In previous editions of INSIDE be quiet! we wrote about the quality management practices followed during product development and production of be quiet! power supplies. The next steps in getting those power supplies to you are issuing shipments of products to our main warehouse in Germany and the inspection of incoming goods at said warehouse. Based on the example of Straight Power 10, we want to show you what further quality steps our products undergo before they are shipped to distributors and large online retailers.
After the full quality assurance process is completed at the production facility, the freshly produced Straight Power 10 is shipped to Germany. To make sure they arrive in this country dry and undamaged, they are reloaded in 40-feet containers, each of which can accommodate up to 7,500 power supplies. The containers are generally loaded on cargo ships in Hong Kong and shipped to Germany.
Ordering power supplies usually occurs monthly, and transport takes four to six weeks through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea to Hamburg. Our headquarters in Glinde are close to the Port of Hamburg, which allows for short transportation routes and quick access to the temporarily stored containers.
While the main shipment is on the cargo boat to Germany, a part of the power supply order has often already arrived at our headquarters by air freight, especially for first shipments of new models. These are intended for press and product reviewers to prepare relevant articles and tests before the official market launch.
Once the shipping container has arrived in Glinde, it is opened and unloaded by several employees. During the long voyage, transport damage caused by improperly stowed packages or exposure to water can never be completely ruled out. Therefore our employees meticulously check the status of the entire shipment to immediately register possible problems.
During unloading all serial numbers are entered into our ERP system. This ID allows us to follow each power supply from origin (see INSIDE be quiet! “power supply production”) up to arrival at the end user. The products are not yet released for sales purposes, however. First we have to successfully complete the incoming quality control (IQC) tests.
During IQC, samples of each product are selected and tested for full functionality. The incoming quality control includes the following tests performed on each sample:
A visual inspection of the packaging, the manual, the power supply casing, the power supply plug, and all accessories.
An evaluation of all electrical specifications of the power supply by our Chroma 8000 or Chroma 6000, equipment which can measure and evaluate individual electrical parameters through an automated, computerized program. These tests are not just aimed at ensuring compliance with the regulations as defined by Intel, but are about making sure each unit complies with our own internally defined, extremely critical values. In addition, all safety-related parameters as well as requirements for legal regulations such as ErP or Energy Star are checked. The Chroma logs all readings in a database and exports a protocol in the form of a printed report
After completion of the automated tests of the Chroma 8000 or Chroma 6000, the power supplies are placed and tested in conventional PC systems to ensure that the power supplies can provide full power in real world conditions. For this we use a variety of systems with the latest generation CPUs, chipsets, graphics cards and memory, as well as components of previous generations to ensure backward compatibility. The test software we use to stress the power supply consists of classic tools like Unigine Heaven, 3DMark and more, simulating the realistic load changes you would see in, for example, 3D games.
In order to ensure and verify long-term full load operation even at high ambient temperatures, we examine the power supplies in our high-temperature chamber, which can simulate ambient temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius. To stress these power supplies we use the manual Chroma 6000.
After these tests, the power supplies are manually retested in various PC test systems in order to eliminate all possibility for errors and problems. Special attention is paid to compatibility and noise levels. Only when all tests have been completed and passed may the incoming shipment of products be safely repacked to be sent to our distributors and retailers.
After the first products are sold and the next delivery is ordered, our work is still far from complete. Every production batch receives the same level of attention as the first, because our insistence on top quality never fades. Product quality is inspected and tested with the utmost care each step of the way. Further, should there ever be a defect at the end user side, the power supply is traced back and analyzed for possible causes. If a fault is discovered during the lifetime of a product, this will be carefully analyzed and eliminated in future production runs and product lines.
Lastly, and of course far from least, we receive a steady flow of feedback from our customers via our hotline, e-mail, forums and social networks. This is a vital source of knowledge for our product developers and our engineers. We use all relevant customer information in order to improve our products even further.