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74 SMT007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 While implementing a digital factory for assembly will help predict measurables like cost and throughput, can you also rely on that data to predict your product reliability? Admit- tedly, I am not an expert on the implemen- tation of a digital factory, so if you decide to move onto the next article, my feelings will not be hurt. I know that w o r d s a n d phrases like 3D motion simula- tion, integration, and virtual mod- els are used, but I honestly don't have a clue what t h e m e a n i n g o f those words are in this context. Please don't hire me to help you with your digi- tal factory implemen- tation. I mean, it's your money, and I'll prob- ably take the job, but I can guarantee we will both regret that decision. The good news is that I do have quite a bit of experience with reliability, so let's stick with that for now. I have seen more than a few factories make the move to use more and more automation that has indeed improved production numbers but has done very little to address cleanliness and reliability. If you are building a thousand pieces per hour of reliable products, that is a good thing. However, and you knew the but was coming, if you have an unknown issue in your process, and it goes undetected because you are solely relying on your system, you might be producing a thousand failures per hour. If this is the case, you might be lucky enough to catch the product while it is still in-house and direct it to quarantine for disposition—that is, if you are lucky enough to catch the problem before it heads out to its next destination. To help reduce the risk of producing a questionably reli- able product, I am going to take this opportunity to pretty much completely disregard this month's topic and offer up a few easy steps you can take to reduce that risk. Remember, what I know about implementing a digital factory Improving Reliability for Free Quest for Reliability by Eric Camden, FORESITE INC.

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