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16 SMT Magazine • September 2015 relevant elements of the highly automated manufacturing control software, with traceabil- ity built-in. Depending on the level of detail, accuracy, and timeliness of data capture from areas such as quality management, manufactur- ing, engineering, and supply chain, traceability can become the ultimate quality-management tool, as well as bring enhanced productivity and reduced operating costs. the Cost of Compliance Traceability data collection has been all about recordkeeping: the list of materials used, the processes executed, exceptions that have happened during, for example, test processes. In what we can call the traditional automotive factory, the majority of processes were separate entities each supported by other disconnected functions. For example, SMT machines pick from materials that have been loaded. The ma- chines only need to know the size and shape of materials to operate. The setup of the materials on the SMT ma- chines, which has to align to the setup that is expected by the SMT machine program, is still in most cases done manually as a separate process. And even the introduction of "smart" feeders on SMT machines that can transfer knowledge of loaded material content from the feeders to the machine automatically serves only to push the point of materials setup and verification away from the machine to the material setup area, where mistakes can still happen. Another mechanism, driven by supply chain, provides logistic support to bring the re- quired materials to the kitting area, which usu- ally is in bulk as a kit, and requires significant manual management. The selection of those materials from the warehouse is also likely to be done by a separate entity, which in many cases still relies on manual decision-making. The re- ceipt and put-away of materials into the ware- house storage locations was also required, often again, by a separate operation. No wonder then that the cost of traceabil- ity information recording at key production processes is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to "needless" operational costs incurred by tasks associated with compliance to stan- dards for automotive manufacturing assurance. Improved use of existing Data and systems The starting point for the "new face" of traceability follows the realization that pretty much all of the necessary traceability data al- ready exists as part of the production operation, and so as such, the recordkeeping activities were actually needless duplications of existing data. Most production processes today and the systems that support them are now automated to a greater or lesser extent. The SMT machines are a great example. Surely every SMT machine must know exactly what material is being taken from which feeder and placed on the PCB for each reference desig- nator because it is part of the SMT machine pro- gram. This is the origin of exact traceability. It is a critical part of the overall PCB traceability so- lution because it reflects the point-of-use accu- rately, for example, alternative or substitute ma- terials, cases where there are multiple instances of the same material part number on set up on the machine that could be selected for use at any time, or perhaps a material is changed at a position part-way through a circuit board. It is only right at the actual point of use and consumption that the exact traceability data can be derived; and for automotive, most mate- rials are placed as SMT. Although the SMT ma- chines have knowledge of this relationship of feeder and placement, it is the first critical piece of information, in addition to which other key information will need to be added. Typical modern SMT machines will recog- nize materials by their part number and not rec- ognize their unique characteristics such as man- ufacturer, batch number, age, MSD status, and history, etc. Therefore, the "point-of-use" trace- ability data coming from the machine has to be qualified against the information of the specific materials used. This material information can be acquired and associated to each material carrier using a unique ID as it is received in the SMT material warehouse. When these two pieces of information are known, there is then the need for the link to know which material IDs have been set up and used at each feeder position. Rather t han leaving this as a manual pro- cess, our "new face" of traceability can instead use further automation. Using the material consumption data coming from the machine, tHe "NeW FACe" OF AutOmOtIve trACeAbILIty continues FeAture

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