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18 SMT007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2020 overcome some CM shortfalls, knowing there is room for improvement. A member of IPC, we adhere to IPC stan- dard protocols for bare board fabrication but rely on AOI technology and light table visu- als vs. electrical testing to inspect for indents, opens, trace shorts, and other potential board defects before the board moves on to assem- bly. For bare-board-only customers requiring higher levels of inspection, we currently use a third-party service to validate the work until we have our own internal electrical testing pro- cess in place. Where we might lag in some areas, how- ever, we make up for in others by adhering to tight tolerances, to ensure the highest quality standards are maintained. We have been in the business of fabricating and assembling PCBs for over 36 years, and we leverage statistical data to be proactive in areas like equipment maintenance to help it maintain a nearly 99% overall (entire production) first-pass yield. Quoting W. Edwards Deming, Smith notes that "without data, you're just another person with an opinion." It's through the application of data compiled that we strive to achieve the Quality Starts With the Design Feature by Kevin Jobsky ICM CONTROLS CORPORATION "Quality starts with the design." That is one of the favorite sayings of Brian Smith, a qual- ity manager at ICM Controls. Truth be told, it is the mantra of many quality managers from every industry throughout the world. Still, Smith and his peers would all be out of jobs if all product designs proved flawless right out of the gate and moved smoothly throughout the entire manufacturing process. Quality control has an additional set of chal- lenges. Previously a "captive shop" only, where its primary customer was itself or involved the manufacturing of custom turn-key OEM prod- ucts that were designed in-house, we opened our doors earlier this year to contract manu- facturing work in an effort to help other manu- facturers struggling with disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are a U.S.-based, ISO-certified manu- facturer of electronic controls. In committing to CM work, we knew that we would need to rely heavily on tight statistical process control (SPC) up front to help make the transition and Brian Smith

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