Project: Spectrum | Stand Assembly Line

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Hey community,

How do the twenty-one stand parts come to a whole on their assembly line? We are about to find out.

New to the project?

If you just joined our journey of crowd-development, welcome! We summarized the Spectrum project’s critical milestones to quickly give you an idea of what has happened since it was initiated.

Stand factory tour

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Our stand manufacturing partner in Suzhou specializes in research and development (R&D), manufacturing, testing, and assembly of monitor and TV stands as well as VESA mounts. In their showroom, we checked stand samples produced for brands such as Acer, Aorus, and Lenovo to learn about the factory’s manufacturing techniques and sought inspiration to improve the color, material, and finish (CMF) of the Spectrum stand.

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Quality assurance test equipment

We walked into their quality assurance (QA) room to check out all the testing machines that our stand samples endure during multiple optimization stages before they are ready for the assembly line. You can have a look at some testing equipment we previously touched on.

Thermal shock chamber

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This test checks the stand’s resistance to sudden temperature changes over a relatively short period. The unit is gradually exposed to an extreme (about -40°C or about 80°C) temperature from a controlled ambient. Then, the temperature rapidly transitions to the opposite end and eventually returns to the controlled temperature. After conducting several such cycles, the sample goes through examination, and any detected damage means it needs to be tweaked accordingly to combat temperature stress.

Cardboard bursting strength tester

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Rigid corrugated cardboard boxes are supposed to retain their shape when storing and transporting heavy stands. This machine tests the box’s firmness when subjected to a certain pressure level to ensure they can serve the stand’s safety well.

Rockwell scale

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A good level of metal hardness ensures that the stand is strong enough to withstand impact during transportation and daily usage. This equipment measures a permanent depth of indentation produced by a specific force as one of the standard hardness test methods. When a fixed load and indenter are applied to the sample, the smaller the dent, the harder the material. We learned that different countries might prefer calculating different units for such measurement, and other industries such as forging evaluate materials through more than one type of such hardness test.

Height adjustment and tilt testers

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Height adjustment tester (left) and tilt tester (right)

The endurance of height adjustment spring and hinge is validated by passing three thousand test cycles of each machine.

Spectrometer

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The chamber of this energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) spectrometer analyzes the stand to determine the presence of certain toxic or otherwise harmful substances, as regulated by the EU RoHS directive. In this case, we are testing to control the percentages of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium (Cr6+), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE).

Abrasion and scratch testers

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Paper abrasion tester (top left), rubber & alcohol abrasion tester (bottom left), and pencil scratch tester (right)

The factory has the equipment to perform four types of abrasion tests to examine the endurance of the stand coating under different usage scenarios:

  • Paper tape is fed from one of the reel’s top and is pressed onto the sample by the vertical shaft located above the test surface. The machine runs for a specified number of cycles to complete a test. It pauses periodically to allow the sample to be inspected so that the operator can obtain a relatively accurate pass/failure time reading.

  • A rubber head with specified hardness is fixed to the machine to rub the coating surface under the required load and frequency. Operators can exchange this head to a cloth damped with a high concentration alcohol solution representing an appropriate corrosion level.

  • A pencil is loaded with a specific force and pressed onto the sample, generating a trace that reveals the coating’s hardness.

On the line

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The stands greet us not far from the entrance. :grin:

They are lined up neatly on the shelf with the hinge and height adjustment mechanism pre-assembled and installed in the aluminum housing. This preparation work allows us to see the assembly line during the visit.

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Oil is applied as a buffer to prevent the aluminum housing and the height adjustment mechanism from damaging each other when in use.

Operators must wear gloves and clean the working surface every hour to keep the assembly line tidy and subsequently suitable for operation. Of course, high precision work such as inserting the plastic shell into place may require the operator to have a bare hand to proceed.

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At the beginning of the assembly line, the stand is secured to its base to test the height adjustment mechanism’s push force. An operator uses a force gauge to push the spring at a fixed speed and stands with reading between 6 and 7kgf/cm² can continue down the assembly line.

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Two operators install a piece of metal on top of the height adjustment mechanism and secure two screws, reinforcing the stand’s structure.

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An operator inserts and presses the top cover of the plastic shell onto the aluminum housing. A piece of foam is placed between the plastic and hinge to isolate these two parts during the process. The height adjust spring is pulled down for easy installation and then briefly tested to ensure this shell’s piece does not interfere with the movement.

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The bottom cover of the shell is easily pressed into place.

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Two operators cooperate to install and then secure the tilt shell piece with two screws.

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The pivot piece is installed the last to complete the shell, again secured with two screws.

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The quick-release mounting head is then fixed onto the stand’s neck by four screws.

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An operator thoroughly cleans the stand’s surface using a cloth slightly dampened by an alcohol-based solution. This step ensures all possible oil and sweat stains from previous operations are removed.

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Assembly line quality control (QC) of the stand includes function checks and visual inspection. An operator examines the functional status of the connector between the neck and base, height adjustment mechanism, and quick-release. Visual assessment is focused on spotting any dent, scratch, color inaccuracy, thick paint, uneven surface, unusual gaps, and skipped screws. Qualified stands are allowed to pass and awarded their Eve logo.

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Two operators wrap the stand and the base into expanded polyethylene (EPE) protection bags, with the VESA head facing the printed side. The portion of the bag beyond the sample’s size is neatly folded for a tidy appearance.

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The pre-applied bar code on the EPE bags is scanned to register the parts into the system.

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The base plate in the bag is put into a discrete section in the packaging. An operator wraps the stand’s bag tightly and inserts it into the space on top of the base plate in a fixed direction.

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Each cardboard container holds four stand boxes; they will soon be shipped to our monitor factory for the post-assembly line monitor unit testing.

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A handful of random samples go through additional QC to check all functions and tolerances. One QC specialist tests everything around the stand’s neck using a fixed pair of monitor and base plate. Check items contain push force of height adjustment, tilt, and pivot; max- and min- pivot angle plus the distance between the desk and monitor’s bottom in landscape mode. All data are documented by another specialist and subjected to analysis after the assembly.

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We learned that if a physically representative monitor unit is absent, a mock-up with the same size and about the same weight distribution can be utilized instead. In Spectrum’s case, the factory used a 4.8kg mock-up for QC testing before the hardware was finalized.

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Spectrum mock-up for stand QC

Go prettier!

Back to the present. Since our factory visit, we’ve added a step to paint the stand’s quick-release mounting head black to give it a more premium touch. More improvements are ongoing; we’ll check out the results in person after our China team returns to Suzhou and share our findings with you guys.

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Read our upcoming post to see how monitor units get put together on their assembly line!

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15 Likes

The stand looks really clean and professional, I really like it. Keep on the good work guys!

5 Likes

Spectrum will not be compatible with the Dell line of stands; in addition to supporting the Spectrum stand, it is VESA mount compatible with an interface standard of 100mm x 100mm.

3 Likes

Is obvious this is not the final assemply line. Still the place seems cleaner than other lines I’ve seen. a follow up video when the production cranks up to max would be great too.

2 Likes