Features Articles

Martin WickhamThe wrong tool, or wrong procedures, is typically to blame.

Crimping is a reliable process, provided design and process engineers follow the crimp supplier’s guidelines on crimp wire capacity and the crimp tool settings. Both of these points would have prevented these horror stories. In recent years, good inspection and in-process control of the wire and cable preparation has been enhanced with the launch of IPC/WHMA-620, “Requirements and Acceptance for Cable and Wire Harness Assemblies.”

From discussions with those responsible for calibration, certification and approval of crimping, it is easy to see what can go wrong. When correct procedures are followed, crimps are extremely reliable, but when production does not want to buy the right tools, calibrate equipment or train staff, it can go wrong. Big time.

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Sue MuchaWays to resolve management variances across multisite operations.

One of the trends I’m continuing to see grow across the electronics manufacturing services industry is greater OEM focus on strategic use of multisite EMS facilities to maintain proximity with their facility structure or end-markets. Higher volume industries such as automotive and appliance have long dictated where their products would be built and sought EMS providers with facilities in the locations near their operations or distribution points. However, companies with much smaller volumes are also now looking at EMS facility site proximity to their operations. This can create an interesting challenge with smaller EMS providers.

Tier 1 EMS providers have done an excellent job of integrating their operations globally from a systems and process perspective. However, that is not necessarily true of multinational EMS providers in the lower tiers. Many in that category have grown by acquisition and have not standardized equipment and processes among facilities. Program management structures and processes may also differ.

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Mike BuetowSince man first walked, he has been scouring the skies for understanding of how he came to be. Big events are bound to enhance our learning, but capturing those moments and making sense of them is never a simple task. In August came one of those big moments astronomers had been waiting a lifetime to witness: the collision of two neutron stars.

While the cosmic event answered questions astrophysicists had long been contemplating, it also opened a new world of questions. The answers to at least some of those questions are buried in mountains of digital data that could take years to sort through.

A similar situation is unfolding in factories worldwide. We no longer look at machines in isolation, nor do the machines themselves act independently. Systems designed to check the work of other machines on the line are proliferating. Those machines generate immeasurable amounts of data, some of which are used to independently resolve ongoing or potential processing “events,” big and small. But the capture of all these data threatens to bury already overworked engineers.  

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Peter BigelowSuccess comes not from the name of an efficiency plan, but its execution.

Business acronyms come and business acronyms go, and usually those acronyms are a snappy way to make an otherwise mundane business initiative sound exciting and new. Today the rage is FOD, which is short for foreign object debris (or if you are in the military, foreign object damage).

In the 1970s the acronym that every self-respecting corporate executive proudly promoted was “JIT,” as in just in time. JIT is basically doing what everyone was always trying to do anyway, but utilizing computer-generated data instead of less accurate, more intuition-based means. Adopting JIT systems and procedures was touted as the surefire way to improve customer service, an organized method to reduce lead times and improve on-time delivery. By touting JIT, you showed you were a progressive manager.

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John BornemanWhen you ask for Cp (or Cpk), are you really getting Pp (or Ppk)?

OK, I admit it: I was trying to be funny in the title. But the issue is how capable is a capability study? Or, to state it another way: When should we be careful in how much we trust our capability study results?

Here are three items we should be aware of when designing, running and calculating a capability study:



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With understencil cleaning now a more frequent part of the print process, quickness really counts.

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