Quality Assurance

2004 - EXCELL Tabletop X-Ray Diffraction System
2007 - High Performance LMO-Enabled HTS Wires
2010 - Ultra-high-performance High Temperature Superconducting Wires
2012 - Rare-earth-based superconducting wire ideal for operation in high magnetic field
Quality Control
Quality Assurance Statement
It is the policy of SuperPower, Inc. to design, manufacture and deliver on schedule reliable products that meet all customer specifications.

We are committed to safety and environmental responsibility and will comply with all applicable laws and regulations in our products, processes and services. We will meet the expectation of our customers, monitor our performance against the goals we set and pursue opportunities for continual improvement in our products and processes.

It is the responsibility of every employee at SuperPower to help achieve the quality goals of this policy which will result in our contribution to customer satisfaction.

Quality Control ⁄ Quality Assurance Tools & Processes
SuperPower has state-of-the-art instrumentation for QC/QA between and within each process step in the manufacture of 2G HTS wire (coated conductor).

Characterization
The 2G HTS wire is put through several QC and QA processes to ensure the product's structured uniformity. Characterization measurements are completed throughout the manufacturing process and are designed to ensure maximum product performance and reliability.

On-line QA and off-line QC tools use optical inspection methods to check the quality of the tape after substrate polishing, buffer deposition and superconductor deposition. The patented, automated, optical tape inspection system checks for defects at a speed of 150 m/hr.

On-line RHEED (Reflection High Energy Electron Diffraction) is used to qualify the surface of the IBAD layer after deposition. The EXCELL system, recipient of the 2004 R&D 100 Award, is used to measure the texture of the subsequent buffer layers at speeds of up to 300 m/hr.

Testing
In addition to these microstructural QC/QA tools, SuperPower has custom-built test equipment that can measure critical current carrying characteristics on lengths from 1 mm to 1 km.

Testing for critical current (Ic) and mechanical performance is completed as the final step in the manufacture of SuperPower's 2G HTS wire. Critical current tests determine the maximum amount of current the wire can carry when cooled to cryogenic temperatures. These tests are performed reel-to-reel and from end-to-end. Transport Ic and n-value data are supplied every 1 to 10 meters.

Every wire delivery includes complete Ic test results. Mechanical tests, including bend tests, tensile tests, and spiral winding tests, determine the mechanical properties of the wire.

SuperPower continuously improves upon its quality assurance processes and systems including methodologies that address how we approach manufacturing and governance. Quality Assurance initiatives have been introduced to ensure the production of a superior product through improved manufacturing processes.

Philosophies
By introducing continuous improvement plans to the manufacturing of our 2G HTS wire, our customers can be assured of the best quality wire available in today’s market.

Kaizen, Japanese for "improvement" or "change for the better," has been applied not only to the manufacturing of the wire, but across all organization functions including marketing and sales, administration, and shipping. SuperPower continues to improve internally to the advantage of our customers and our product.

Further expanding manufacturing improvements, SuperPower committed to improving the quality of 2G HTS wire through Sig Sigma strategies to meet customer requirements. By identifying and removing defects, minimizing variables in manufacturing and training Six Sigma experts, SuperPower will be able to provide long-term reliability, consistency and uniformity while improving the in-field performance of the wire and ultimately decrease pricing.

SuperPower understands that in order to stay competitive in today’s marketplace, we must understand our customer, meet their requirements and exceed their expectations. As the world leader for 2G HTS wire, we know there is always room for improvement. SuperPower is dedicated to continuous improvement of its wire utilizing customer feed-back, continued research and development of wire formulations and geometries, evaluation of resources and vendors, to the training and education of its employees and support from an expert management team.

Taken as a whole, the QC and QA tools and processes embraced by SuperPower ensure a high quality product is being produced from start to finish, and that it is being tested thoroughly before being delivered to the customer.


Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd.
SuperPower Inc. is subsidiary
of Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd.
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