Being the larger company gives a false impression of being the better problem solver

April 2, 2018

Why being the larger company has little to do with problem solving. In both examples DMI is the much smaller company with employee levels numbering less than ten and the two companies mentioned each having employee levels in the several hundreds. The difference being in the diversity of experience brought to the table by DMI.


•Back in the 1990's DMI was producing small cabinets and assemblies for AC a general aviation aircraft interiors company. AC had won the interiors contract for the presidential aircraft known as Air Force 1. AC had built and installed furniture in AF1 and during testing the high gloss finish and high pressure laminate on work surfaces was showing signs of stress and developing cracks.


AC company not knowing the cause of the stress and cracking issues called DMI and talked to DJS about the cause of the problem. DJS recalled reading an article that the reason airlines were serving drinks was because of the drastic drop in humidity inside aircraft at cruising altitude. DJS suggested that AC company install a hygrometer and record humidity levels on the runway and then again at altitude. The resulting testing proved that the veneer and solid wood on the furniture was drying at altitude and shrinking causing the stress related problems to the high gloss finish. 


The solution was to strip the high gloss finish from the furniture and replace it with an oil finish. Oil finishes are not a top coat finish and therefore are not stressed as solid wood and veneers move with sudden changes in humidity.


•Recently in having a conversation with an employee of Alpha company it was brought up they were having an issue with a style of sign they were manufacturing. During the discussion it was brought up that Alpha company had started using a high pressure laminate of the variety used on counter tops and cabinets and bonding it to an acrylic substrate. The issue at hand is after they cut the parts from the from the bonded materials the parts are warping on them. They had gone through numerous adhesive solutions to no avail.


 It was apparent to us at DMI what is causing the warping problem and it has nothing to do with adhesives. What they are doing is creating what is call an unbalanced panel. In most cases on other signs they are getting away with it because the materials are similar enough that the materials grow and shrink at a fairly similar rate. High pressure laminate absorbs and loses moisture far more rapidly than acrylic does causing stress between the two materials resulting a warped part. 


The solution to the warping problem is to create a balanced panel by applying the laminate to both sides of the acrylic. Creating balanced panels was a standard procedure during the period when DMI was building custom office furniture. 







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