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26 The PCB Magazine • September 2017 Process Improvement When you set out to improve a process, what should your goal be? You always want greater efficiency and higher yield, but you also want latitude and safety. You want to set up pa- rameters and operating conditions so that you can make a multitude of different PCB designs and not have to worry about it. The same is true for the chemical variations, or if it's mainly run time variations, such that the output is not go- ing to be affected by these variations. If you have a very "exacting" process, then it's easy to fall off the peak. This is illustrated in Figure 9 with various process latitudes. Conclusion Process engineering is an exciting voca- tion, and for printed circuits, a necessary one. The electronics industry is the world's largest industry and shows no signs of slowing down or maturing. Components will always need a platform, and currently that is the rigid or flex printed circuit. It has been exciting for me for 45 years and will continue to be for at least an- other 45 years. The only constant we can de- pend on is change! PCB I-Connect007 will be publishing e-books on au- tomation and automation planning for the process engineer. Look for these to be coming soon to the I-Connect007 website! References 1. Happy's Essential Skills: the Need for To- tal Quality Control (Six Sigma and Statistical Tools): Part 1. 2. Happy's Essential Skills: Tip of the Month—The NIST/SEMETECH e-Handbook of Statistical Methods. 3. Happy's Essential Skills: Understanding Predictive Engineering. 4. Happy's Essential Skills: Metrics and Di- mensional Analysis. 5. Hewlett-Packard Journal, August, 1983, pp. 3-25. Happy Holden has worked in printed circuit technology since 1970 with Hewlett-Packard, NanYa/Westwood, Merix, Fox- conn and Gentex. He is currently a contributing editor with I-Connect007. To read past columns or to contact Holden, click here. PCB PROCESS ENGINEERING: DETAILS FROM ONE OF THE ORIGINALS Figure 9: The better the process latitude then the better the yield responds to varying design running through a process. What is wanted is the "expert" process that is much better than a "typical" process and certainly not the "out-of-control" process.

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