SMT007 Magazine

SMT-Jan2016

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56 SMT Magazine • January 2016 Goldman: Are your goals, besides education, to get more and more people involved in this? Borkes: Yes. It turns out what we've done for the last five or six years really drills down into this issue about how to compete if you're in a high labor rate market. In other words, if you're in the United States you can pick up any newspaper and see the amount of manu- facturing jobs that have been lost to low labor- rate markets. It bothered me to hear and see that happen. What I tried to do was study in detail what the actual facts were surrounding this exodus of manufacturing jobs. It turns out you find that there is another way to reduce labor costs, other than just finding sources of low labor rate workers - and that is by reduc - ing labor content. You do that through auto- mation. Now, it sounds easy and obvious and I can give you examples. It is easy to pontificate about, but implementing is another story. In fact, the paper that I'm here to present this week addresses some important aspects of automa- tion, because you find that it's not enough to simply buy hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment like we see here on the show floor. If you don't have a workforce that can be success- ful in developing statistically capable processes and successful in maintaining those processes during a production run, you will fail. You will end up with a lot of products that have to be re- worked. That rework consists of applying your high labor rate to troubleshooting, reworking, repairing, and then retesting a significant per- centage of each product. Goldman: You've also screwed up your cycle time and everything else. Borkes: Absolutely. It occurred to me that we used to be very happy with 91% first pass in- circuit testing, but that when you think about it another way of saying this is nine out of ev- ery 100 things we build have defects. You can't do that and survive. Back in the '70s, and I talk about this in the paper, you could get away with that because there weren't those low labor rate sources where you could throw labor at the product. Goldman: people were more careless about im- proving because they didn't have to. Borkes: It started in the automobile business when Dr. Deming was shunned by Detroit and he ended up creating a manufacturing jugger- naut in Japan. Goldman: Yes, i remember that. Borkes: Successful automation and overhead re- duction are the high labor rate answers for the labor slices of the cost pie – but, there are more slices. Material cost disparity and the relative uncontrollable costs of the manufacturing "en- vironment" are important cost contributors, as well. There are papers we have written on all of these that are available on our website. Howev- er, this paper and our discussion are on automa- tion. There are a number of aspects that have to be addressed to do what I call 'exploit the auto- mation.' What I mean is, use the automation in a way that results in instead of 90–91% yields, 99.5% and above. You have to have people with the educational background and experience to be able to take this very expensive, leading edge equipment and develop programs for it and make sure that the machine and equipment turns out products that have those very high assembly yields. Goldman: Yes, because they can also turn out a lot of bad stuff very fast. Borkes: That's right. Coming full circle now, we've come back to one of the prime motiva- tional factors for the school: to create a world- class electronic product assembly workforce for high labor rate markets to successfully employ the automation. Automation is a great counter- weight to low cost labor, but you have to, again, be able to exploit it in a way that results in high yields. To do that, you need a world-class work- force. That's one element of being successful at competing in a high labor rate market, to have a workforce that has the talent and the skill sets that allow that to be done. This workforce is not one to be purchased for a minimum wage labor rate. Unfortunately, this has been high labor rate management's traditional strategy to compete. FEATurE inTErViEw THE JEFFErSOn PrOJECT

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