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104 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2019 This month's topic is smart factories, and this means it is not just because machines share data but because a company designed their smart factory and how the data usage was planned to enable them to do something unique like producing a single-panel lot size in a hands-off manufacturing environ- ment. That sounds like a mouth- ful, and it is, but the gist is that when you plan a production fa- cility with the mindset that con- nectivity and optimization will be key aspects of your operation, it will pay dividends in the form of lower production cost, better traceability, and higher reliabil- ity. Okay, so that wasn't any less of a mouthful, but it did help elabo- rate the point. When I look at a smart fac- tory in the view of producing a quality product, I look at all the ed- ucation and due diligence required. This is what I am looking for to determine if a facility is a smart fac- tory or not. Starting with the receiv- ing dock all the way to final packaging, every process step is an oppor- tunity to contaminate the final product. Con- veying this information to everyone in produc- tion starts at the top of the quality department and should be part of an overall focus on reli- ability. Too many times I do process audits at contract manufacturers, and there are a lot of "box checkers" that are doing the bare mini- mum regarding cleanliness. Many times, that is exactly what is spelled out on the print, and in the end, you get what you ask for—nothing. That means they are building product that is shippable and not much more than that. That isn't smart; it's quite the opposite. I've said it a million times, and I'll say it at least one more time that the cost of failure is always higher than doing it right the first time. Having driven my point thor- oughly into the ground, let's look at the assembly pro- cess steps and what to be on the lookout for. This isn't a fully comprehensive list, but it's certainly enough to help clean up a lot of what is going on out there. Trust me, I've seen a few good processes, but I've also seen a lot of ter- rible processes—a lot. Incoming receiving and storage may seem like a fairly sterile area since there aren't any chemicals being used or boards being handled or parts that aren't in some type of packaging. The How Smart Is Your Factory? Quest for Reliability Feature Column by Eric Camden, FORESITE INC. 104 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2019

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