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Alien Recall From CCH
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cchaliens


Jan 12, 2006, 5:33 PM
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     Alien Recall From CCH
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Colorado Custom Hardware, (CCH) has recently completed an investigation and extensive testing to identify and isolate safety issues concerning the brazing on CCH Alien cams. The safety of our customers is our number one priority.
Testing has revealed that there was a brazing issue with specific cams made after November 2004. The units to be identified are marked with a small center punch dimple at the base of the round ball where the axle goes through the cable eye. Although few failures have been reported, CCH recommends immediately discontinuing the use of any Aliens with this mark. CCH is recalling the cams with the identifying punch mark. Please return them to CCH for a new replacement unit. You can mail your cams to:
Colorado Custom Hardware, Inc
ATTN: Brazing Recall
115 E. Lyon St
Laramie, WY 82072
If you are not sure if your cams are included in the recall, please contact us at
(307)721-9385.
We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and we are doing everything possible to correct it quickly. There will be a photograph on our web site to help to identify the cams that need to be returned. The Web site address: Aliencamsbycch.com
Sincerely,
Colorado Custom Hardware, Inc
115 E. Lyon St
Laramie, WY 82072


kappydane


Jan 12, 2006, 6:04 PM
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Just out of curiousity, is the " small center punch dimple " a part of the manufacturing process or a mark to note a specific person that brazed those cams? Did the good cams ever have the punch and then have it removed somewhere in the process? Basically, why would that punch have been put on selective cams?


jimfix


Jan 12, 2006, 6:13 PM
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In reply to:
Just out of curiousity, is the " small center punch dimple " a part of the manufacturing process or a mark to note a specific person that brazed those cams? Did the good cams ever have the punch and then have it removed somewhere in the process? Basically, why would that punch have been put on selective cams?

Other treads suggest that the cams in question were made by outsourced labour.

from other threads:

In reply to:
This would appear to be the only photo of a possible "defect dimple" (at the base of the bulb, not on the wire/brazing) available at the moment and it comes from the "Recall" thread.

http://eyecannon.com/aliendefect.jpg


Partner holdplease2


Jan 12, 2006, 7:00 PM
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You know what? I just bought a bunch of cams with this defect.

Based on my past experience with CCH, if I send the cams in I may never see it again. And how will I ever be able to prove I did and may never recieve a new cam in exchange.

Basically, I fell like I am out $200+. For probably a year, if not forever.

I want my money back. Not a two year wait list for a cam that I may never see again from a company that I cannot trust!

-Kate.


eastface87


Jan 12, 2006, 8:47 PM
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I received a call from Alpenglow http://www.alpenglowgear.com earlier today notifying me about the alien recall letting me know what to look for on the cam. They said they would take back Aliens from customers that had the dimple on them and put a picture on their website of it sometime today. They also said they have Aliens in stock that have been checked and would probably not be subject to the recall. I bought a bunch several weeks ago and only one has a dimple so I will send that back to them.

The way I see it, Aliens have held hundreds of falls and like someone above said cars sometimes have recalls but we don't stop driving them. Other very reputable companies have in the past, had gear failures and issued recalls. These cams give us some level of security where not much else will fit. I'll take that over nothing.


sumo


Jan 13, 2006, 1:40 AM
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http://www.aliencams.com/recall.html

Another pic of dimple


yetanotherdave


Jan 13, 2006, 7:48 AM
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In reply to:
What time frame were the defective aliens made?
from the cch post:
Testing has revealed that there was a brazing issue with
specific cams made after November 2004.


healyje


Jan 13, 2006, 8:42 AM
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This is a copy of an email sent to CCH today:
----------------------------------------------------

Regarding the CCH Brazing Recall Notice

Thank you for investigating the circumstances around the recent failed stem brazing on an orange Alien as reported on RockClimbing.com and for instituting a voluntary recall of cams specifically identified in your recall notice. That Brazing Recall notice covers cams produced from 11/04 thru 2005 that are identified as "marked with a small center punch dimple at the base of the round ball where the axle goes through the cable eye".

This recall by CCH is a very positive and productive step toward restoring the climbing community's faith and confidence in what we can all agree is a great product. However, there remains several important questions left unanswered by your recall notice. These questions relate to the several product defects observed during 2005 and to the issue of what product is actually affected. The remaining questions are:

Remaining Questions

Stem Braze Failure

1) Why were cams marked with a "center punch dimple"? What purpose did this mark serve?

