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PCB-Aug2017

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90 The PCB Magazine • August 2017 Who knew that a phrase from a decades- old popular board game could have some rel- evance in today's ever-changing world? In the game of Clue, simply put, evidence is collected and then used to solve a mystery. In my world, testing is performed to gather data/results (ev- idence) and then this information is used to determine the root cause of some issue that is under investigation (solving the mystery). The recommendations made as a result of a failure analysis investigation commonly lead back to some step along the manufacturing process that now needs to be scrutinized and evaluated and then possibly improved and/or changed. To ef- fectively do this, having information from the steps in that process (evidence, again) is a key component of the potential solution. This lat- ter idea is the main subject of this month's col- umn, or in a simpler way, how traceable is your process? When a manufacturing process is humming along, widgets whizz through many pieces of equipment and through many sets of hands un- til they eventually find their purpose out in the real world. Initial loading, component popula- tion, reflow, hand soldering stations, installa- tion into a housing, cabling, functional checks, and potentially many, many more operations… are just some of the steps that a widget might be exposed to during its manufacturing. The pro- cess, by its nature, requires a myriad of steps, one potentially very different from the next. Some steps are likely to be very repetitive in na- ture and very repeatable in execution from lot to lot, while others, maybe not so much. Regardless of the operation being performed and whether it's heavily automated or not, hav- ing traceability of each individual step through the process as a whole is vitally important. Knowing who did it, when they did it, what Professor Plum in the Library with the Candlestick…Right? LET'S TALK TESTING by Keith M. Sellers NTS-BALTIMORE

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