Coto Technology's reed relay manufacturing facility located in Mexicali, Mexico (above right). Coto's switch factory is located in Heerlen, The Netherlands (above left). Coto Corporation, dba Coto Technology, originated in Providence, Rhode Island, USA in 1917 as Coto Coil Incorporated - a company specializing in the design and manufacture of coil windings. During the mid-1960's, Coto expanded its product line by introducing the reed relay - the result of integrating reed switches into coil windings. By 1970, Coto emerged as a leading manufacturer of reed relays with the development of the first patented Low-Thermal EMF reed relay.
Coto went on to produce the first ever surface mounted reed relays in 1983, the world's smallest SMD reed relay in 1994, and the first patented reed relay with >8 GHz performance in 2001. In 1998 Coto acquired the Philips Dry Reed Switch Division in The Netherlands, a world leader in reed switches, to form Coto Technology, B.V. For Coto's reed relay division, owning a switch factory provides two critical benefits for its customers: 1) it minimizes potentially disruptive supply fluctuations that affect relay delivery and lead times and 2) it allows for control of the core technology of the reed relay. Coto's continued investment in technology development supports new product advancements that service the needs of Coto's relay division, as well as that of its reed switch and sensor customers. An example of this is the 2002 release of the RI-80, the world's smallest commercially available reed switch with 5mm glass length.
Today, Coto is a worldwide market leader of small signal switching products sold into the Automatic Test Equipment, Data Acquisition, Instrumentation, Process Control, Telecommunications, Medical and Security markets. Coto specializes in the manufacture of custom relays. Non-standard package sizes and pinouts, custom coil and shielding designs, and multi-pole configurations are common variables. Coto relays are capable of carrying up to six amps, and can provide switching currents up to four amps along with 10-15 KV switching. Coto relays are qualified to the highest electrical test specifications in the reed relay industry. To improve efficiency, enhance responsiveness and increase capacity, Coto has renovated its relay manufacturing facility in Mexico by investing in additional manufacturing automation technology. Manufacturing processes utilizing ergonomic workstations, coupled with fully automated winding, wire termination, molding and laser marking increase efficiency while ensuring high levels of quality. Also, a Learning Center provides Coto employees with educational opportunities, enhancement of job skills, and operator certification.
To further strengthen Coto's position as the leading reed switch manufacturer, Coto has invested substantially in its Netherlands switch factory on capacity expansion and manufacturing automation. Coto has installed new automated equipment for blade forming, blade welding, electrical test and vision systems for inspection, which together improve productivity and enhance quality. The addition of several new sealing mills improves responsiveness, adds overall capacity for further growth and supports our continued efforts to expand product offerings.
From the production line to the executive office of the company President, Coto's commitment to quality is evident - as manifested by its world class products. Coto is certified to ISO-9001. Additionally, our switch factory is ISO14001 approved and Coto's environmental policy and controls are compliant with internationally accepted standard manufacturing practices aimed at reducing the effect of manufacturing activities on the environment. All Coto standard products (except BGA) have transitioned to RoHS compliant versions.
Coto operates in an environment of structured problem solving, using cross-functional teams for product development planning and continuous improvement processes. These team efforts plus active customer involvement ensure product designs that meet or exceed customer needs. Continuous production monitoring is accomplished through the use of Statistical Process Control (SPC) and other quality practices such as FMEA's (failure mode and effect analysis), PPAP's (production part approval process) and zero acceptance sampling are used for analysis and monitoring of key parameters. Coto's quality philosophy and discipline provide the building blocks for its reputation as the world leader in quality small signal switching products.
Coto has the most advanced testing capability of any reed relay manufacturer. After the relays have been assembled, assurance of their conformity to specifications is accomplished through 100% testing. Coto tests relays to the highest standards in the industry using its proprietary "System 320" Parametric Tester. The System 320 is capable of testing over 20 different parameters of the relay and recording the results of each test for each relay. This information can be retrieved in the form of Histogram graphs, Individual Results reports or Pareto Failure Analysis reports. Results from the test systems are networked in real time, allowing immediate access to statistical data on product performance and quality. Coto emphasizes Pareto-style graphical ranking of yield data, allowing for quick identification and resolution of problem areas. This aids the analysis of the relay's performance over time and continuous quality improvement.
Throughout the manufacture of Coto switches, a zero failure acceptance testing system is used for each critical process step. The mechanical and chemical properties of the switches after process stages such as plating, diffusion, sputtering, sealing and forming are inspected to ensure conformance to required specifications. Prior to shipment, 100% of the switches produced are electrically checked for AT value and contact resistance and this information is included with the customer's shipment.
Our life testing laboratories in the USA and The Netherlands can cycle relays or switches while applying a wide range of load voltages and currents. Relays are concurrently tested up to one billion cycles. The effects of surge currents from reactive loads can be included. Failure data is analyzed using Weibull techniques to allow accurate prediction of MCBF (mean cycles before failure), and the confidence limits that apply. Coto also has a sweep frequency life tester designed to probe reed switch blade resonance and its effect on long term contact resistance.
More advanced tests include Paschen voltage breakdown to detect switch seal breakdown, and an automated tester designed to determine the contact welding resistance of reed switches. Coto is also equipped with high-end digital oscilloscopes and network analyzers, to meet the increasing demand for relays with RF bandpass above 5 GHz.