2) An orange cam failure reported on RockClimbing.com sparked the investigation leading to this recall - was that cam marked with a "center punch dimple"?

3) MGear tested nine cams resulting in 3 stem brazing failures - were those 3 cams marked with the "center punch dimple"?

4) Has there been any reported or tested stem brazing failures of cams without the "center punch dimple"?

Mis-drilled Axle Holes

Some cams were produced with mis-drilled cam lobe axle holes that were assmebled into finished products and shipped to retailers. Below is a photo of a cam with this defect that was purchased at the REI in Bend, Oregon in December 2005. The photo notes where the axle hole center should be located to achieve CCH's 16 degree cam angle.

http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/...c2005_bend_alien.jpg

5) Do you know what product (dates, sizes, and type) were affected by this defect?

6) Is this erronous displacement of the axle hole from its designed location the same on all defective cams or does it vary from cam to cam?

7) Will you issue a seperate recall for this defect?


General Quality Comments

Again, I applaud both your products and your renewed efforts to address the defective stem brazing issue. But incidents in 2005 have raised legitimate concerns about what quality methods employed at CCH. Given the scope and scale of your business I for one certainly don't expect CCH to initiate an expensive, world-class quality initiative. But as climber that often trusts my life to the integrity of your products I nonetheless feel justified in expecting minimal but effective quality measures.

Simple Quality Tests

Three CCH cam defects were observed during 2005 - failed stem brazing, mis-drilled axle holes, and torn trigger sleeves. Defective trigger sleeves, while annoying, are unlikely to endanger a climbers life. Stem brazing and axle hole defects on the otherhand do represent a clear safety hazard. Each of these two defects could be largely eliminated from shipped products with the application of two simple quality checks.

Pull Testing

The bottom line is that after the events of 2005 climber confidence has been shaken. The Brazing Recall is a great first step to restoring confidence in your product but does not adequately address lingering doubts and suspicions still clearly evident in on-line discussions. Instituting pull testing of every finished cam prior to shipping would go a long, long way towards a total restoration of confidence in your product and company. Such testing would not be an overly expensive, technically difficult, or particularly onerous quality check to implement.

Cam Axle Hole Location Test

A set of aluminum plates/jigs could easily be machined with a negative cam lobe shape embedded in them that includes and axle stub. As cam lobes come of the CNC machine at the start of each run a sampled cam lobe from the run could simply be dropped into the appropriate jig and tested for proper axle hole location. This quality check would be cheap, simple, and inobtrusive to implement.


Summary

CCH provides unique and valued product to a fiercely loyal customer base and no one wants to see the loss of CCH or Aliens. I and others would, however, simply like to see CCH reflect that loyalty by providing solid products, simple and honest communication, and responsive customer service that acknowledges and responds to our ongoing needs as valued customers.

A response to these questions and comments would be very much appreciated.

Joseph Healy
Portland, Oregon


Partner tgreene


Jan 13, 2006, 9:10 AM
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In reply to:
Why should she be bothered with analities like "camalot", "camelot", "camming device", "alien", "friend", whatever. If girldrifter talks about Aliens, believe me she means Aliens.

--- LEVITY BREAK ---

Is it wrong that my alien friend came alot, with the help of a camming device..? :lol:


healyje


Jan 13, 2006, 9:30 AM
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RE: Letter To CCH

I just got off the phone with Dave at CCH after calling him to let him know about the above email. Though obviously very busy he did answer the phone and take some time to speak with me. He understandably probably can't fully respond to all of the above answers immediately and does not currently have all the information yet himself(like whether Kevin's orange cam that sparked all this or the 3 MGear cams that failed testing had the dimple marking). I let him know I'm not looking for an immediate response but rather would prefer he wait until he feels he can reasonably craft a response that addresses my[/our] concerns.

Dave expressed a clear understanding that there may be lingering questions and doubts not specifically addressed by the Brazing Recall notice and a sincere desire to address all those concerns. He definitely "gets it" that he has fiercely loyal customers that nevertheless still have some [legitimate] doubts about their cams.

I attempted to reiterate that I am one of those customers, use his products, and that I felt that every climbing gear manufacturer we have is "precious" and valued and absolutely no one wants to see him do anything but continue to make and sell the products that have built him a this vocal following.

So again, Dave said he would respond to the questions in my letter and we may all see his response at the same time, but if his response comes via email I will let everyone know at that time. So let's give him a some time to get on with this recall, do some more research, and get back to us.

