JHU/APL Case Study

BIRNS Responds to Emergency for Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory with Two Custom-Fabricated Cable Assemblies

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) is a not-for-profit center for engineering, research and development in the northeast.  A division of one of the world’s premier research universities, JHU/APL was organized to develop critical World War II technology in 1942. Today, the organization contributes to more than 600 key research and space programs that protect the U.S.

BIRNS, Inc., partnered with JHU/APL from 2000 to 2005, providing a wide range of custom molded cables and oil-filled cable assemblies, with an average lead time of a mere 4.4 weeks – and zero late deliveries.  Between 2003 and 2005, the BIRNS team had shortened even that impressive record to still include 100% on-time shipping at an average 0.9 weeks’ (4.5 days) lead time.


On Saturday, July 12, 2003 at 7:18pm EST, a JHU/APL program manager sent BIRNS an emergency email requesting immediate action to supply a D-W100-1A Y-cable assembly and a D-W100-2 “Long” cable assembly that included BIRNS Millennium connectors and Type 1 outboard plugs (MIL-C-24231).  Their need was critical − a time-sensitive program that included complex outboard sensing devices on military submarines.  The information was sent over the weekend, during non-business hours, with the hope that BIRNS could deliver the seemingly impossible, and provide the complex order within an incredibly tight lead time.


BIRNS received the email on Sunday, July 13 at 6:00am PST. An hour later, at  7:01 am, BIRNS was in telephonic communication with JHU/APL personnel.  Five hours later, BIRNS factory personnel had mobilized and were at work on the JHU/APL requirement.
Two days later (Tuesday, July 15), by 11:26am PST, BIRNS had procured and received special cable stock; successfully reclaimed DGO connectors from returned cable assemblies; re-terminated the DGO connectors and M24231 (Portsmouth) connectors onto the new cable stock, verified the electrical connections, and mechanically reinforced the terminated wires; completed the cable jacket preparation (abraded, mechanically cleaned, chemically cleaned, primed, and oven-treated); and had performed first-stage overmolding on all applicable locations on both cables, and some of the second-stage overmolding.

By 1:00pm PST, BIRNS had completed the second-stage overmolding on both cables, and prepared for electrical and hydrostatic pressure testing. BIRNS performed electrical testing, hydrostatic pressure testing, and post-hydro electrical testing, and shipped the completed cable assemblies via same-day courier service.


On Tuesday, July 15, at approximately 10:00pm LT, the two completed custom-fabricated cable assemblies arrived to the JHU/APL jobsite – a mere 64 real-time hours after the “emergency” email was first received.

A JHU/APL program manager responded to BIRNS with the following:  “Your ability to deliver these cables within the requested time has been critical to our ability to keep this project going, and I seriously doubt that we would have been able to keep our schedule through other vendors we’ve used in the past.”

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