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36 SMT Magazine • October 2017 There is an imminent, critical challenge fac- ing every manufacturer in the industry. The rise in the ingress of counterfeit materials into the supply chain has made them prolific, though yet, the extent is understated. What needs to be faced now is the need for incoming inspection, but at what cost to industry, and does anyone remember how to do it? Going back 20 years, the incoming inspec- tion of materials was common throughout the electronics assembly industry. At that time, component material and production technol- ogies were relatively new, with sizes begin- ning to diminish, led by design pressure, which gave rise to what we would now regard as fre- quent failures. Having to repair or replace cir- cuit boards after assembly, or later once assem- bled on the main production lines, was a very expensive challenge. I saw numerous cases of production lines where epidemic rates of ma- terial-related quality issues had been detected, and it was decided to simply remove the de- fective products from the line so that the line could continue while the products were being re-worked. Unfortunately, the re-work rate was often longer than the rate at which defects were discovered, resulting in significant stock-piles. Once, to compound the problem, visitors were due to be touring the plant the next day. Local companies selling very large black sheets saw their sales sky-rocket, as defective products in the factory were hidden in every place conceiv- able. The situation was not a one-off. This was daily life at so many manufacturing sites back in the "wild West" days. To be fair, faulty ma- terials were not the only contributor to defect rates that were so bad, a quality manager to- day wouldn't allow the factory to produce a sin- gle thing. Assembly processes, especially SMT, by Michael Ford AEGIS SOFTWARE Counterfeit: A Quality Conundrum ACCELERATING TECH—INSIGHTS FROM THE SMARTER FACTORY

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