Joseph Healy
Portland, Oregon


mgear_pres


Jan 13, 2006, 3:17 PM
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To answer the questions on the (9) Nine Alien cams Mountain Gear had tested:

All (3) Three that had failed brazes had dimples.

Please do not climb or let your friends climb on Aliens or Hybrid Aliens covered by the recall notice from CCH.

Paul


thatnameisalreadychosen


Jan 13, 2006, 11:02 PM
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i called mt.tools today to see what they are doing on their end - i have two hybrids i bought from them - one with the "DIMPLE OF DEATH" (lol) and they faxed over this letter from CCH:

"[CCH], 115 Lyon St. Laramie, WY 82072
Phone (307)721-9385 Fax (307) 721-9375

Since the report on Rock Climbing.com regarding a cable pullout on an orange Alien was posted, i have done extensive testing to determine if a problem does exist. I have found that there are faulty brazes on some cams. The cable eyes brazed by a contractor are marked with a small center punch dimple at the base of the round ball where the axle goes through the eye. Please return any Aliens with this mark to CCH for replacement. We apologize for this QA lapse and we are doing everything possible to correct the problem. Most units effected in this recall are 1.5, 2 and 2.5 but a smaller number of other sizes have also come from the contractor. CCH has always work[ed] hard to assure the absolute quality of every cam, so this revelation is very unfortunate.

Sincerely:
David Waggoner"

PLEASE GET THIS INFO TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS - POST IT IN GYMS, ETC.

Hopefully nobody gets hurt from all this

Props to the RC.com community!


healyje


Jan 15, 2006, 11:20 PM
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I got a quick response from Dave/CCH regarding the questions I emailed him. No doubt we will get a more comprehensive information once he has a chance to do a real post mortem but for now here are now the answers he sent:

------------------------------------------

Remaining Questions

Stem Braze Failure

1) Why were cams marked with a "center punch dimple"? What purpose did this mark serve?

CCH: "The centerpunch identified the company that made the braze."

2) An orange cam failure reported on RockClimbing.com sparked the investigation leading to this recall - was that cam marked with a "center punch dimple"?

CCH: "Yes."

3) MGear tested nine cams resulting in 3 stem brazing failures - were those 3 cams marked with the "center punch dimple"?

CCH: "Yes."

4) Has there been any reported or tested stem brazing failures of cams without the "center punch dimple"?

CCH: "No."


Mis-drilled Axle Holes


5) Do you know what product (dates, sizes, and type) were affected by this defect?

CCH: "0305 is the date associated with the axle hole issue. All the cams I have seen with the axle hole off are 0305. Perhaps it extends to 0405. It is not a safety concern according to tests I have made. They hold well in excess of 3000.

6) Is this erronous displacement of the axle hole from its designed location the same on all defective cams or does it vary from cam to cam?

HEALYJE: See #5.

7) Will you issue a seperate recall for this defect?

HEALYJE: See #5.

------------------------------------------

Dave followed up these answers with:

CCH: "I will keep you informed on this matter. I will be talking to more experts on brazing in the next few days - Dave"

I let Dave know I very much appreciated his quick response and again, I have no doubt we will hear more on the matter as information is available to CCH...

Joseph Healy
Portland, Oregon


healyje


Jan 16, 2006, 4:52 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
CCH: "The centerpunch identified the company that made the braze."

We still don't know is whether the punch is immanent to their production process (= guaranteed) or if it was made manually ( = can't be sure).

The "center punch dimple" is just that, a punch mark placed manually with a center punch by the subcontractor that did the brazing. They were specifically punched to identify those cams brazed by that third-party.

Also, please do not hold back from returning "dimpled" cams as it will only cause more confusion and hassle and drag this all out. Please return them immediately to the retailer you bought them from or to CCH so we can move past this unfortunate episode as quickly as possible.


healyje


Jan 16, 2006, 7:02 AM
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In reply to:
-Is the faulty braze due to utter incompetence (ie was somebody stoned) or was it something more "understandable" like a faulty temp gauge on a welder or mislabeled brazing material?

Not known at this time.

In reply to:
-Is there any other way, other than the dimple, to trace the suspect cams back to the outside agent who assembled them?

No - the "center punch dimple" is the sole means of identifying an Alien subject to the CCH Brazing recall.

In reply to:
-Will this same contractor still be used by CCH? Also, how long has CCH been employing this particular contractor.

a) Not known at this time. b) Most likely since the starting date of the recall.

