New Strategic Quality Team formed and Reliability Test Lab now in use

ELKHART, Indiana, USA - December 2006 -- When it comes to audio equipment, the name Crown has always been synonymous with performance, reliability and quality. Today, as exciting new products continue to be developed, maintaining the high level of quality that customers have come to expect is a top priority for the company. With that in mind, Crown International established a Strategic Quality Team earlier this year and upgraded its factory to include a Reliability Test Lab equipped with some of the industry’s most sophisticated and rigorous testing equipment.

While Crown has operated its own testing equipment for some time, the manufacturer’s testing criteria have become more stringent in recent years, often resulting in the need to send items to an outside laboratory for evaluation. Having its own comprehensive lab in-house not only accelerates testing during the early phases of product development, but also now allows the company to conduct quality audits on lines already in production.

Heading up the Strategic Quality Team is Crown Senior Director of Engineering Bob Chadderdon, who comments, “This initiative has replaced older equipment and supplemented our existing tools with state-of-the-art, higher-performance equipment offering much better data collection capabilities. Simply put, this new lab lets us do more, faster. We have also integrated our own Harman HiQnet™ products into the lab as signal sources so we can monitor and control long-term operational testing remotely.”

The equipment in the test lab does not simply run units through simulated environmental stress; it rakes them through some of the most extreme conditions imaginable. For example:

  • A thermal/humidity chamber allows for accelerated life testing in environments ranging from -95 to +355 degrees Fahrenheit at up to 95 percent humidity.
  • A new, highly automated shaker table can generate 100 g of acceleration and report test results in real-time across the network. One of the many benefits of this piece of equipment is that it allows identification and correction of vibration issues in very early prototypes.
  • The drop-test equipment subjects the test item to a high impact drop not once, but twice: the first time in the factory-packed box and then the unit, itself, sans packaging. This test demonstrates how well the equipment can withstand the rigors of handling by people and machinery in the distribution environment and beyond.

The machinery in the test lab provides the physical testing, but, for a more cognitive approach, the Strategic Quality Team was developed. “This is a cross-functional team dedicated to taking Crown’s quality to the next level: delivered quality, internal quality and, through development of best-practices, assuring that future products meet the highest expectations,” notes Chadderdon.

Among the members of this powerhouse team are an electrical design engineer, a mechanical design engineer, an industrial engineer and a more traditional quality engineer. One goal of this group is to identify opportunities and lead improvement projects that often involve several different functional departments and help guide internal process optimization.

About Crown International:
Crown International, a Harman International company, manufactures amplifiers, microphones, and systems control products for professional audio markets worldwide, with corporate headquarters located in Elkhart, Indiana. For more information, visit Crown online at www.crownaudio.com.

About the Harman Pro Group:
The Harman Pro Group (www.harmanpro.com) is the world’s largest provider of professional audio products and system solutions for commercial sound, contracting, tour sound, recording and broadcast, musician, portable PA and cinema applications. The Group is headquartered in Northridge, California and includes industry leaders AKG Acoustics, BSS Audio, Crown International, dbx, DigiTech, JBL Professional, Lexicon, Soundcraft, and Studer. The Group is part of Harman International Industries, Incorporated (NYSE: HAR), a leading supplier of high-quality, high fidelity audio products and infotainment systems for the automotive, home and professional markets.

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Related image: Crown International’s new Reliability Test Lab featuring, among other things, a Thermotron thermal/humidity chamber (left) and shaker table and drop-test machine (center)

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Reader contact:
Crown International
1718 W. Mishawaka Road, Elkhart, IN 46517
Tel: 574.294.8000 / Fax: 574.294.8250
URL: www.crownaudio.com

Editor contact:
Chris Shuler, Public Address
Tel: 574.287.8410 / Cell: 574.514.7131 / Fax: 574.287.1522
E-mail: christophershuler@comcast.net