White Papers

"Implementing 5S Workplace Organization Methodology Programs in Manufacturing Facilities"

by Lista International

Many manufacturing facilities have opted to follow the path towards a “5S” workplace organizational and housekeeping methodology as part of continuous improvement or lean manufacturing processes. 5S is a system to reduce waste and optimize productivity through maintaining an orderly workplace and using visual cues to achieve more consistent operational results.

The term refers to five steps – sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain – that are also sometimes known as the 5 pillars of a visual workplace. 5S programs are usually implemented by small teams working together to get materials closer to operations, right at workers’ fingertips and organized and labeled to facilitate operations with the smallest amount of wasted time and materials.

"FPGA-Controlled Test (FCT): What It Is and Why It Is Needed"

By Al Couch, Asset InterTech chief technologist for core instrumentation

This white paper describes a new method for validating, testing and debugging circuit boards by embedding a board-tester-in-a-chip. The method, known as FPGA-controlled test (FCT), involves the automatic insertion of multiple embedded instruments into a field programmable gate array (FPGA) to function as a board tester. The embedded board tester is then operated from an intuitive drag-and-drop graphical user interface.

The board-tester-in-a-chip does not require a dedicated FPGA. The inserted tester can be easily removed once it has completed its tasks and reinserted later if needed again. Or, some or all of the tester may remain embedded in the system throughout its life cycle.

Because of significantly escalating gate densities, FPGAs are an effective platform for embedded test and measurement functionality at a time when legacy external probe-based equipment like oscilloscope and in-circuit test (ICT) systems are providing less and less test coverage. Faster speeds and greater complexities have increased the electrical sensitivities of chips and boards to the point where a physical probe will not provide adequate test coverage or reliable results.



The number one cause of downtime on SMT lines is related to material, as either a shortage or a logistical misstep that fails to place the right quantity of the right material at the right location at the right time. From a business perspective, the downtime caused by material problems is often the largest unplanned cost in the manufacturing operation. This paper will review many factors that contribute to the fundamental issue behind the chaos of material related downtime: inventory inaccuracy, and the steps needed to resolve this crucial problem.

The new RoHS Directive became law on July 21, 2011.

Among the highlights: The revised directive adds no new restricted substances, and contains nine exclusion categories: military, space, transportation (trains, planes, autos), fixed installation, large industrial tools, off-road machinery (i.e., bulldozers), implantable devices, solar panels, and R&D equipment. Medical and monitoring/control equipment have three years to comply, in-vitro medical has five years, and industrial monitoring/control has six years. Exemptions will end in five to seven years for telecom and high lead products. Larger companies must go beyond certificates of compliance, and EU importers are now also liable.

"Executives’ Perspectives on Manufacturing Near-Shoring"

by Russell Dillon, AlixPartners

Abstract: Amid rising wages in Asian countries, rising fuel costs, and extended supply chain risks, companies that sell into the US market are actively considering near-shoring. This study of 80 C-level executives finds that Mexico has emerged as the top choice among companies considering relocating their already offshored operations closer to home. Though security risks are a clear concern among respondents, relatively few have actually experienced supply chain disruption in Mexico. Moreover, executives appear moderately optimistic about the future of the country’s security problems; 50% expect at least modest improvement in safety and security issues.

Published July 2011.

New Trends in Counterfeit Components

Over the past several years the electronics industry has seen a marked increase in the prevalence of counterfeit electronic components. Counterfeiters have attacked every commodity of electronics, from simple components such as capacitors, to complex integrated circuits such as microprocessors. Inexpensive commercial devices, as well as high cost military components, have seen counterfeiting. Today the problem continues with no indication of improvement. Today’s counterfeit components are demonstrating that the counterfeiters are continuing to improve their techniques.

There are as many types of counterfeit devices as there are counterfeiters in the world. To help explain the issue and to manage the associated risks, one suggested method is to divide counterfeit parts into two major categories; non-functional counterfeits and functional counterfeits.

Author: Integra Technologies




CyberSpace Policy Review: Assuring a Trusted and Resilient Information and Communications Infrastructure

Cyberspace provides a platform for innovation and prosperity and the means to improve general welfare around the globe. But with the broad reach of a loose and lightly regulated digital infrastructure, great risks threaten nations, private enterprises, and individual rights. The government has a responsibility to address these strategic vulnerabilities to ensure that the United States and its citizens, together with the larger community of nations, can realize the full potential of the information technology revolution.

The architecture of the Nation’s digital infrastructure, based largely upon the Internet, is not secure or resilient. Without major advances in the security of these systems or significant change in how they are constructed or operated, it is doubtful that the United States can protect itself from the growing threat of cybercrime and state-sponsored intrusions and operations. Our digital infrastructure has already suffered intrusions that have allowed criminals to steal hundreds of millions of dollars and nation-states and other entities to steal intellectual property and sensitive military information. Other intrusions threaten to damage portions of our critical infrastructure. These and other risks have the potential to undermine the Nation’s confidence in the information systems that underlie our economic and national security interests.

The Federal government is not organized to address this growing problem effectively now or in the future. Responsibilities for cybersecurity are distributed across a wide array of federal departments and agencies, many with overlapping authorities, and none with sufficient decision authority to direct actions that deal with often conflicting issues in a consistent way. The government needs to integrate competing interests to derive a holistic vision and plan to address the cybersecurity-related issues confronting the United States. The Nation needs to develop the policies, processes, people, and technology required to mitigate cybersecurity-related risks.

Information and communications networks are largely owned and operated by the private sector, both nationally and internationally. Thus, addressing network security issues requires a public-private partnership as well as international cooperation and norms. The United States needs a comprehensive framework to ensure coordinated response and recovery by the government, the private sector, and our allies to a significant incident or threat.

The United States needs to conduct a national dialogue on cybersecurity to develop more public awareness of the threat and risks and to ensure an integrated approach toward the Nation’s need for security and the national commitment to privacy rights and civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and law.
Research on new approaches to achieving security and resiliency in information and communications infrastructures is insufficient. The government needs to increase investment in research that will help address cybersecurity vulnerabilities while also meeting our economic needs and national security requirements.

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