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72 PCB007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2018 A popular definition of reliability is "The quality of being trustworthy or of perform- ing consistently well." Upfront engineering is of utmost importance in developing a design that will endure its intended life cycle. On the other hand, the manufacturing of that design is just as critical. Both processes go hand in hand and are equally as important. As a PCB manufacturer and a PCBA assembler, I take a look this month into some of the critical ar- eas of manufacturing that play a role in deter- mining a reliable product. There are four spe- cific areas—quality suppliers, SPC, in-process verification and testing, and preventive main- tenance—that will help increase the reliability of end user electronic parts (Figure 1). Quality suppliers are the backbone of any manufacturer to achieve continuous reliability. End-user reliability often starts with its man- ufacturer's suppliers when it comes to quali- ty, on time delivery of raw materials, defect- free materials, technical support, and respon- siveness to issues. Sub-par materials or coun- terfeit parts will adversely affect reliability and must be safe-guarded by continually assessing your supply chain. Monitoring and measuring suppliers is a necessity to maintain consisten- cy and quality control within the process flow. Suppliers need to be monitored through the Key Performance Indicators that are most criti- cal to manufacturing, and they need to be pe- riodically reviewed to ensure each supplier is performing to specific quality standards. The electronics industry is constantly chang- ing, with trends toward smaller parts and new materials. This creates a possible need to add new suppliers to your approved supplier list. In saying that, it's imperative that they go through an assessment. This assessment may consist of a standard audit survey, onsite au- dit, or meet a specific certification such as ISO, AS9100, MIL-Spec, etc., which will identi- Factors of Reliability The Sum of All Parts Feature Column by Sam Sangani, PNC INC. Figure 1: Critical areas for determining a reliable product.

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