI) and Design for Manufacturing (DFM) initiatives.

What you get:

  • Our project management and manufacturing expertise
  • Comprehensive range of products and solutions
  • Advanced IT systems
  • Exceptional customer support

From cable assemblies to complex box build solutions, we can quickly ramp up to meet target dates and volume requirements. We are dedicated to helping you improve program efficiency, enhance product performance, speed time to market, and lower total cost of product.

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