Features Articles

Peter BigelowThe HKPCA Show revealed just how far robotics for the PCB shop has come.

Industry exhibitions never disappoint, and during the last couple months of 2017 two of the biggest ones took place. Seeing the multitude of options that other parts of the world have in the way of equipment, materials and supplies is always staggering. I am always amazed how many suppliers of drill bits and drilling machines exist – matched only by the number of suppliers of via fill chemistries and paste.

Equally impressive is seeing what’s new. These days the really groundbreaking concepts, equipment and materials seem to be first launched anywhere but in North America, more often than not in Asia. While walking the aisles of the HKPCA Show in December and drooling over the multitude of opportunities to invest the capital dollars I wish I had, on equipment not available back home, I observed some interesting and definitely new equipment that was being described in a decidedly old way as robotics.

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Fernando Ruiz

APQP techniques for identifying and eliminating bottlenecks.

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Martin WickhamThese process indicators on QFNs could suggest maintenance is needed.

The image in FIGURE 1 shows tin plating slivers on the body of a QFN component. During introduction, we have experienced slivers between the terminations by as much as 50%. FIGURE 2 shows burrs on the terminations, which are not uncommon but are again an indication of poor manufacturing quality control.

 

 

 

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Peter BigelowThe HKPCA Show revealed just how far robotics for the PCB shop has come.

Industry exhibitions never disappoint, and during the last couple of months of 2017 two of the biggest ones took place. Seeing the multitude of options that other parts of the world have in the way of equipment, materials and supplies is always staggering. I am always amazed how many suppliers of drill bits and drilling machines exist – matched only by the number of suppliers of via fill chemistries and paste.

Equally impressive is seeing what’s new. These days the really groundbreaking concepts, equipment and materials seem to be first launched anywhere but in North America, more often than not in Asia. While walking the aisles of the HKPCA Show in December and drooling over the multitude of opportunities to invest the capital dollars I wish I had, on equipment not available back home, I observed some interesting and definitely new equipment that was being described in a decidedly old way as robotics.

Read more ...

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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