In reply to:
-Why weren't (or was there) at least a sampling of the cams that were assembled by this outside agent tested to failure?

Not known at this time. At this point point in time we do not have specifics about CCH's past or present quality processes.

In reply to:
-Has CCH always outsourced their cams?

A point of clarification, CCH has not "outsourced [the production of] their cams" - we only know for sure they outsourced some head brazing.

I do not believe they have always outsourced a portion of the brazing, but that is not known for sure at this time.


Again, I'm sure Dave and CCH will get back to us with more information once he can finish getting his arms around it all and find the time to do a post-mortem on it all...


piton


Jan 16, 2006, 9:12 AM
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In reply to:
I know it's been only 4 or so days since CCH posted their recall notice here on rc.com. So I DON'T expect these questions to have answers yet, but they are on my mind so I thought get them out there.

1-Is the faulty braze due to utter incompetence (ie was somebody stoned) or was it something more "understandable" like a faulty temp gauge on a welder or mislabeled brazing material?

2-Is there any other way, other than the dimple, to trace the suspect cams back to the outside agent who assembled them?

3-Will this same contractor still be used by CCH? Also, how long has CCH been employing this particular contractor.

4-Why weren't (or was there) at least a sampling of the cams that were assembled by this outside agent tested to failure?

5-Has CCH always outsourced their cams?

cl

just to answers your question.

1. the subcontractor was Quinch the braze joints after braze heating. what quinching does is to harden materilas by sticking the red hot part in a water or oil solution to rapidly cool the part. this usually used for forging car parts.
You never want to quinch braze joints for that it causes the materials to cool at different times and temperture and the braze Will Not adhere to the parts being brazed to.

i guess he took it upon himself to do the quinch, with out the braze joint to air cool.

2. the dimple is a simple hardness tester, that identifies the subcontractor work. you can also put you cams in a vice and have a couple of buddies pull

3.-----------
4.----------
5.-----------


healyje


Jan 16, 2006, 10:41 AM
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Piton's source is one I consider reliable...


billl7


Jan 17, 2006, 7:52 AM
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Just a note to note that the web-postings of the recall appear to be straightened out:
AlienCamsbyCCH.com
AlienCams.com

Bill


bobruef


Jan 17, 2006, 8:01 AM
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In reply to:
Technical Documentation
CCH is committed to answering all of your questions concerning this recall, regardless of how technical or specific. We are currently working to provide documentation explaining the reasons behind the recall and what steps we have taken to improve our already stringent quality control measures. Please check back regularly for updates.


healyje


Jan 17, 2006, 8:08 AM
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Thanks much to both Sumner (AlienCams.com) and Dave / CCH for updating their respective websites and in CCH's case correcting their contact email address. Both actions will help alleviate a bit of the confusion we been encountering around the issues at hand. Also thanks for the word that updates on the recall status and quality processes will be posted to CCH's site as more information becomes available...


healyje


Jan 17, 2006, 8:40 AM
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In reply to:
I just wanted to say thank you to every one who has positively contributed to this issue. Thank you for raising your voices and asking for answers. And I especially want to thank Paul of Mountain Gear and Mal for taking me seriously.

And finally, thank you Dave for issuing the recall.

Through all of us, I firmly believe that we prevented someone from getting hurt or killed.

Now, everyone should let Dave work and we should go out and do what we enjoy most. Climbing.

Thanks again,

Kevin

Kevin, thanks so much for checking back in with us. I was beginning to wonder if after not losing you in the fall that we'd lost you on-line. Glad that isn't the case! We all owe you many thanks for you original posting and for staying calm in the intitial hours and days of this whole affair. It could have gone much differently but it didn't in part because you kept your cool. Thanks again...

Joseph


Partner philbox
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Jan 20, 2006, 4:07 PM
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I have split off all comment and opinion from this thread. This thread is only for newsworthy developments. Please direct all opinion and comments to this thread......... I am about to lock this thread.

Please PM me to open the thread for submitting any new developments. Please feel free to make further comment and express your opinions in the above linked thread.

This change will ensure that the extremely news worthy items are not drowned out by 30 pages of comment. It also ensures that all posts are kept for historical research purposes in one place.

Just so we have all the links in place I am also including a link to the Mountain Gear testing thread in gear heads forum. Aliens Testing results by Mountain Gear

I`ll link again to the thread that you need to post to for opinion and comment so there is no doubt where to post to. Orange Alien CCH thread in gear heads forum.


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Jan 20, 2006, 4:07 PM
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