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12 SMT Magazine • April 2016 process-driven. It is a Six Sigma company with five resident Black Belts in its main facility, and bound by stringent ISO/TS regulations for which it is routinely audited. "We take quality very seriously. But, some- times you need to stop, step back and re-assess the situation, and the challenges that have compounded in the manufacturing process," says Renneboog. The company prides itself on a culture that strives for continuous improve- ment, and has multiple quality programs in place. For Renneboog and Clarke, the main chal- lenge of that manufacturing process was the struggle with solder paste mis-registration. "And we're talking about the whole gamut of defects," says Renneboog. "We're talking about bridging, insufficient solder, and open solder connections. Those were our three major de- tractors." Clarke emphasized that it is critical that you get your printing cor- rect. "If your printing is good, chances are you will be producing quality parts on your line. If your printing is bad, you'll be creating defects, and de- fects just open you up to doing costly rework." by Stephen las Marias I-ConneCT007 Defects in the manufacturing process are part of the price of doing business, most es- pecially in the electronics assembly industry. However, not dealing with these issues head- on and right at the root cause puts productivity and quality at risk. In an interview with SMT Magazine, Etrat- ech's Mike Renneboog, manufacturing man- ager, and Robert Clarke, process manufacturing engineer, discussed their most significant chal- lenge to improving printed circuit board SMT line productivity and quality, and the lessons they learned along the way. Canada-based Etratech designs develops and manufactures advanced electronic controls and control systems for OEMs. The company specializes in all aspects of electronic controls de- sign and manufacturing for industries including automotive electronics, HVAC, medical devices, appliances, security sys- tems and more. The com- pany has been in oper- ation for almost 30 years. Like many companies in its space, Etratech is very In a Culture of Continuous Improvement, Processes Continually Improve fEaTu rE Mike Renneboog Robert Clarke

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