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PCB-Sept2017

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14 The PCB Magazine • September 2017 inspection group. Resolving non-compliant is- sues is always the task of the process engineer- ing team. Engineering categorizes the defect, gives it an assignable cause, and institutes cor- rective action. This activity becomes critical if any defective parts slip through final inspection and ends up at the customer. Assignable cause is documented and corrective action is institut- ed, to assure the customer that future parts will be compliant. It is an important part of doing business. Maintaining control of the process(es) for reproducibility, to ensure that the specified quality of the end product is met, remains the number one objective of the engineering de- partment. The PE is always aware of process cost. Engineering tracks the cost of setup time, down time and consumables in a continuous effort to eliminate waste. There is a constant ef- fort to improve productivity without impacting the process cost. The PE generates a cost analy- sis any time there is a process change or a new process introduction. Process engineering takes center stage when a new process or a process change is indicated. Engineering gets involved from the start in de- fining the process and selecting the supplier or vendor. Here the PE may create a test vehicle that would be sent to the respective suppliers, to demonstrate the capability of their process. Upon return, the PE assesses the quality of the product and calculates the cost of process. In addition, in-house testing of the process may be performed, or the PE may visit a facility using the process/equipment to evaluate it there. The PE then submits a report to management and purchasing for a final selection. Engineering keeps track of the equipment manufacturer and scheduling. Eventually the equipment acceptance at the manufacturing site is done by engineering. Once the equipment/ process is delivered, engineering has the major task of coordinating the role of the vendor and the maintenance department. The objective is to ensure that in house maintenance can take ownership of the maintenance of the tool. A qualification plan is then put in place, to evaluate the tool capability and that it will meet its intended use. This includes the design- ing and manufacturing of a test vehicle that will yield information on the process capabilities and its operating window. Reproducibility, re- peatability and maintainability are established and documented. Process capability is then communicated to management and sales. Engineering then takes on training of all involved, this includes the manufacturing su- pervisor, and operators across all shifts as well as lab personnel. Vendors support during train- ing is planned and coordinated by engineering. Training is a continuous process to ensure that the information has been properly communi- cated, also for any new personnel. Process documentation may include pre- ventative maintenance procedures, a reaction plan, and troubleshooting guides, etc. Once the process is set up, specified and is being mea- sured, the process engineer's job moves to re- ducing any variation that occurs in the process, the goal of which is to improve the process Cpk and become Six Sigma capable. Lastly, and over time, the process engineer's job is to develop a failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) for the process. Engineering is well versed on industry specifications; they ensure that the product meets specification and are a resource for the shop when issues of specification interpretation arise. Quoting Roxanne Hupp, engineering man- ager at Henkel, "The best skill for process en- gineers is one of systematic problem solving. I encourage new graduates to delve into Lean Six Sigma problem solving techniques. Process engineers should be flexible because projects THE VALUE OF PROCESS ENGINEERING IN PCB MANUFACTURING " Maintaining control of the process(es) for reproducibility, to ensure that the specified quality of the end product is met, remains the number one objective of the engineering department. "

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