Fail-safe Custom Transformers Help Meet Mission-Critical Needs of OEM Machinery Manufacturers

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Custom transformer solenoid helps one of the world's largest manufacturers of card embossing machines provide 100% reliability.

Like any electrical part in a complex piece of machinery, if this solenoid goes down, the machine won't work right

For any original equipment manufacturer, reliability ranks near the top of desirable attributes when it comes to promoting its products. And if the whole is equal to the sum of the parts, then all it takes is one tiny component to fail and the entire device or machine can be stopped in its tracks. For this reason, customers demand that all parts meet or exceed certain specifications and expectations. There can be no exceptions, especially among important components such as a power transformer or other custom transformers, which are found in any machine with electronic circuitry.

To uphold its reputation for fail-safe operation in large production runs, one OEM manufacturer of credit card embossing equipment found a perfect match for its unique and demanding applications by connecting with a supplier of transformers who has consistently delivered high-quality, custom transformers for challenging applications in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, Datacard Group is a driving force in virtually every major card program around the world. Datacard Group’s secure ID and card personalization solutions are currently used to issue millions of financial cards and identification documents each day.

"Of course, reliability is important to us," says Barry LaBounty, an Electrical Commodity Manager with Datacard Group. "For instance, solenoids play a primary part in our embossing technology, so they have to function without fail for a long time. For over 10 years we’ve been getting this component from Nicollet."

A designer and builder of custom transformers and power transformers, Nicollet Technologies--located in Minneapolis, Minnesota--specializes in OEM prototypes and short runs. Since 1969, Nicollet has produced more than 3500 different OEM designs for many industries. The majority of Nicollet’s sales to Datacard Group involve solenoids, which are like a custom transformer because they both have coils, magnets, and laminations.

"Like any electrical part in a complex piece of machinery, if this solenoid goes down, the machine won't work right," notes Datacard Group’s LaBounty. "Nicollet’s solenoids have been reliable in that respect."

OEMs seeking a similar track record from their custom transformer and power transformer suppliers can look for these steps that Nicollet takes to produce its transformers.

"As an ISO 9001:2000 registered design and build firm we constantly strive for process improvement in order to insure customer satisfaction with our transformers and everything else we produce." Says Vince Bernet, an engineer with Nicollet." Our commitment to this quality system is the best way to deliver reliable products day after day."

Such attention to detail in component manufacturing can help ensure that OEMs can guarantee their products for industry-leading MTBFs. This security helps build lasting business partnerships between OEMs and their suppliers, relaxing the need for an OEM to find a second source for its custom transformers and other parts.

"We probably don't use this solenoid any place else in our building--it’s very unique in this application, and not too many suppliers offer components like this," adds LaBounty.

"At this point, there is no other supplier we are looking at."

For more information on custom transformers, visit

For more information:

Jon Wilkie

Nicollet Technologies Corp.

Phone: (612) 379-7919 x100

Fax: (612) 379-1184

711 15th Ave. NE

Minneapolis, MN 55413

Web site:

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Heather Metcalfe
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