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24 PCB007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2021 Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Staff Nolan Johnson and Barry Matties talk with Matt Mack, a process engineer at ICM Con- trols. Matt shares how he's driving down cost through continuous improvement. He also discusses planning for the future with automa- tion and AI. Matt started with ICM Controls in 2019. Prior, he worked at Whelen Engineering (now GreenSource Fabrication) for about five years. His career in the PCB industry began at Sanmina. Nolan Johnson: We're interested in learning about your approach to process engineering. What's your thinking for identifying processes that are in need of improvement? Matt Mack: I start with our price per panels and the costs that are associated with it. I start to think, how can we make the process smooth- er, more efficient, where I don't need to have as much human interaction with chemicals? at all starts with gathering data with chemi- cal data. I'll do titrations, for example. I'll pick one line at a time that I will not have any dos- ing on, and I'll calculate the square footage of panels through X amount of time, how much it dropped in concentration, and I'll adjust dos- ing based on panel count. en you have to op- timize speed. You can also do line speed, increasing or de- creasing to optimize quality. I always strive for the 1.33 Cpk for the parts. It's not always possi- ble, but we come pretty close. It took about six months to really get dosing right. Right now, we do chemical analysis about twice a week. at's much lower than recommended, but the data is not driving us to analyze it more. I asked our soware guy to develop a chemical data- base that allows me to input the chemical data and track Cpk, track trends up and down, and in-spec/out-of-spec; if any of those rules are violated, it notifies me through an email. Some of those are deemed critical, some are not. If any of it is deemed critical, we'll trig- ger the production's halt. If it's not critical, we might be able to do it on the fly. For instance, let's look at the copper concentration in a mi- croetch. I might empty the line out before its formal dump, but it's not going to impact qual- ity on the product. ose are some of the rules Driving Down Cost with Process Engineering Matt Mack, Senior Process Engineer—ICM Controls

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