Last month’s ware was a machine for making custom card-edge connectors for game cartridges. The machine is made by AUK Contractors, a Taiwanese connector company with factories in China. AUK is on my short list of suppliers for volume quantities of connectors. Their ability to make highly automated machines like this is rare in China, and their extraordinary sophistication in automated manufacturing allows them to maintain quality while hitting price points many other manufacturers can’t touch.
Below is a video of the machine in operation (caution: the machine is very loud, I recommend adjusting the volume down before hitting play).
You can also watch in HD (24 MB).
I can stare and watch machines like this operate for hours. I’m particularly fascinated by the vibrating buckets that, through simple shaking motions, takes a random pile of connectors and lines them up. The vibration of the bucket is biased; if you put your hand on the edge of the bucket, your hand will also magically glide in the same direction as the connectors. There are a series of notches and ledges on the internal guide tracks that cause connectors in the wrong orientation to fall back into the bucket, such that by the time connectors reach the top they are all in just one orientation.
I believe that this machine is making the connectors used by the Leapfrog Leapster series of handheld educational game consoles. Arnuschky was the first to guess a game connector, and thus is the winner. Congrats, email me for your prize!