Friday, May 09, 2014

Goofproofing atttempt.

Remember the anonymous Smith M&P owner who gained internet notoriety by assembling their pistol with the barrel in upside down?

It looks like those clever engineers at FNH had him in mind when designing the FNS-9...

"...with instructions on the heel."
Bobbi points out that this would still be easy for the ingenious person to derp, because "up" is ambiguous. Do they mean "up" as in "toward the top of the gun when I'm holding it right-side up?" (Incidentally, the M&P photo led to a fascinating and wide-ranging conversation in Facebook comments where I learned the term "poka-yoke".)


ETA: I know a guy who knows a guy, and he confirmed that it's just a funny coincidence of inspection marks. I had actually been holding out a little bit of hope that it was as cool as the old 8mm French Ordnance Revolvers, which had hinged sideplates and the internals stamped with big numbers in order of reassembly.
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18 comments:

global village idiot said...

My work colleague - the smartest man I've ever met - says that there's no such thing as "foolproof." The best you can do is "idiot-resistant."

gvi

Anonymous said...

The problem with Murphy-proofing is that Murphy doesn't read and will do things in ways that the engineer can't imagine.

Al_in_Ottawa

Joseph said...

Perhaps it is an ancronym and not instruction?

Tam said...

Joseph,

That's entirely possible, although it would be a very funny coincidence.

Anonymous said...

We have tried to make stuff soldier proof and fireman proof to the point of removing the power button and replacing it with two buttons marked ON and OFF.

It is our opinion that they are working on the super idiot program at Ft. Meade but .gov will neither confirm or deny it's existence.

Gerry

Mike Gallo said...

Poke-yoke is why Hondas are easy to work on an German cars are nightmarish children of whores to wrench.

B said...

You can't idiot proof anything.

Nor can you make it unbreakable.

There are folks who you could put down on a desert with an anvil, and they could not only break it into two pieces, but reassemble the pieces wrong.

mikee said...

Poke-yoke? Get a bigger hammer.

Any part will fit the way I want, if I hit it hard enough.

That above is what engineers fight against. And hammers come in really, really big sizes.

og said...

yeah, it's the first thing you learn in Six Sigma.

"To avoid (yokeru) inadvertent errors (poka)."

It is not proof against bigger hammers or deliberate stupidity, but it is a way of forcing the operator or assembler to think about what they're doing. Critical in automation, which is why automation guys do it as second nature. A discreetly placed pin or a properly aligned divot in an assembly are usually enough to make sure that it goes together correctly. And on assembly lines in Japan, there are usually no hammers, unless they are assembling hammers.

Commander_Zero said...

Had a customer install the recoil spring and assembly upsidedown on a P35. One shot and it bent the guide like a pretzel. Browning sent a new one, a users manual, and a subtly highlighted stickynote on the page telling how to put the gun back together.

JimB said...

When you finally make it fool-proof God will make a better fool

Robert Fowler said...

JimB said...
When you finally make it fool-proof God will make a better fool

You must know some of my customers. Most of them are great. But like they used to tell us in boot camp it's that 10% that screw things up.I got my 10% and at least half of someone else's.

Ed said...

Some say that the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were an early attempt in poka-yoke for government.

Some in government still take a figurative large hammer to make those parts fit the way they want, instead of the way there were designed to fit.

Windy Wilson said...

Robert Fowler, I would submit that better fools are what we have been provided with for about the last 60 years (maybe longer).

Al T. said...

"Some say that the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were an early attempt in poka-yoke for government."

The Inter-webs are yours, use them wisely.......

D.W. Drang said...

Too bad the guys who designed the M60 machine gun never heard of poke-yoke. Any device which needs to be wired shut...
Once drew one which had the recoil cylinder installed backwards, and the leaf spring that holds the pistol grip/trigger housing on installed upside down and backwards, on the wrong side...

global village idiot said...

Many, many moons ago I had the good fortune of going to lunch with a lovely young lady friend and her mother. Mom picked up the bill which suited me right well.

She fancied herself an intellectual; and to make matters worse, she fancied ME an "intellectual" too. She learned that I was in the Army and was in the process of making it a career.

This dismayed her. Why do you associate yourself with that sort of person, she asked. I replied by asking just what she meant by that (had to be nice after all she WAS buying me lunch), and by way of response she trotted out the old chestnut about Army manuals being written at a 4th grade comprehension level.

I told her that the hardest job in the Army was not Special Forces nor infantry nor anything like that. It's being an Army linguist. Uncle Sam scours the country for the best-and-brightest and very few people of each different language are considered fit for such service. I flattered her by telling her that she would have made an excellent linguist.

Which was sort of underhanded of me. It was kind of like asking a bowling pin to feel flattered by being stood upright.

Imagine, I told her, that you're an Army Linguist during the recent invasion of Iraq (to give you an idea of when this discussion took place). You're on a convoy from who-knows-where to who-knows-where-else, along with the rest of your unit, people you've lived with and trained with for about two or three years. They're friends, they are family.

Presently, your convoy is attacked by infantry backed up by a light tank (there was no point trying to explain an APC to her). Your vehicle is destroyed and you are thrown from it, dazed and scared out of your wits but not seriously hurt. Your buddies around you are fighting for their lives and would be able to hold their own if it weren't for that damned tank.

In front of you is a rocket-launcher which you remember being told has a fair chance of putting tanks just like that out of action. You saw one in Basic Training and monkeyed around with a dummy version, but you've never fired a live round from such a weapon before.

In short, it is the difference between life and death for you and everyone in your unit.

So there you are, bell-rung and terrified, in real peril and your buddies yelling and screaming, and you have in front of you an unfamiliar weapon which will work but you only have ONE chance to use it correctly...

Now, under these conditions, I asked her, which set of instructions do you think would give you a greater chance of success:
o A 2-inch thick binder written by PhDs for grad students, or
o A sticker with pictures, the hardest instruction being PUSH THE RED BUTTON?

She said the sticker, obviously.

I didn't have to wait long for the lesson to sink in. She really is a smart cookie, just wasn't used to thinking along those lines.

The point I made to her, of course, is that Army systems (weapons, radios, zippers, what-have-you) must work in extreme conditions, by people under extreme duress, who may have only a passing familiarity with the system.

Lunch was nearly over by that time so I didn't bother telling her the corollary, which is that every Company-sized unit in the Army has at least one Soldier whom you could blindfold and handcuff and chain to the wall of a darkened bank vault with three bowling balls he doesn't know are there; and you can safely wager a week's pay that the next morning when you open the vault he'd still be manacled and hoodwinked, but one of the bowling balls would be broken, the second would be missing and the third would be pregnant.

gvi

God, Gals, Guns, Grub said...

I'm really glad to hear that they are just inspection marks... and that FN isn't assuming all their customers, like me, have single digit IQ's...

Dann in Ohio